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stevequalude
01-18-2010, 10:41 PM
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MMA Perspectives: Shinya Aoki and His Championship Behaviour by James Ryan James RyanCorrespondent


Correspondent Written on January 09, 2010 Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki is a Japanese mixed-martial artist and former police trainee who also happens to be the current DREAM lightweight champion, Shooto middleweight champion, and the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts lightweight champion.

Very impressive.

Now, I hate to rehash old news, but what’s not so impressive is what happened at Dynamite 2009, this past December.

In case you hadn’t heard by now, after breaking the arm of the Sengoku champion, Mizuto Hirota, with a hammerlock arm submission, Aoki followed it up by flipping the bird (middle finger) to an incapacitated Hirota, his corner, and the entire audience in attendance.

Afterwards, Aoki had this to say:

“Well, this guy's pride just won't let him tap, will it? So without hesitation, I broke it. I heard it break, and I thought, 'Ah, there, I just broke it.' I was stopped afterward, but even if I hadn't been, continuing to break it more would have been fine by me ." –mmafighting.com

Now that’s what I call a true champion! Not.

But forget what I think, after all, I’m just a father, teacher, martial arts instructor, and a youth football coach. What could I possibly know about sportsmanship?

In fact, I wonder what the always professional Dana White would think about this level of behaviour?

"This isn’t (expletive) baseball or one of these other sports,” White said at a gathering of reporters after Saturday’s UFC 108. “Sometimes these guys hate each other. When you break a guy’s arm that you hate, flip him off, and let him know you’re glad you broke his arm, I guess, it happens sometimes.

“It’s not the greatest sportsmanship, but, ‘oh, that guy is terrible, he’s a horrible man and he shouldn’t fight anymore,’ this is the fight business, man. Crazy stuff happens in the fight business sometimes.” –mmaweekly.com

You’re right, Dana. This isn’t baseball. Or football for that matter. Or even tennis.

This is MMA, and what I really don’t understand by reading your comment is, why the double-standard (any set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another)?

You certainly don't see things like this happening in the NFL (also a hard-hitting sport with a ton of emotion) and if it did, harsh disciplinary action would definitely follow. In fact, the “No Fun League” has made it perfectly clear that any level of unsportsmanlike behaviour of this nature would result in nothing less than a massive fine and a very lengthy suspension.

So what will happen to Aoki now? Will he be fined? Will he be suspended? Will he be banned from ever fighting again?

Apparently, none of that is necessary, as Aoki is DREAM's biggest star, so there will be no discipline beyond a “verbal” reprimand .

“Learn to keep people dependent on you. To maintain your independence, you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity, and you have nothing to fear.”

Aoki claimed his killer instinct came from a sense of duty to DREAM and its management company, Real Entertainment.

“When Sasahara tells me to go and do something, I do it, and that's how I live my life,” he said. “If Sasahara tells me to go to Strikeforce and take them out or 'Go and kill that guy,' I'm going to do it.

No doubt, he has learned his lesson and clearly, those who will follow behind him will be terrified to replicate his behaviour in the future.

Are you sensing my frustration and sarcasm yet?

I hope so, because this is the exact sort of thing that is holding MMA back from mainstream acceptance. In fact, I had to ask the question to a couple of celebrity friends of mine, who of course, gave two completely different answers.

Showdown Joe Ferraro from MMA Connected on Sportsnet.ca, had this to say:

“Hey James, I was at the press conference when Dana made these comments, but he did preface them by stating he had not seen the Aoki fight yet; I'm confident that if (and when ) he does, he will change his tune.

In my opinion, what Aoki did after the fight was over, was inexcusable and he should definitely be reprimanded. In a strange sort of irony, I'm glad it happened in Japan, because if it happened in North America, it would likely have been fodder for many of MMA's critics, who would likely run with the story for days.

We all saw what happened to Renato Babalu Sobral at UFC 74, when he refused to let go of the anaconda choke on David Heath; he was fined by the NSAC and subsequently cut by the UFC.

If Aoki was with the UFC, Strikeforce, or any MMA organization under the jurisdiction of a true athletic commission, he would likely have suffered the same fate of Sobral.

As irony would have it, he has finally called out Tatsuya Kawajiri, a fellow lightweight I believe has the skills to defeat him, but perhaps serve the submission wizard a dish better known as ‘karma.'”

I have to admit that hearing about it and watching it are two very different things. If you haven’t watched the video yet, please do so. You will be shocked (and not just by Aoki’s pants).

Pat Miletich, former UFC welterweight champion, had this to say:

“A fighter’s job is to win. Fighters also have an obligation to give up when they are about to lose a limb. It is the harsh reality of MMA.

As far as NFL, NHL, etc...this sort of thing does happen all the time. Chop blocks, brutal hits when one defender holds a running back or receiver upright long enough for a teammate to smash them. Trust me, it happens every game.

It's all the same when you mix testosterone and money together. I want the money and glory, and you’re in my way.

It all depends on what the guy did and said that prompted the arm break and flipping the bird after the fact. Poor sportsmanship goes both ways.”

I definitely agree that the dirty stuff happens in every sport. That is, unfortunately, the nature of professional competition for the exact reasons that Pat has stated above.

The difference with this particular situation is that, after the competitor was already injured, Aoki then flipped him off. It's that level of misconduct that I can't help but wonder about.

I simply can't see the NFL sitting back and doing absolutely nothing in a situation like that, when, in fact, they are also issuing $30,000 fines against players like Chad Ochocinco for wearing a poncho and sombrero as part of a post-touchdown celebration (unsportsmanlike conduct).

I agree that injuries will happen, and I also believe that the fighter has a responsibility to tap, probably more so than the fighter executing the submission, but to taunt a man afterwards to me just seems beyond excessive.

I also agree completely that poor sportsmanship goes both ways. That's what bothers me sometimes about Frank Mir.

When Cheick Kongo wouldn't even look at Mir during the weigh-ins of their last fight, it could certainly appear as though Kongo was the one demonstrating very poor sportsmanship, but obviously Mir did or said something to create that level of disdain, that the rest of us will not get to see or understand.

What's really curious about the Aoki fight is that at the start of the contest, when they shook hands, Aoki clasped Hirota's hand. To me, that almost seemed like a form of respect or even affection. I sensed no animosity whatsoever.

Compare that to how Diego Sanchez stares down his competitors, or to how some other fighters refuse to even touch gloves (Mir and Kongo, for example). The whole incident just seemed extremely odd.

My apologies fight fans for such a long article, but sportsmanship has always been something that I have felt very strongly about.

Poor sportsmanship is, unfortunately, a fact of life. Acceptance, tolerance, and making excuses for these athletes, however, needs to stop.

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MMA Perspectives: Shinya Aoki and His Championship Behaviour | Bleacher Report (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/323299-mma-perspectives-discussing-shinya-aoki-and-his-championship-behaviour)