When Brock Lesnar faced off with Frank Mir in the octagon, the UFC learned what Japan has known for years and years: Freakshows sell like hotcakes. UFC81 became one of the best selling UFCs in the company’s history … not off the fact that Brock Lesnar had legit amateur wrestling credentials, but because Brock Lesnar is a former WWE superstar with a penis on his chest. Okay, maybe the penis thing wasn’t a factor. But I can’t bring up Cock Chestnar without mentioning his … er … cock chestnar.
Another freak is Bob Sapp, and Japan did it’s best to put him up against the strangest competition ever to great success:
There were the big pro wrestlers, including a 6-7, 345-pound German billed as “The White Bob Sapp,” that was the older brother of Japan’s most famous sumo, as well as a huge Russian arm wrestling champion. On Dec. 31, 2003, he had his most famous match ever, knocking out 6-8, 485-pound Akebono, an early ’90s sumo legend in the culture, in a match viewed by 54 million people – nearly half the country.
Half the fucking country. HALF of Japan. Of course, you’d be kidding yourself to think that North America is any different. After all, we live in a place where more votes are cast for American Idol than for the president of the USA. You’re seeing signs now that promoters over here are ‘getting it’. There’s always been the smaller promotions featuring midgets or boxers with AIDS, but now there’s bigger examples. Strikeforce with Bob Sapp. EliteXC with Kimbo Slice. And of course the UFC with Brock Lesnar.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing … I’m actually a big fan of the freakshow so long as it doesn’t tie up real talent *cough* Fedor *cough*. So as long as it’s kept down to one or two fights per event and Georges St Pierre isn’t involved, we’re cool.