MMA Thoughts – UFC Is Going Japanese And No One Knows It
There’s a UFC show this Saturday and judging by the promos, you’d never know it was in Japan.
The largest MMA organization in the world is returning to Japan for the first time since 2000 and the death of PRIDE. It should be a celebrated moment, like when the UFC returned to Brazil last summer. The UFC should be touting this event and making it seem like the largest event of the year. Just watch any PRIDE, or even DREAM, event and you’ll get the sense of how big they do MMA in Japan. It’s not like America. The UFC puts on a great live show, but the crowd can ruin any great event with their stupid chants and unnecessary booing. The Japanese crowd and events are different. The crowd is very respectful and the event is so big that it’s almost too much.
MMA in Japan should be celebrated, especially when it’s done by the UFC, but instead this event has been treated like just another UFC show on a Saturday.
Granted the event will be four hours instead of the usual three, but unless you’re on the internet and checking up on things like that, you probably wouldn’t realize that. You also probably wouldn’t realize that this event is even in Japan.
Yes, somehow the return of relevant MMA to Japan isn’t even mentioned in the UFC 144 promo video that has been airing on television. But hey, at least they released this video on their YouTube page, which depicts the UFC as Godzilla, because we all know Japan loves Godzilla.
This is the same organization that released this video and this video when they returned to Brazil. Yet somehow the most original idea they could come up with for their return to Japan was Bufferzilla.
They didn’t even half-ass their UFC 144 trailers, they Arianny Celeste ass’d them.
Maybe the UFC’s excuse is that the biggest Japanese stars on the card, Takanori Gomi and “Kid” Yamamoto, haven’t had much success in the UFC and are stuck on the undercard so who were they going to promote? Lets just ignore the fact that the Japanese crowd can easily get behind exciting fighters. They embraced Wanderlei Silva, Mirko “Cro Cop”, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in PRIDE because they delivered memorable fights. Gee, I wish the UFC had guys on this card who put on memorable fights even though they’re not from Japan. Oh wait.
Leave it to the fans to create a video 100 times better than anything the UFC team has produced to promote this event.
This should be promoted as a huge deal, but because there’s no big homecoming for a major Japanese star (even though the greatest Japanese fighter of all-time Yushin Okami is on the card) the organization is barely mentioning the fact that they’re heading to the Land of the Rising Sun.
I don’t need for UFC 144 to be this over the top production where they have fighter intros before the main card and the fighters have to walk down 500 steps and a mile long walk way before they get into the ring. I don’t need confetti falling after the main event. It would be cool if the US National Anthem played before the main event, but I’m not expecting it. They need to do something different than the usual UFC production though.
Heading back to Japan should be a big deal. They haven’t treated it as such in the build, but maybe they can salvage things at the actual event. I don’t have high hopes for that happening though, especially now that Dana has come out and said, “This will be the UFC in Japan, not the reincarnation of PRIDE.”
The crowd will make this event feel different because they’ll be silent for most of the action until something big happens and then they’ll explode, making the viewer feel like they’ve witnessed something special. The UFC can’t leave it up to the crowd on Saturday though. While I’m sure that they’ll deliver, much like they did with the Japanese promo video, the organization needs to take it upon themselves to make this event special.
Knowing the UFC and their, “we already put on the greatest show in the history of sports and entertainment” attitude though, we’ll just get Bruce Buffer saying, “the winner” in Japanese and that will be enough for the organization to feel that they’ve done something original and special.