We've all come to accept Japan's practice of throwing MMA newcomers in with veterans that are far above their experience level. It happened with Satoshi Ishii when he got old manhandled by Hidehiko Yoshida. It happened to Dong-Sik Yoon when he was fed to Sakuraba. And it also recently happened to Yokthai Sithoar when he was humanely euthanized by Shinya Aoki at DEEP 50. The case was no different with Pro Wrestler/Mixed Martial Artist Katsuyori "The Mad Dog Wrestler" Shibata.
After winning his 1st two matches K-1 decided to smother him in fish blood and throw him into shark infested waters. His next 3 opponents in K-1 Hero's were Ralek Gracie, Kazushi Sakuraba, and Heo Min Seok. After losing those 3 matches DREAM decided to toss him in with Jason "Mayhem" Miller and Yoshihiro "Sexyama" Akiyama. Needless to say, these bouts did not go in Shibata's favor. "Mayhem" clowned him for close to 7 minutes and "Sexyama" separated him from consciousness with an Ezekiel Choke. (Videos below)
I guess DEEP promoters felt bad after watching get his ass handed to him so many times. So they put him in with Yasuhito Namekawa. Never heard of him? Well he's got 52 fights (28-18-6 record) to his name. Shibata fought him to a draw in this bout. Which prompted FEG to have him face Hayato "Mach" Sakurai at Dynamite!!! 2008. Shibata charged at Sakurai like a deteremined fat kid running after the Ice Cream Truck. He threw wild punches which caught "Mach" off guard, but then the inevitable happened. "Mach" got him on the ground and mauled his ass. In the closing moments Shibata clung to Sakurai's arm like a child trying to avoid a Kmart Dressing Room beating as "Mach" club him until the ref stepped in. (Video below)
At this point you have to start wondering. Who did he piss off to get thrown down such a terrifying gauntlet of Japanese MMA? What heinous act did he commit to receive such a punishment? Which match did he throw in Pro Wrestling that sent a high ranking Yakuza member into a fit of rage ending in a phone call to FEG's Match Maker? I mean seriously...this is ridiculous. Shibata next faced off against Ikuhisa "Minowaman" Minowa in a match that started of with Shibata accepting flowers from Rickson Gracie and then proceeding to throw them into the crowd as to say "Yo, %&$@ your flowers son." He and Minowa then performed a hand shake that can only be described as EPIC. The match was a back and forth affair which featured leglock attempts and a German Suplex that looked straight out of Pro Wrestling. Shibata won by Unanimous decision and would then go on to defeat fellow Pro Wrestler Tokimitsu Ishizawa at DREAM 12. (Videos below)
Had he finally found his stride? Sadly, no. Years of savage beatings at the hands of Japanese MMA's elite coupled with his Pro Wrestling career seem to have finally caught up to him. He's dropped his last 4 matches. With the last having him come in as a
last minute replacement sacrificial lamb to Satoshi Ishii. And the messed up part about all of this is that we'll never know how good he could have been. If he'd have been brought along slowly would he have been the second coming of Sakuraba? Who knows since he was pretty much snuffed out before he could even get a chance to develop. I'll end this with a quote from Coming to America that reminds me of this situation. "Damn shame what they did to that dog..."
Originally posted at Unintelligent Defense. Come by and say Hi, but don't wear any shiny jewelry. It's a pretty rough neighborhood.