I’ve been home for almost two days now, and while I’ve now watched the event live (well, most of the event either in the arena or from the locker room) and off my recorded HDNet broadcast, I wanted to talk a bit about the show. Except there’s too much to say, too many photos, too many memories and a blur between my memory, the broadcast, and time. So, instead, I will just present you with a photo gallery of all the non-King Mo goings on because I’ll be posting the last part of Mo’s fight journal soon and I’ll save the photos from his story until they are relevant. I didn’t shoot every fight since I was there to cover Mo Lawal – I’m a little bummed I missed Hatsu Hioki’s fight – so my point of view is from my roving self. Daniel Herbertson over at Sherdog shot some great proper fight photos, really beautiful stuff.
A few things first. Nick Denis was very impressive, even more so in his post-fight press interview. When asked about his strategy, Denis asked if it was okay to demonstrate, then proceeded to get up from his chair and breakdown Seiya Kawahara’s style and signs. From his very straightforward explanation, I glean he is an academic at heart, not only a current graduate student at the University of Ottawa, but also a scholar of the fight game, analyzing the bout even while participating.
While cheering for LC Davis simply because he’s from the States and because of a Jackal over at Fightlinker.com, my base was in a locker room with Michihiro Omigawa, and I would come to appreciate “Michi” after the evening ended for his humor and his determination, throwing down the mic after essentially telling those who doubted Omigawa could win to fuck off.
And it was a treat to see the likes of Ryo Chonan, Hidehiko Yoshida, Yushin Okami, and Kazuhiro Nakumura interacting with fighters they train in the locker rooms. It reminded me of something extremely obvious but perhaps no one really considers it the same way I do, unless you’re Asian… this is a different culture from America. I mean, the way these fighters are as people is inherently the same as fighters around the world but the society they inhabit is different. Of course, right?
Well, as someone of Taiwanese descent, I’ve always kind of thought we were all very different, the Taiwanese, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Koreans. But in the locker room, the banter, the jokes, and even after at dinner, it reminded me of time spent with my uncles or my cousins who had newly immigrated. I wonder why there’s so much hatred between the individual nations, except when banding together against the West?
It was in these moments I felt closer to my Japanese acquaintances in the fight game than the community I grew up with in California. I’ll save my cultural questioning for later but for now, this is how I saw the Sengoku 7 featherweight grand prix.