Jordan Breen has a good A to Z article on Shooto, the longest running MMA organization in the world. If you thought UFC 1993 was oldschool, try imagining things back in 1986. The world was very different: Rocky had just defeated Ivan Drago and Michael Jackson hadn’t molested anyone yet to the best of our knowledge. The league (or sport, depending on how far up Shooto’s ass the person you’re talking to is) is still going strong now, serving as the lifeline for non-Tokyo talent:
There are typically three to five amateur Shooto events per month, all over Japan. A young fighter who aspires to become a pro Shootor must fight his way through the amateurs, winning regional tournaments and performing well at the annual All-Japan tournaments in order to become a professional. This process has shaped and groomed a tremendous amount of Japan’s top MMA talent for the last 20 years, producing a list of names too expansive to enumerate.
More importantly, the world of Shooto represents one of the only opportunities available to those outside of Tokyo who want to become mixed martial artists. Virtually all MMA in Japan is centered in Tokyo, and for athletes in northern Hokkaido or rural Tottori, chances to embark on a career in MMA are slim to nil.
Managing to watch Shooto events is still a giant pain in the ass so I don’t know how useful knowledge of the organization might be. But I figure as an MMA fan you should probably know more about them than just “Cool name, cooler dragon logo.” So if you agree, check out Breen’s article. And even if you don’t, at least go and skim it over. We need to do something about the fact that posts like this probably get 1/10th the reads as the latest gutter trash from Jake Rossen.