The guys at MMA Payout have responded to our criticism of their original “Top 5 Most Viewed MMA Fights” list by putting together a second list comprising of the Top 5 in Japan. Why not just mush the two lists together? Because then there wouldn’t be one single fight from North America anywhere even near the top 20. Here’s what they have on the list:
1. KEN KANEKO VS. CHARLES “KRAZY HORSE” BENNETT 27.7 RATING (PRIDE 2005) – 35.2 million
2. RULON GARDNER VS. HIDEHIKO YOSHIDA 25.9 RATING (K-1 2004) – 32.9 million
3. HIDEHIKO YOSHIDA VS. NAOYA OGAWA 25.5 RATING (PRIDE 2005) – 32.4 million
4. KAZUSHI SAKURABA VS. YOSHIHIRO AKIYAMA 25.0 RATING (K-1 2006) – 31.75 million
5. KID YAMAMOTO VS. ISTAVAN MAJOROS 25.0 RATING (K-1 2006) – 31.75 million
If you were depressed that Krazy Horse Bennett was at the top of the list, don’t worry. The MMA Payout guys based the list off a Dave Meltzer article and fucked up because they were skipping over kickboxing bouts. But one of the bouts they skipped was MMA:
BOBBY OLOGUN VS. CYRIL ABIDI 28.1 RATING (K-1 2004) – 36 million
Ologun was a Nigerian-born television comedian who was popular in Japan at the time. Abidi was a mid-level kickboxer, who was heavily favored.
However, in a match under MMA rules, Ologun was able to constantly take Abidi down and win a shocking decision. The result, and the ratings, made Ologun a fixture on these shows.
So there you go: the number 1 most watched MMA fight was between a talk show host and a kickboxer. Feel better?