Todd Duffee's Blogs
Primer: New Year’s in Japan
By: Jake Rossen
Kazushi Sakuraba | Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog.com
If Ryan Seacrest happened to be a major celebrity in Japan, he would eventually be offered a substantial sum to be beaten severely in any number of the country’s traditional New Year’s Eve fighting events. The Japanese watch television in huge numbers that night, and promotions have hired everyone from actors to pro wrestlers to fighters dressed in costumes in order to draw attention away from the standard music and variety programming.
Does it work? For a long time, it did: any combination of Sumo, Bob Sapp, or Olympic champions would usually produce tremendous ratings. But the decline of real fighters and the increasing reluctance (possibly related to the shrinking pay stubs) of the “special attractions” has taken its toll.
It’s a real sign of MMA’s erosion in Japan that only one event -- K-1’s Dynamite -- is actually airing New Year’s Eve; the more serious Sengoku takes place Dec. 30. In both cases, fans can see a series of competitive fights. But in K-1’s arena, the need for ratings will prompt the usual stunt work: Shinya Aoki will be facing Yuichiro Nagashima in a fight that alternates kickboxing rounds with MMA rules and Bob Sapp will be wrestling Sumo great Shinichi Suzukawa in an orchestrated entertainment-only intermission. Both are likely to dwarf the night’s most legitimate bout, a lightweight meeting between Strikeforce’s Josh Thomson and Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Stateside, most of the attention has been directed at Todd Duffee taking a late-notice bout against Alistair Overeem. Duffee was touted as a UFC prospect before a shock KO at the hands of Mike Russow; reported head-butting with UFC management led to his release. But Duffee can strike, and he’s a few levels above the kind of competition you’d expect Overeem to accept only three weeks after a grueling K-1 tournament. Too good to believe, actually. Like most of the Japanese product, it’s subject to change. Read more
ESPN MMA Live: UFC 114 Preview
MMA Live recaps Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery. Alistair Overeem retains his title with ease. Will Fedor Emelianenko be next for the champion?
With the help of B.J. Penn, Sport Science looks at the science behind the submission. Heavyweight Todd Duffee also checks in prior to his return at UFC 114.
A Day in the Life of Todd Duffee
Video courtesy UFC via its official Youtube channel. Read more