March 14, 2011
MMA isn't high on the priority list of many Japanese people as they continue to deal with the earthquake and tsunami that hit the country. At the same time, Japan's place in MMA is so important that the problems in Japan couldn't help but affect the sport.
Osaka-born Yoshihiro Akiyama withdrew from his UFC 128 bout with Nate Marquardt. Akiyama will be replaced by Dan Miller, who was slated to face Nick Catone. In turn, Catone will fight Constantinos Philippou.
MMA Fighting's Dan Herbertson is in Japan, and reports that most fighters haven't been affected by the earthquake. Most live in the Tokyo area, where the earthquake didn't do as much damage. Tatsuya Kawajiri, who is slated to fight Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce lightweight title on April 9, is from the northern part of Japan but is OK. Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki are expected to fight on April 9.
MMA Japan is doing what they can to help out. The site that focuses on JMMA is auctioning off a Shane Carwin autographed shirt with the funds going to charity. Red Cross is also taking donations to help with emergency relief efforts, and MMA Japan is giving away MMA memorabilia as incentives to give.
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