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THE GRACIE/YOSHIDA CONTROVERSY RAGES ON: Everybody and their uncle is talking about the controversial (and lousy) ending to the Royce Gracie Hidehiko Yoshida fight at the Shockwave show. As you probably know by now, the referee stopped the fight because he thought Gracie had been choked out. The only problem was that Gracie was conscious and defending the choke.

We all know that Gracie is not happy with the result. But, what does Yoshida think? And did he lie and tell the referee that Gracie was unconscious? The official Pride website has a post-fight interview with Yoshida. Here are some interesting tidbits:


PRIDE: You went from side position to the mound and finally got a sleeve choke. Before that, you were going for an arm lock. Had you been practicing that a lot?

Yoshida: That’s a part of judo. I went to side position but one of my legs was still stuck so the arm lock wouldn’t work. Then I worked my hand around to the back of his head and he let me do it fairly easily. After that, it was just like practice. I couldn’t believe that he would let me do that so easily.

. . .

PRIDE: Helio Gracie asked that yesterday’s match be declared a no-contest.

Yoshida: I don’t really want to worry too much about that. It’s up to the promoters to decide. I’ve done everything that I was supposed to do so there’s nothing I can say about that. He was probably out. I felt the power go out of him. That’s why I thought he was out. (The choke) was in perfectly.

PRIDE: So you instinctively told the referee “he’s out, he’s out.”

Yoshida: No, I said “Didn’t he pass out?” I couldn’t see him and I also didn’t want to kill him. (laughing) I wasn’t sure at all (if he was out) so I had to ask the referee. However, it would have been fine with me if we had kept going like that. As for the decision, I think the referee had the best position to see. I knew that his strength was gone but I don’t know if he was out. If the fight hadn’t been stopped I could have continued choking him. I’m confident that I could have choked him out.

PRIDE: Do you feel that you won?

Yoshida: In terms of the fight, yes. If there’s a problem, there’s nothing to do but leave it up to the promoters. I’m just glad I was able to get this new experience. That’s the most important thing. What will happen from here, I leave that up to the promoters.

Yoshida is in denial. How could he think he won “in terms of the fight” if the rules stated that he could only win by submission? Gracie never submitted nor was he choked out. Yoshida dances around that issue by saying that Gracie “was probably” out. Well I have a newsflash for Mr. Yoshida – people who are choked unconscious do not immediately jump up and protest bad referee stoppages.

A rematch is definitely in order – and I am sure that Pride would like nothing better than to capitalize off of one of their referee’s blunders and offer that to the public. After all, it just makes for a better “show” (Japanese pro-wrestling sensibilities and all).

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