In what has to be the most exciting news item of 2007, the UFC is bringing in legendary Japanese fighter Michihiro Omigawa to fight at UFC76! Oh wait. That’s not exciting at all. Who the fuck is Michihiro Omigawa? I dunno. Do you know? Well, at least Zach Arnold knows. Because he knows everything.
If the name Omigawa doesn’t ring a bell, he’s a low-to-midcarder from Hidehiko Yoshida’s J-ROCK judo camp. He lost to Aaron Riley at a Bushido show. I’d rather watch Aaron Riley than Omigawa in the UFC. It is absolutely absurd to see what Japanese talent is being currently booked in UFC. There’s a reason why guys like Takanori Gomi are not flocking to fight in UFC and that reason is because many in Japan view UFC as a dead-ender for their long-term careers. Plus, being a star in UFC means next-to-nothing at this point as far as marketing and sponsorships in Japan.
I’m going to hold off on judgment until the almighty Jordan Breen sounds off on the subject. There’s always the chance that this Omigawa guy has beaten his last three opponents in some amazingly spectacular fashion. He may actually deserve a shot in the UFC! Or this could just be proof that the UFC is so woefully underdeveloped in Japan that they don’t bother to do any research on finding real developing talent.
I have to agree with Zach on one point: the UFC hasn’t managed to snatch up any of the really hot Japanese fighters. The closest they’ve come is Mach Sakurai, who isn’t about to tear the welterweight division a new asshole any time soon. The guy is more of a grizzled veteran than a champion in the making.
Could this lockout of firebrand Japanese fighters be deliberate? there’s always been the argument that the UFC doesn’t like unmarketable champions. Well, is there any champion less marketable than a Japanese champion? It wouldn’t surprise me if the reason the UFC doesn’t have the top Japanese fighters in their roster is because they simply don’t want them.