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Fight Archives: Emanuel Yarbrough vs. Daiju Takase

When a David vs. Goliath scenario happens in real life.

Mixed martial arts as we know it today was more of a freak show than a sport two decades ago. “Human cockfighting” was the description made by politicians, which ultimately led to its banning in major states in the US in the early 90’s.

Save for groin shots and head butts that were later prohibited along with eye gouging and fish hooking, every strike one can think of is permitted. But one of the most bizarre and comical aspects of it all is the non-existence of weight classes, which is why fights such as this one ended up being made.

June 24th, 1998, The Nippon Budokan, Tokyo. Pride Fighting Championships was only in its second year of existence at the time, and bannered the likes of Gary Goodridge, Mark Kerr, and Kazushi Sakuraba, just to name a few. One of the featured matchups on that Pride 3 card was American Sumo wrestler Emanuel Yarbrough (official weight: 600 lbs) who had a massive weight advantage over opponent Daiju Takase (official weight: 209 lbs).

The full video of the two-round, 17-minute spectacle can be seen here, but this five-minute clip pretty much summarizes the entire match.

Now 39, Takase continues to compete in various promotions around Asia. Yarbrough, on the other hand, passed away in December 2015 from a heart attack at the age of 51. He reportedly weighed 700 pounds at the time of his death.