I’ve been home for almost two days now, and while I’ve now watched the event live (well, most of the event either in the arena or from the locker room) and off my recorded HDNet broadcast, I wanted to talk a bit about the show. Except there’s too much to say, too many photos, too many memories and a blur between my memory, the broadcast, and time. So, instead, I will just present you with a photo gallery of all the non-King Mo goings on because I’ll be posting the last part of Mo’s fight journal soon and I’ll save the photos from his story until they are relevant. I didn’t shoot every fight since I was there to cover Mo Lawal – I’m a little bummed I missed Hatsu Hioki’s fight – so the point of view is from my roving self. Daniel Herbertson over at Sherdog shot some great proper fight photos if you’re in need, really beautiful stuff.
A few things first. Nick Denis was very impressive, even more so in his post-fight press interview. When asked about his strategy, Denis asked if it was okay to demonstrate, then proceeded to get up from his chair and breakdown Seiya Kawahara’s style and signs. From his very straightforward explanation, I glean he is an academic at heart, not only a current graduate student at the University of Ottawa, but also a scholar of the fight game, analyzing the bout even while participating.
While cheering for LC Davis simply because he’s from the States and because of a Jackal over at Fightlinker.com, my base was in a locker room with Michihiro Omigawa, and I would come to appreciate “Michi” after the evening ended for his humor and his determination, throwing down the mic after essentially telling those who doubted Omigawa could win to fuck off.
And it was a treat to see the likes of Ryo Chonan, Hidehiko Yoshida, Yushin Okami, and Kazuhiro Nakumura interacting with fighters they train in the locker rooms. The vernal equinox is a holiday in Japan, so there were a lot of children at the fights, cheering on their judo teachers.
It was in these moments I felt closer to my Japanese acquaintances in the fight game than the community I grew up with in California. I’ll save my cultural questioning for later but for now, this is how I saw the Sengoku 7 featherweight grand prix.