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Sapp versus Akebono (what a freak show)

It has been confirmed that Bob Sapp is set to face sumo wrestling champion, Akebono, in K-1’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza. This match up is a clash of monsters; Sapp weighs in at well over three hundred pounds, and Akebono weighs in at well over four hundred pounds. It will be amazing if these two beasts can fit into the ring together. And once they step out or are carried out of the ring, it will be amazing if K-1 will ever be able to be viewed as a “real” sport.

In regard to the sport, this is exactly the sort of match up from which it should stay clear. The two of these athletes may be great at their original sports, football and sumo, but kickboxing is neither of theirs forte. Because of this, the match will most likely look like an amateur toughman competition in Samoa. Punches will be unorthodox and footwork will be almost unseen. Thus, the fight will not be truly representative of the sport, which is what K-1 should desire when putting on a show.

Furthermore, both mma and K-1 have yet to really establish themselves as legitimate sports in the eyes of major media, and this fight is only going to slow that process. In fact, this match up is a throw back to the original days of the UFC, where one four hundred pound competitor could be pitted against a two hundred pound competitor in the same match. And most fans know that this type of fight only led people to view mma as more of a spectacle than a sport. Accordingly, the fight between Sapp and Akebono will most likely be viewed in the same light and drive the image of the sports back to those older times.

Beyond that, the two arguments that could be made in favor of this fight, money and exposure, are bunk. In regard to money, yes, this fight will probably bring down huge numbers, but that gain is very shortsighted. One will not be able to buy back the image that K-1 desires once this fight takes place. And in regard to publicity, not all publicity is good publicity. This fight is only going to bring the sport into closer association with professional wrestling or other spectacles of the sort, which is the image from which the sports are trying to get away.

Thus, this fight should not take place, and K-1 should look to promote its best athletes at the New Year’s Eve fights. In doing so, K-1 will gain long term fans, not a spike in the ratings.

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