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Old 06-25-2010, 12:33 PM
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Default Akiyama Disappointed with Leben

Man I'm totally rooting for Leben now...

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Sources: Despite protests, Yoshihiro Akiyama will fight Chris Leben at UFC 116
by John Morgan on Jun 24, 2010 at 4:10 pm ET
Fear not UFC fans; you'll get your required dose of "Sexyama" in July.

MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from sources close to the promotion that despite some initial resistance to facing a new opponent, Japanese judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-1-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has indeed agreed to face Chris Leben (20-6 MMA, 10-5 UFC) at next week's UFC 116 event in Las Vegas.

Akiyama had expressed some concern with the the late change of opponent, as Leben was selected earlier this week to replace initial foe Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) after "The Axe Murderer" was forced to bow out due to injury.

According to the U.K.-based Fighters Only magazine, Akiyama told Korean MMA blog Daum.net that he might elect to withdraw from the event rather than face Leben.

"I am not pleased with the change," the report stated. "There are just 10 days left until the contest for me to determine [Lebenís] threats and the time is insufficient to establish a tailored gameplan. Leben is also not as high-profile as [Wanderlei] Silva and that does not help me.

"If there is to be a replacement, I was hoping for a big name. I spent one year preparing hard for this fight and this news has come as a big disappointment. My motivation has waned. I do not know yet what will happen. ... In the worst case, I will not take part in the [UFC 116] event. We are working hard to resolve this issue."

While it's not immediately known what, if anything, was needed to persuade Akiyama, the sources indicated to MMAjunkie.com that the UFC is moving forward as planned with the Akiyama-Leben contest.

Featuring a heavyweight title unification match between current champ Brock Lesnar and interim title-holder Shane Carwin, "UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin" takes place July 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs live on pay-per-view.

For the latest on UFC 116, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:48 PM
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I can kind of see where he is coming from when he talks about Leben not being as high-profile of a name as Wanderlei. I thought that myself when they announced Leben as the replacement. Not really that Akiyamma needs a higher-profile opponent more than the card needs it though. But that is no reason not to go ahead and take the fight. Leben is still a great opponent and fighter. I think he can beat almost anyone in the MW division at any given time.

If Akiyama decides to go ahead and not take the fight, I think the UFC should cut him. If he thinks that he is so good and needs higher-profile opponents to fight, should have no problem with Leben.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Crow View Post
I can kind of see where he is coming from when he talks about Leben not being as high-profile of a name as Wanderlei. I thought that myself when they announced Leben as the replacement. Not really that Akiyamma needs a higher-profile opponent more than the card needs it though. But that is no reason not to go ahead and take the fight. Leben is still a great opponent and fighter. I think he can beat almost anyone in the MW division at any given time.

If Akiyama decides to go ahead and not take the fight, I think the UFC should cut him. If he thinks that he is so good and needs higher-profile opponents to fight, should have no problem with Leben.
I agree. Plus if Akiyaa were following the typical MW progression this would be his Leben fight anyways. He wouldn't get Wandy this early.
This could be a huge win for Leben
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:36 PM
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WTF does he have to be depressed about?????
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Yoshihiro Akiyama's management has told MMAFighting.com that the Japanese/Korean fighter is still not sure if he will be fighting Wanderlei Silva's replacement, Chris Leben.

Akiyama was scheduled to hold a press conference at Narita Airport in Japan prior to his departure tomorrow but only hours ago Akiyama's manager told MMAFighting.com that he is not 100% on whether Akiyama will make the trip to Vegas. Akiyama has reportedly been suffering from depression ever since Silva's injury was announced and has not trained for the past week.

Update: Akiyama has since updated his blog. "I had various choices but ... I'll do my best in my fight!"

Akiyama expressed disappointment in Silva's replacement to Korean website Daum.net, stating that he did not consider Leben a high-profile opponent and has said that his motivation has has been low ever since the change was announced.

Akiyama made his promotional debut at UFC 100 against Alan Belcher where he took a split decision that won fight of the night honors. Akiyama has not fought since and has consistently pushed for a fight with Silva following that victory. He was expected to fight Silva at UFC 110 in Australia but Michael Bisping was instead announced. After Silva's victory over Bisping, the Brazilian publicly expressed his desire to fight Akiyama.

Silva was forced to withdraw from the Akiyama after suffering three broken ribs and a knee injury during training.

While Leben is a well known fighter in America due to his stint on The Ultimate Fighter and his long UFC career, he is not a well known fighter in Japan or South Korea. If the fight goes ahead, Leben will be coming to the fight only two weeks after his Knockout of the Night over Aaron Simpson at The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale.

