(Don Quijote’s Takao Yasuda, picture from Forbes’ 40 Richest Men in Japan article)
Yesterday we mentioned that Japanese promotion Sengoku might suddenly be on the edge of death, a product of losing major sponsor Don Quijote over some controversial magazine article.
The big confusion came from the fact that this ‘controversial’ magazine article wasn’t very controversial at all. There was nothing about the yakuza or pot smoking or sexy time or any of the other things you’d normally associate with losing a major sponsor. Just a little bit of dissage – maybe a teaspoon of the acid we throw Scott Coker’s way every week.
Our man in Japan, Daniel Herbertson, has an explanation:
Discount chain store Don Quijote, chaired by Takao Yasuda, is arguably the most important company supporting Japanese MMA. Don Quijote’s money bought Pancrase out of debt, founded SRC’s parent company World Victory Road and has been a major sponsor of Shooto, DREAM and Pride FC.
The real problem here is not the fighter contract issues. It is that Don Quijote’a Takao Yasuda is not feeling any support from the Japanese MMA community.
Sources close to WVR claim that the catalyst for this problem with Yasuda was Kamipro Issue 155, page 58, in which a trio of would-be comedians joked about how many empty seats there were at WVR’s Soul of Fight. One said, “All that empty space was important in case of fire.” The rather unfunny one-liner in Kamipro reportedly enraged Yasuda and left him wondering why he could not get any support from the Japanese MMA industry.
Yasuda’s frustration with Kamipro is understandable as the Japanese magazine is famously FEG-centric and pays little attention to SRC. That is well known within the industry, but apparently not known by Yasuda. With the failure of Soul of Fight (Ariake Coliseum was around half empty) and Kamipro’s jokes, Yasuda was left wondering why he has put his money into a sport that is not profitable and does not have a positive community.
So in other words, Yasuda is getting sick of Japanese MMA and it’s bullshit. That’s understandable, I suppose. The last three years have been kinda balls and Don Quijote has nothing much to show for all the money they’ve thrown into the scene. They helped create a financially reasonable, non-sketchy alternative PRIDE and it’s been ignored or mocked. At this point I might want to take my ball and go home too. Or better yet, take it to the UFC?