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A "Disappointed" Yoshihiro Akiyama Not Pleased With UFC 116 Opponent Change

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DCRage

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And to make matters worse, there's even a chance Akiyama himself will pull out of the event over this according to a translation of comments he made to a Korean website. "I am not pleased with the change. There are just ten days left until the contest for me to determine [Leben’s] 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."

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Post #1   6/24/10 10:18:21AM   

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man this sounds like it could turn ugly. im a huge fan of the sexy one, and i hope he doesnt try to somehow back out of this. leben isnt that much different that wandy stylistically, both guys are going to come out swinging, but that fact that hes a southpaw might be why sexyama seems to think its going to have to be a whole new gameplan.

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Post #2   6/24/10 10:23:26AM   

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I can understand and appreciate this. The guy has a career to worry about. He stands nothing to gain from fighting Leben due to the fact that he IS a much smaller name than Wanderlei. I think Akiyama knows that Leben has some serious threats. Mostly in the form of that left hand. Why take a fight against a guy you have nothing to gain from beating when there is such a chance to take a fluke KO loss simply because you didn't have a game plan built?

Leben has everything to gain. Akiyama has nothing to gain. Like it or not this is a business sometimes.

Post #3   6/24/10 10:25:03AM   

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Posted by Jackelope

I can understand and appreciate this. The guy has a career to worry about. He stands nothing to gain from fighting Leben due to the fact that he IS a much smaller name than Wanderlei. I think Akiyama knows that Leben has some serious threats. Mostly in the form of that left hand. Why take a fight against a guy you have nothing to gain from beating when there is such a chance to take a fluke KO loss simply because you didn't have a game plan built?

Leben has everything to gain. Akiyama has nothing to gain. Like it or not this is a business sometimes.



Agreed. However, I would not be surprised if Dana disagrees and really wouldn't be surprised to see him released from his contract if he *does* pull out of the fight.

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Post #4   6/24/10 10:27:29AM   

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I'd pull Akiyama from the card right now and find another middleweight to fight Leben. Then I'd terminate Akiyama's contract.

Post #5   6/24/10 10:47:12AM   

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Starting not to like Akiyama after this comment, I bet if he pulled out of the fight it would be the end for him in the UFC.

You know Leben is a pretty big name replacement & I dont think Akiyama could have gotten a bigger replacement than Leben. It's just part of the fight game and it happens. Akiyama could have said he was disappointed but no reason to come out & say you might pull out of the fight.

Post #6   6/24/10 11:22:55AM   

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Posted by Giant_Ochai

I'd pull Akiyama from the card right now and find another middleweight to fight Leben. Then I'd terminate Akiyama's contract.



I Agree! This makes Akiyama sound more like a *****, not a fighter.

If Akiyama backs out I will lose all respect for him. If he goes in there and fights his heart out, that would be the best thing he could do in this situation, win or lose.

Post #7   6/24/10 12:11:56PM   

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i like the choice of leben, but isnt vitor ready by now? to me thats more of a marquee opponent, but either way im hoping this was just sexyama talking off the cuff and things are just going internet wild now about it.

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Post #8   6/24/10 12:48:48PM   

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Not much of a warriors mentality from Akiyama, and he's fighting a guy who I think would literally fight anyone, anytime, anyplace. I do not think that is going to bode well for Akiyama. So much of fighting is mental, and if he goes into the fight against Leben lacking confidence that could be a very bad thing.

Not gonna be surprised at all if he pulls out of this, and bears the wrath of the UFC brass.

Post #9   6/24/10 12:58:16PM   

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I can see where you're coming from Jackelope (and I can see where Akiyama is coming from) but it's not going to sit well with Dana. Think about it: Wandy pulls out of a main card fight with an injury and is so apologetic that he sounds like he would have rather fought injured. The UFC goes out of their way to find a replacement. Leben steps up and takes the fight on short notice. He's not that different an opponent than Wandy and he's a decent name. He's not a former champ or anything but he was a TUF member, he's been around forever, and he's had some wars. Maybe Akiyama underestimates his popularity vs Wandy because in Japan it would be a no-contest. In the US Leben still has a good following.

