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The battle for the soul of women’s MMA in Japan

I thought it was kinda whack that Japan went from having Smackgirl repping women’s MMA to having basically nothing for several months to then having two promotions going head to head for the same market. But that’s what’s happened between Valkyrie and Jewels, and now it’s looking like the two companies are on the verge of war:

The fallout from the first show was that VALKYRIE General Manager Nagao was blamed for the late start of the show and was fired. Also, there appears to be genuine bad blood between VALKYRIE and JEWELS. This appears to stem from a difference in promotional philosophy between VALKYRIE’s matchmaker Yasugo Mogi and JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki because of Saeki’s insistance in emphasizing the beauty of the fighters. And the fact that they scheduled the JEWELS debut so close to the VALKYRIE debut. Mogi thinks she was upstaged by a flashier show. And though some fans don’t like Saeki’s approach, it’s a good way to build a fanbase of less hardcore fans. It remains to be seen which promotion will be more successful.

It should be pretty straight forward to figure out where each promotion stands in their promoting philosophies: one compares it’s fighters to mythical female warriors and the other looks at them as shiny pretty things that sparkle in the light. The jury is still out over which view is shared by the Japanese public in general. Personally, I’m not against selling the sexy side of female MMA, just not at the expense of the female MMA fighters who are actually, I dunno, good at fighting?