December 31, 2009
During his fight last night in Japan, Shinya Aoki may have cemented his reputation as the most vicious fighter in mixed martial arts. A jiu-jitsu phenom, who looks more like a nerdy schoolboy than a trained killer, Aoki developed a real nasty streak in 2009. After his last few wins, he made it a point to rant about a lack of respect from the United States and the UFC.
Last night after his win over Mizuto Hirota, Aoki went beyond talking trash. You think Brock Lesnar's behavior at UFC 100 was crazy? Aoki blew away the UFC heavyweight champ. The only thing missing was Aoki smashing Hirota with a steel chair.
Watch the video (2:19 mark) but only if you've got a strong stomach.
Aoki, one of the best submission fighters in the world, got Hirota twisted up with his arm behind his back. Hiroto wouldn't submit via tap and Aoki broke his arm. Dislocations and broken limbs happen occasionally in MMA. You fight until the referee says to stop. But when Aoki stood up and gave the seriously injured Hirota, the middle finger, he reached a new level of poor sportsmanship. He added to it by celebrating with a run around the ring like Superman and then gave another middle finger to the crowd. That display, may have moved Aoki to the top of the all-time list for worst display of sportsmanship in the history of sports.
There was plenty of heat going into this fight. Aoki has been lauded as one the most dangerous submission artists in the world. Hirota mocked Aoki's fighting style and called him a repulsive person. Emotions often run high after fights that feature lots of smack-talk in the prefight. But this was ridiculous.
MMA in general may be lucky that this happened far away from the eyes of casual sports fans and the media. After UFC 100 in July, there was an explosion of anger when Lesnar beatdown Frank Mir and ripped out some old tricks from his WWE bag during the postfight.
Lesnar smashed Mir, then got in the face of the dazed fighter (pictured on the right). Then he flipped off the crowd. Lesnar followed that by grabbing the microphone and telling off one of the UFC's sponsors, Bud Light. He also told the crowd that he might celebrate the victory by "climbing on top of his wife tonight."
The outrage sparked debate for weeks after the card. Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel said:
With his clown-show antics, Brock Lesnar just became the greatest villain in modern fighting.
What Aoki did was a lot more severe. Brock hand over your villian belt.
Aoki's timing was bizarre and could be problematic for American promoter Scott Coker. He runs the upstart U.S. promotion Strikeforce. Coker, along with Showtime, made big splashes in 2009 by stealing the world's top heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, and Dan Henderson from the UFC. Coker's next big move was to bring over some of Japan's biggest stars for superfights. He was at Dynamite! 2009 last night with the intent of setting up an Aoki for a fight in the U.S. against one of his top lightweights, Gilbert Melendez or Josh Thomson. That fight is could land on an April CBS supercard.
Did Aoki just blow up the whole thing or make himself more attractive? AOL FanHouse's Mike Chiappetta flipped his lid over the incident.
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