Japanese MMA Legend Hidehiko Yoshida Retires Virtually Unnoticed

via solomma.files.wordpress.com

When the retirement show of one of the biggest stars of Japan's MMA boom is utterly overshadowed by WEC 48: Aldo vs Faber in the States and a minor K-1 show in Japan, time certainly has marched on. D.W. from Head Kick Legend has more:

U.S. MMA is on the rise in Japan, with UFC, Strikeforce and WEC news taking center stage over Japanese news lately on the major sports pages. This of course illustrates two big points here, the first being that SRC lost possible areas of interest in Yoshida and former UFC fighters, the second being that the major media in Japan that usually covers MMA has had very little interest in Yoshida's retirement event. Even stories like UFC fighter Yoshihiro "Sexyama" Akiyama as a special commentator on the PPV has seemed to slip through the cracks.

Most of the major Japanese press has been covering the K-1 MAX -63kgs tournament (not that we can complain), which is full of a lot of lesser-known fighters, but has FEG's muscle behind it. Seeing what is for K-1 a rather minor event get daily coverage while Yoshida's retirement is an afterthought just shows how Japan works, not only is the media and fanbase fickle, but it is about knowing the right people and not upsetting those in power. Yoshida spent the lead-up to Dynamite!! heavily criticizing FEG for their business model, believing it to be crooked and disrespectful to fans and has refused to fight for them again.

I have to salute Yoshida for trying to buck what he views as a deeply corrupt fight promotion business in Japan.

Yoshida, a 1992 Olympic gold medalist in Judo, starred in some of the biggest bouts in MMA history. His 2003 bouts with Wanderlei Silva and Royce Gracie electrified Japan, as did his 2005 match with fellow Olympian Rulon Gardner (one of the most notorious "bad kickboxing" matches of all time).

Yoshida set the pattern for pedigreed Juduka in Japanese MMA -- thrown in at the deep end and often facing long odds against more experienced and bigger fighters -- so in a way it's fitting that he's going out with a whimper rather than a bang since Japanese MMA itself is a mere shadow of what it was just a few short years ago.

SBN coverage of ASTRA: Yoshida Retirement Match

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