I agree with what other people have said, if he tries to pull out of the fight Dana will probably give him the boot. And if he doesn't try and pull out of the fight he's probably already pissed off Dana with this comment.

Post #10   6/24/10 1:14:13PM   

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Agreed with the above statement. Am I the only one that doesn't understand why Wand vs Akiyama HAS to happen. Its been in the works for years and I dont see why everyone NEEDS to see this. Its not like its Carwin vs Lesnar, Anderson vs Shogun which are both legit dream matches. Plus, in my opinion neither Wand or Akiyama are in the top ten in the world at Middleweight and Leben probably is a better fighter then Wand anyways.

Post #11   6/24/10 1:14:43PM   

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Posted by Wallass
Leben probably is a better fighter then Wand anyways.



Seriously?

Post #12   6/24/10 1:18:07PM   

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BJJ- I hear you and what Dana chooses to do is his own thing. I can tell you this much, though- Akiyama brings him asian fans that not many other fighters on his rosters will or can. So I don't think it's going to boil down to as simple of a situation as you all seem to be assuming it will. Akiyama could be his foot in the door in Japan and believe me he wants a piece of that market.

I'll also add this- Akiyama is from a very different culture than you, me, and the rest of the posters posting. I highly doubt Akiyama feels the need to prove himself as a "******* fighter" like American fans seem to find so important. Akiyama views himself as a businessman and as a product. When you're thinking of his motivation it's important to weigh that in.

I'm sorry but Chris Leben is NOWHERE near the name in Japan that Wanderlei is. Wanderlei is like a God in Japan. Leben is just some dude with stupid hair over there. I think a lot of people aren't considering these dynamics.

Post #13   6/24/10 1:29:58PM   

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Posted by Jackelope

BJJ- I hear you and what Dana chooses to do is his own thing. I can tell you this much, though- Akiyama brings him asian fans that not many other fighters on his rosters will or can. So I don't think it's going to boil down to as simple of a situation as you all seem to be assuming it will. Akiyama could be his foot in the door in Japan and believe me he wants a piece of that market.

I'll also add this- Akiyama is from a very different culture than you, me, and the rest of the posters posting. I highly doubt Akiyama feels the need to prove himself as a "******* fighter" like American fans seem to find so important. Akiyama views himself as a businessman and as a product. When you're thinking of his motivation it's important to weigh that in.

I'm sorry but Chris Leben is NOWHERE near the name in Japan that Wanderlei is. Wanderlei is like a God in Japan. Leben is just some dude with stupid hair over there. I think a lot of people aren't considering these dynamics.



I did not consider any of this when weighing this situation, but for me, a fan, it doesn't really change anything. You signed up to fight one person, and he got hurt. That is unfortunate, but the UFC did what they always do in this situation they try to find a replacement fighter which they did. They even found a replacement fighter that is stylistically similar to Wanderlei. I can understand Akiyama being disappointed, and even upset, but he should still fight.

Post #14   6/24/10 1:35:55PM   

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like i said in an earlier post, these comments may have been off the cuff and might be getting all blown out of whack now. if youre in his shoes you might be a little disappointed when your match with a huge star from back home has to drop out of a match with you and suddenly someone calls you and asks for your thoughts about him dropping out. everything jackelope said was spot on too, the fight is just over a week away, we'll see what happens between now and then, but its pretty silly to think this guy that is a high level fighter is suddenly scared or not a real man now from behind a keyboard.

EDIT: as a fan it is like a shot to the stones hearing that though.

Last edited 6/24/10 1:40PM server time by cowcatcher
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Post #15   6/24/10 1:39:27PM   
 
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