The story of Danielle West’s screwjob in Japan over the weekend has taken wing, but thus far we’ve only really heard her side of the story. And yeah, the two sides are pretty damn different. In one version of the story, Danielle West misses weight and is docked $1000 from her salary. In another, Danielle West is held prisoner in her dressing room after the fight as Pancrase officials demean her performance and demand she give them $1000. So yeah, there’s a slight difference in how some of the facts are being perceived.
In the Pancrase Rule Book it states: “In the situation that a fighter does not pass at the official weigh-in or the second weigh-in, as a general rule they will be disqualified.” So if this had been a normal fight, Danielle would have been disqualified. However there is a stipulation for title matches that states: “In the situation that a fighter cannot pass the official weigh-in, in the case of a title match, the fighter will not be able to win the title.” So Pancrase did the right thing, according to their rule book on this incident. West missed weight, the fight was a title fight, so she lost the ability to win the title.
So this wasn’t some specific punishment being doled out to Danielle West. Ditto with the strange rules change that barred West from chokes and knees:
While adding a stipulation like this is almost unheard of in the States, it is fairly common procedure in Japan. Earlier this year, Mizuki Inoue was targeted to face Mina in a Shoot Boxing match. The winner of the match would go onto compete in the Girl’s S-Cup for the championship. Mina was not able to make weight. At first, Shoot Boxing wanted to disqualify Mina but Mizuki intervened and said she wanted the fight. Shoot Boxing then wanted to have Mina wear heavier more padded gloves during the fight but Mizuki intervened again. In the end, Mina was given two red cards at the beginning of the fight, making a victory by decision nearly impossible. The stipulation was also added that even if Mina won, she would not advance to the S-Cup. Mizuki would automatically advance. The limitation of knees also reminds me of Minowa. When Minowa fought several times under the DREAM banner against larger opponents, they were not allowed to knee him to the head while he was on the ground.
This might be somewhat common in Japan, but that doesn’t make it right. There’s a balance between punishing a fighter for coming in overweight and rendering the outcome of a fight completely moot, and these modifications swing heavily towards the latter. Removing one opponent’s ability to be declared the winner before the fight even begins? Cherrypicking techniques they’re not allowed to use? What’s next? A fighter must compete with one arm tied behind her back? But in their defense…
Pancrase added the stipulations to keep the fight fair. This makes since as even though West over-weighed by over 1kg at the official weigh-in, word is that she weighed-in over 7kg at the second weigh-in.
Yeah, because the second weigh-in was on THE DAY OF THE FIGHT. You don’t make fighters cut the day they fight, that is textbook retarded / dangerous. It is known.
The way Japanese organizations handle fighters coming in over weight is stupid, but I admit I was a little bit heavy handed in calling Pancrase’s behavior ‘shameful’ and comparing them to PRIDE, who were famous for dicking around fighters with last second weight restrictions. Fighters would arrive in Japan to learn they needed to lose an extra kilo or three than originally agreed on. There were no shenanigans like this in Pancrase’s case. West came in over the contracted weight and deserved the sanctions that went along with that. It just so happens that Pancrase’s sanctions are fucking crazy and stupid.