Well it’s 4 am here in Tokyo on New Years Day and you might have guessed from Ryan’s hard work tonight in fight recaps that I was unable to do live updates. There was no wi-fi network (that I could use) and I didn’t have the special cellular dongles all the real journalists were sporting. The organization of the press is very different in that unlike with Western promotions, press do not get good seats. Outside of the major television faces and few chosen ringside photographers, the writers are relegated to a press room past the expansion wing of Saitama Super Arena with a few televisions from which to watch and report on the fights. But I digress. Even with the many quick fights, eighteen bouts stretched from 3 pm to 11 pm (and then some for the closing ceremony). This is going to be short because I just finished watching and running around an eight hour event, to which I arrived two hours early to stand in line for press passes, so I am dog tired.
I won’t go over each fight because you’ve probably already seen ’em and Ryan told it pretty much exactly how it was even down the amusing intro for Sakuraba. Y’all probably missed out on the K-1 Under 18 tournament, where the singly named youngster Hiroya, beat two opponents to win the King of Under 18 belt. Look for a post later to apologize for all my sleepy ramblings in this post.
My tired face.
Quick impressions: Graphics and light show must be witnessed in arena to appreciate how gigantic an event this is — even on a big HDTV, the spectacle would not convey well. Here in Tokyo, the music, the lights — everything is produced for an amazing in-arena experience, whereas in the States, the shows are geared towards the Pay-Per-View audience and the live experience is quite secondary.
Awesome anime-style introduction to the entire show. Actually, it felt like we watched maybe four or five introductions to the show.
Everyone told me the fans would be quiet, and they were not, except when the fight was really boring. I mean, yes, quieter than a comparably sized American audience, but not noticeably so.
I like the post-fight speech instead of a post-fight in-ring interview, which often gets confrontational and awkward. In the arena, a post-fight speech from the fighter expressing the flow of emotions that bubble from a victory was exciting and endearing, more so than an exhausted breakdown of the fight we just saw and where the after party is going to be.
I enjoyed not having to attend a big post-fight presser with lots of bullshit, but instead I attended individual pressers for each fighter, which was full of more bullshit, some of it politely delivered, some of it snooty. Some of the post-fight interviews (held near that distant press room I mentioned earlier) were great. Shinya Aoki’s was especially fun with Sherdog reporters asking for Aoki’s opinion on BJ Penn vs Georges St. Pierre. He couldn’t decide.
In the US, you’d feel like half the crowd is at least interested or participate personally in some kind of combat sport or martial art, like Ryan does jiu jitsu, I quit at muay thai, etc. Tonight, the crowd were mostly fans. A lot of children, women, and elderly mixed in with young men in fashionable flannels and puffy jackets. . . …. ..
Okay. I just fell asleep on my keyboard. It’s time to crash.
Overall, really amazing. It was my first time at a Japanese MMA event and while it lacked real punch in the matches, I’m a fan and I of course, enjoyed myself immensely.