Someone really needs to call Dana White out on this stuff, when he just spews nonsense with impunity he really sounds dumb. Yushin Okami is a good, solid fighter, but the best fighter to ever come from Japan? Shut up now Dana, you sound stupid.
Dana has always put down the Japanese scene, and it is understandable. He took down PRIDE, the biggest MMA company there was and he has earned a certain right to gloat about that, but when he makes statements like ‘Okami is the best fighter ever from Japan’ he really is just being self serving and in the long run it is bad for the early history of a sport that is being written as we speak. If someone doesnt speak up, this guy may have people forget how truly rich the contribution of Japanese fighters is to the sport’s legacy.
I recently blogged on Rumina Sato, likely the first pound for pound best fighter of the modern era. Who might have been the best before him? Try looking up Nobohiro Asahi’s fights. The first UFC was on the 12th of November, 1993. SHOOTO had been operating since the late 80′s, and they were pure sport. Those old school guys were definitely pioneers.
Who was the first fighter to make BJ Penn look beatable? Well maybe it was Jens Pulver, but a guy name Kaoro Uno did a great job too.
Then there is Kazushi Sakuraba. Just go out and find his complete and utter destruction of Vitor Belfort, it is something to behold.
I had a friend of mine, a boxing purist tell me about a guy named Stanley Ketchel, a boxer from the turn of the century, and how he may have been the best puncher ever. Turns out there are 2 fights of his on video, he lost both and they were his worst performances. How do we really know anything about Stanley Ketchel? It is all word of mouth. I think seeing is believing, and in MMA we get that chance.
In MMA we have a documented video history and just about every fight of note or value is available somewhere. Before you accept too much of what a media machine like the UFC puts out, do the research, watch the fights! Watch fights, and remember that though the UFC is a giant, there is more to the early history of the sport. Dont let Dana and the UFC erase it for self serving purposes.