Manager Shu Hirata Criticizes Shinya Aoki, Talks State of Japanese MMA

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Jshep714
5/14/10 7:09:33AM
Shu Hirata is the manager for some of Japan's most successful MMA fighters. Takeya Mizugaki, Yoshiyuki Yoshida and many more Japanese fighters fight under Hirata's management. But since the demise of PRIDE FC in 2007, many have begun to question the level of Japanese MMA and Japanese fighters.

It is Hirata's job to bring Japanese fighters to the West and to help them be successful. He is better at his job than anyone else. In this MMAFighting.com exclusive interview, Hirata sheds light on the problems with Japanese MMA, the failure of Shinya Aoki and the future of the sport in Japan.



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cowcatcher
5/14/10 9:27:01AM
the guy shoots from the hip thats for sure, so much so that i kind of question whether or not this is a real interview. if it is, thats the kind of guy japanese mma needs right now.
BlueSkiesBurn
5/14/10 5:29:23PM

Who the hell do you think you are? Really, who said that you are the representative of Japan?


If this is a real interview, I LOVE this guy.
Rush
5/15/10 1:44:59AM
If I were to paraphrase what this interview has, with a touch of my own opinion it would be this.


1) Japanese MMA fighters need to redefine what MMA really is and become more well rounded because I have see few if any well rounded Japanese fighters.

2) Japanese MMA fighters need to learn to cut weight. They are commonly undersized. Their lack of weight cutting makes them hard to finish, but their lack of size makes them easier to bully in the ring.

3) Smaller weight categories need to be more popular or prominent. Japanese fighters are typically smaller than the average North American/European fighter.

4) Japan needs a star. Japan is a very trendy country and a single star would boost the image of MMA in pop culture. IMO, martial arts in general is not popular in Japan, least of all with the 20-35 yr old male category. Without that popularity, MMA will continue to have more of a cult following in Japan.

4) I am not totally sold that Japanese fighters need to come to the US to train. However, I think they need to go elsewhere to train. Thailand is close to Japan and would give Japanese fighters a much needed striking boost. If there was a solid support system (i.e. financially) for MMA in Japan, then I could also see Japan importing trainers (rather than exporting fighters). Make MMA an olympic sport and Japan will feed lots of money into it.
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