Yasubey Enomoto fought on M-1 Challenge 31 against Rashid Magomedov in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was his first title defense of the M-1 Global Welterweight Championship he won last December and it proved to be a very tough outing for the Swiss-Japanese fighter.
Against a very tough Russian opponent, Enomoto battled through multiple eye pokes and groin kicks, and eventually lost a decision (50-45, 49-47, 50-45) in a fight that was definitely much closer than what the scorecards portrayed. Those hardships weren't the only challenges Yasubey had to face though, as he had a much tougher battle outside the ring. A challenge that is relatively common in MMA but very dangerous to its athletes.
"He fought with an infection on his shin and was on antibiotics the whole week prior to the fight," said his brother Felipe Enomoto in an interview with BloodyElbow.com, "That's why it was taped, because he had a huge open wound there"
Felipe, who is currently training for a ONE FC bout against Zorobabel Moreira, said that his brother's infection got even worse. It has been almost two weeks after the bout, and Yasubey is still getting treated in the hospital.
"The infection has now spread in his knee, because the heat in the sauna during the weight cut," Felipe Enomoto said, "Right now, he has been in the hospital for 3 days because of that, with an IV that puts antibiotics in his blood nonstop. Also I wish my brother to get well fast from this, because I'm in Thailand right now and can not visit him in hospital."
"I only say this because I'm so proud of him for still fighting, (but) maybe not the smartest idea to fight with this" Felipe continued, "He was not backing down an inch, always attacking like a true champion! Samurai style!"
"Also I don't agree with the decision. My brother is still the champ in my eyes." he said, "The infection thing has nothing to do with what I think about the decision, (nor am I) taking something away from his opponent because Rashid (Magomedov) also made a good fight out of it."
It was a very close fight. No doubt, it would take a tremendous amount of toughness and heart to go through a training camp to compete for 25 minutes with this debilitating infection, but the dangers in doing so can't be understated.
As seen on the photo (right) Yasubey came out with his left shin taped. Midway through the fight though, the infected wound opened up again and the blood can be seen leaking through. This not only endangers his opponent, but it also risks everyone who stepped inside the ring such as the referees, and the other fighters who competed after this bout.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission came under fire after a similar incident 2 years ago when Matt Hamill fought with a scab on his back that was allegedly a staph infection that has healed and dried. This situation here poses more danger based on the fact that the wound was still open, and hasn't healed more than a week after the fight.
Enomoto displayed toughness and grit, but he shouldn't have been allowed to compete in the first place. The problem is, Russia doesn't have a similar governing body like these Athletic Commissions in the States, so the blame also goes to the promoters themselves.
M-1 Global unnecessarily risked several fighters and officials by exposing them to an infection from an open wound, but this whole situation makes it look like they would rather go through that than take a financial blow by cancelling a title fight on the last minute.
[UPDATE]: Felipe Enomoto provided an update on the situation and said that the infection on Yasubey's wound was non-viral, so there was "no risk to people's health, other than his own". Here is the story of events according to Yasubey's brother:
"I don't know the exact diagnosis, only that it was a non-viral infection that was never contagious. I would never ever had trained with him if he had something contagious and neither would he risk something that could infect our students, or other people like his opponent or the referee."
"He was bitten by a mosquito when he was in Thailand, and this got infected and swollen, so he went to the doctor. They told him before the fight that it was not a virus or something, and they cut it up because he had a lot of pain through this."
"Two days after the fight, because of the heat from the sauna on the wound, they said it had also gone to his knee, very close to the joint. They told him if it would have infected his joint, it could have been amputated. Horrible!"
Here's to hoping Yasubey Enomoto recovers and gets back to 100% soon.
You can watch footage of the fight after the jump.
Here's to hoping for a speedy recovery for Yasubey Enomoto. His brother Felipe will be competing in ONE FC next weekend, and he surely would like his brother to be there in his corner as he approaches the biggest fight of his career.
Check out the video of Yasubey's title fight against Rashid Magomedov:
Note: We'll have more on the interview with Felipe Enomoto where he talks about his headlining ONE FC bout against Zorobabel Moreira soon, so keep an eye out for that. -- Follow me on twitter @antontabuena