Editorial by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
After a feeble attempt to invade the U.S. market, FEG turned
their focus back to Japan. K-1 Hero’s Sadaharu Tanigawa recently announced the
organization’s intent to add a 145-pound (65kg) weight class next year.
The addition of a featherweight division is a brilliant move
on their part and I feel it’s been needed for quite some time. The WEC has
been bringing the 145-pounders to the forefront in the U.S. and even attracted
former Hero’s fighter Rani Yahya to sign with them. The extra weight class
will open the doors to many new fighters and allow existing ones to compete at
their natural weight.
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto can finally fight at a weight class
without giving up size to his opponents. Other fighters such as Hideo Tokoro,
Alexandre Franca “Pequeno” Nogueira, Kazuyuki Miyata, Hiroyuki Takaya, Ivan
Menjivar and Shuichiro Katsumura will also benefit from the lower weight
division. I personally would love to see Remigijus Morkevicius return to Hero’s
as a featherweight.
The Shooto 145-pound weight class is very competitive and is
home to many of the top featherweight fighters in the world. For the longest
time, featherweight fighters in Japan did not receive the exposure that the
heavier weight classes enjoyed due to the lack of a 145-pound division in the
two biggest organizations, Pride and Hero’s.
With Pride left in hiatus, K-1 Hero’s will have the ability
to attract many of the top featherweight fighters. The prospect of seeing Antonio
Carvalho, “Lion” Takeshi Inoue, Tenkei Fujimiya, and Akitoshi Tamura fighting
on the big stage is very exciting. Hatsu Hioki and Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura
would also be well received.
In addition to the new weight class, Tanigawa revealed his
plans to increase the 154-pound (70kg) weight class limit to 160-pounds (73kg).
Although this may be a questionable decision, I can see this change appealing
to many former Pride fighters and current Hero’s fighters who may have trouble
**cough** Gomi **cough**
Yes, it’s quite apparent there’s a steroid problem in MMA.
The recent incidents have spawned numerous articles and garnered a lot of
negative press for the sport.
I applaud the California Athletic State Commission for delivering
stiffer penalties/suspensions for steroid use. A year’s suspension is a rigid
punishment and can cripple the livelihood of some fighters. Is it enough? As
far as the athletic commission is concerned, I think it’s adequate. However, I
do still feel something is lacking on the organization’s end.
Dana White took a step forward in the right direction by
denying a fighter their winning bonus. It may not seem like much of a
punishment, but it can greatly affect high salary fighters. Moreover, many low
salary fighters look forward to the bonus that usually doubles their fight
In an effort to prevent future incidents and avert the
steroid problem from spreading to epidemic proportions, I offer a rather simple
but brutal suggestion to organizations and promoters.
Start shredding contracts.
Three strikes and you’re out? There only needs to be one.
Future contracts should be written with a clause regarding the consequences of
Keep in mind this is only a suggestion on my part. Should
an organization adopt such a policy, they have every right to adjust it at
their own discretion. A termination of a contract doesn’t necessarily mean the
end of a fighter’s career. It’s plausible for a fighter to later resign with
the same organization that released them, probably at a lower pay scale.
Terminating contracts may seem a bit stern, but it could be
what the sport needs at this time. Above all, it certainly gets everyone’s
Remember the initials KDH
He’s undefeated. He’s one of the best prospects to come out
of Korea. His name is Kim Dong-Hyun. The Korean stand-out signed a contract
to fight in Pride Fighting Championships prior to the organization’s last show
in Japan. The uncertainty of Pride has left KDH without a home in a major
This past weekend, he impressively destroyed DEEP Champion
Hidehiko Hasegawa, finishing his Japanese opponent with strikes in the third
round. Unfortunately for KDH, the match was scheduled as a non-title fight.
In October, KDH is expected to get his rematch, this time with the title on the
If KDH is successful in defeating Hasegawa again, it may
signify his shot into a larger organization like the WEC or Hero’s.