Akiyama is expected to make a decision as to whether or not he will fight Leben over the next 12 hours.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:41 PM
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Here's a really great article from CagePotato outlining why Akiyama's a classless individual:

Quote:
Yoshihiro Akiyama's proclamation that he may not agree to face Chris Leben at UFC 116 made me think that maybe Japanese MMA fans are right about him when they say he has no Budo.

Now before you put on your mean mug and warm up your angry typing fingers to tell me I'm an idiot, hear me out.

Yesterday, we quoted Wanderlei Silva who said that he was prepared to fight Akiyama with a blown out knee and even took the weekend to decide whether or not he could still fight with broken ribs. Then on the other side of the coin we have Akiyama, who jumps on the Internet to voice his displeasure about having only ten days to prepare for Leben and threatens to pull out of the event since he has nothing to gain by beating a gatekeeper like "The Crippler".
A) It's Chris Leben. He isn't going to utilize the Rubber Guard to try to submit you with an omoplata, for Christ's sake, he's going to want to stand and bang, just like Wand would have done. The only difference is he's a southpaw, so make your sparring partner switch stances and get to work.
B) Taking a new opponent on short notice would do something for you, Yoshi. Can I call you Yoshi? I feel weird calling you Sexyama to your face. Anyway, it would prove that you're a fighter who doesn't care who he fights and that you're cut from the same cloth as the champions in the sport. It would also improve the image you've created for yourself by telling fans you make no excuses and will fight whomever is put in front of you.
If you have followed Sexyama's career at all, you know that there is more to it than just sultry photographs and fashion shows. He has been involved in a lot of BS over the years, not least of which were two notable greasing incidents.

For those who are unfamiliar with the backstories, in 2003 Akiyama defeated three opponents at the World Judo Championships in Japan and was accused by the trio of wearing a gi that had been oiled to prevent his adversaries from gripping onto his sleeves.

Here's the synopsis of the incident from the Taipei Times:
Quote:
"A dispute over a slippery judo jacket may have denied hosts Japan a perfect ending to the world judo championships although they have heaved themselves back from a disastrous performance two years ago. The International Judo Federation (IJF) ruled out a breach of fair play in the case of middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama, whose slippery jacket, or judogi, has drawn protests from France, Mongolia and Turkey. Akiyama was forced to change his judogi, which was suspected of being waxed to make it difficult for his opponents to grip. He had beaten opponents from the three countries to reach an 81kg light middleweight semifinal on Friday. Wearing a reserve jacket, the Asian Games champion narrowly lost to German Florian Wanner who eventually won the title."

Three years later, Akiyama was back at it again against Kazushi Sakuraba at K-1 - Premium 2006 Dynamite!! Although he didn't wear his greasy gi, he did coat his body with body lotion, impeding "The Gracie Hunter" from grasping his limbs and body. Using a substance that was undetectable by ringside officials who checked him before the bout, as soon as he began to sweat, the grease became slippery on his skin and gave him an illegal advantage.

Here's a video rundown of the fight and the backlash:

(can't link to the YouTube vids from work, but here's the article's URL: http://www.cagepotato.com/controversial-career-yoshihiro-akiyama)

Now, I don't know about the loaded glove conspiracy theory, although it does seem odd that his glove was different than the other one he was wearing, but for him to say he didn't know that applying copious amounts of body lotion prior to a match was illegal seems like a cop out.

Having skirted the rules twice in Japan, the country turned its back on the Zainichi Korean (ethnic Korean born and raised in Japan). Japanese MMA fans saw him as a heel and rooted against him from then on.

A feud with Kazuo Misaki, who, like many Japanese fighters and fans, detested Akiyama's cheating ways and disregard for the fans came to a head when the pair met at the Yarennoka! 2007 New Year's eve show. Misaki took the bout via head kick knockout, but the result was later overturned when it was determined that Akiyama's hand was on the canvas at the point of impact.

http://vimeo.com/4103822

In his post-fight interview Misaki conveyed the following message to Akiyama, much to the delight of the Japanese crowd:
Quote:
"You have betrayed the fans and the kids by the way you compete. Please fight for the kids and for your fans...not yourself."

I guess Misaki's advice didn't sink in.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:42 PM
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Cut this douchebag. What a disrespect to Leben.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Llamafighter View Post
Cut this douchebag. What a disrespect to Leben.
You do know Leben was suspended for almost a year for using a banned substance for his fight against Bisbing, and even admitted to it use...


J.B ( see what I mean) lol......
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Old 06-26-2010, 12:45 PM
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:05 PM
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Was this the "slippery judo jacket"?



Seriously, Akiyama needs to just quit whining and fight the replacement fight he is being given. It's been a year since he's last fought and if he cares about having any relevance amongst the top names he should gladly fight Leben as a replacement. Leben is certainly not Wandy, but it's a much better option than not fighting at all and pissing off Joe Silva and Dana White.
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Old 06-26-2010, 04:51 PM
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Hey look Simon Cowels brother...
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