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Denis Kang to Face the Slippery Yoshihiro Akiyama at K-1 Hero's

So the lineup is out for the October 28 K-1 Hero's card in Seoul, South Korea. They've got some interesting fighters on the card including the "once-touted Croat Zelg Galesic", former UFC champ Carlos Newton, bad luck judoka Min Soo Kim (silver medalist in the olympics and 3-6 in MMA), comedian turned KO artist Bernard Ackah, a B.J. Penn student, and BJJ super star Marcelo Garcia making his MMA debut.

But all that stuff is just the undercard. The main card features top ten middleweight Denis Kang against Yoshihiro Akiyama. Akiyama, a Japanese citizen of Korean descent, is coming off a loooong suspension for greasing up in a match against Japanese hero Kazushi Sakuraba. Not a smart move, as Fightlinker will tell you, the racial politics are very clear in Japan, and K-1 is known for not giving Korean fighters a fair shake.

But the Sakuraba incident wasn't Akiyama's first time to be accused of greasing up. Here's from his wikipedia entry:

2003 World Judo Championships

Akiyama defeated three opponents from France, Mongolia, and Turkey to reach the semi-finals of the 81kg Light Middleweight division. Opponents claimed that Akiyama had a slippery judogi. International Judo Federation referee director Juan Carlos Barcos said an examination of the gi found that the slippery texture was due to high humidity which prevailed in Osaka and a detergent used to wash the uniform. "At any moment, we did not have any doubt about fair play in the case. We are absolutely sure that Mr. Akiyama is correct," said Barcos. "The case is finished. We don't need it [special inquiry]," IJF president Park Yong-sun later said. Akiyama was forced to wear a reserve gi. He was narrowly defeated by German Florian Wanner, who eventually won the world championship.

So apparently having gotten away with it in Judo, he tried it against Sak:

In K-1 Premium 2006 Dynamite, Akiyama fought Kazushi Sakuraba in the main event. During the match, Sakuraba called to the referee saying "[Akiayama is] Slippery!" Akiayama went to win the match with a referee stoppage. This created a controversy amongst MMA fans in Japan, assuming Akiyama was using some sort of body oil or lubricant, banned in K-1 rules.

On January 11, Akiyama and FEG (the parent company of K-1) held a press conference during which Akiyama said he used Olay lotion prior to the fight. Pre-fight footage also showed Akiyama casually applying lotion to his body in his locker room. As a result, Akiyama was disqualified and his prize money was suspended. Akiyama himself was suspended indefinitely from HERO'S competition six days later. Public outcry against Akiyama did not cease however, as Nike was swamped with complaints when Akiyama was featured on a television commercial in Japan. Though Akiyama has admitted to applying cream to his skin, he has said that the purpose was not to gain an unfair advantage but to treat his dry skin.

Yeah right.

Too bad the dude's a serial cheater, cause he's got some skills. Here's a highlight reel. Feel free to boo at any point.

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