Shooto Commission Reinstates KILLER BEE, Not "Kid"

By Jordan Breen Jul 31, 2006
Team KILLER BEE will soon be able to buzz in and out of Shooto as they please.

The Japanese Shooto Association has announced that the indefinite suspension of Tokyo's KILLER BEE gym would soon be lifted. The suspension, which has been in place for roughly the last six months, has prohibited fighters from KILLER BEE — Norifumi Yamamoto (Pictures), Akira Kikuchi (Pictures), Koutetsu Boku (Pictures), among others — from competing in professional Shooto. It has also has prevented any up-and-coming fighters from competing in amateur Shooto.

The suspension stemmed from an incident on February 17, when Yamamoto's teammate Akira Kikuchi (Pictures) lost the Shooto world middleweight championship to Shinya Aoki (Pictures). After the bout, physician Dr. Kenji Nakayama was tending to a cut sustained by Kikuchi during the fight when Yamamoto kicked Nakayama from behind, and verbally attacked him.

"Kid" claimed that the cut had been caused by an errant and illegal elbow by Aoki, and based on the appearance of the cut he disparaged the doctor for not realizing it as such.

After the incident, the Japan Shooto Association announced on February 21 that Yamamoto, and all fighters out of KILLER BEE, would be suspended from both amateur and professional Shooto competition.

Two days later, leading Shooto promoter Sustain held a press conference at the Hotel Metropolitan in Tokyo at which both Dr. Nakayama and Yamamoto spoke about the incident.

"It didn't physically hurt, but it hurts my feelings," Nakayama said. "I took it as contempt, not violence."

Nakayama said that in his 18 years around the ring, he had never been abused physically or verbally by a fighter, trainer or cornermen prior to his incident with Yamamoto.

"I am sorry," Yamamoto said at the same press conference. "I will do my best to not let this sort of thing happen any more; I just get too upset, and exceed a proper level of protest."

On March 6, judgement was handed down from the highest Shooto authority, the International Shooto Commission. The Commission announced that the Shooto license of Norifumi Yamamoto (Pictures) was in a state of non-recognition, meaning that under Shooto sanctioning Yamamoto couldn't compete as a fighter, serve as a chief second or cornerman, act as a manager or promote a Shooto event.

The Japanese Shooto Association, led by chairman Naoki Sakurada and chief executive Taro Wakabayashi, announced on July 29 that the Association's suspension of KILLER BEE would be lifted after August 6, making for a total of 170 days of suspension. As of Aug. 7, KILLER BEE fighters may resume fighting in both amateur and professional Shooto.

However, the International Shooto Commission upheld the indefinite non-recognition status of "Kid" Yamamoto's license. The ISC noted that while Yamamoto has apologized to Dr. Nakayama, he has not formally apologized to either the Japanese Shooto Association or the International Shooto Commission.

While it is immaterial in regards to Yamamoto's participation as a fighter — Yamamoto has recently announced his hiatus from MMA to pursue a freestyle wrestling bid at the 2008 Beijing Olympics — the continuation of non-recognition of Yamamoto's Shooto license means that he still cannot corner or manage any of his KILLER BEE fighters if they are to compete in amateur or professional Shooto.
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