Road FC CEO Jung’s column on JMMA’s downfall
COLUMN written by Road FC CEO Mun Hong Jung (translated from MFIGHT)
Japanese Mixed Martials Art’s influence on the domestic Korean Mixed Martial Arts scene was immense. Although the American UFC is at the forefront of MMA now, that is just the current times. Even just a few years ago Korean fans were enthusiastic for Japanese MMA, of course all the domestic fighter’s dreams were also to fight in either Pride or K-1.
To be honest if one was to look at the larger picture, JMMA was instrumental to the development of Korean MMA and in that aspect South Korea should be thankful for Japan. Because of Japan’s close proximity to South Korea it was possible to spread MMA quickly. It is also true that by Korean organizations chasing Japanese organizations, the domestic MMA scene evolved.
Also many Japanese organizations recruited Korean fighters, which in turn helped domestic fighters improve their skills. For fighters to improve, fighting internationally is important. 90 percent of domestic athlete’s international experience came from fighting in Japan.
Even when I was a MMA fighter my goal was to compete in a major JMMA organization. I still remember that my dream was to fight in Japan. For a while I even trained in gyms in Japan.
This great JMMA scene that we once fantasized about participating in is now in shambles and in a pitiful state. I have heard many times that JMMA is dying, and despite the fact I am a CEO of an MMA organization I can agree with this sentiment. And now after personally attending the GLORY/DREAM NYE event I can almost feel in my bones the hardships JMMA is facing.
Basically, I have with my ones eyes seen the collapse of Japanese Mixed Martial Arts.
Japanese NYE MMA events are a symbolic and long tradition. It has over 10 years of history; you can even argue it is less an MMA event but a festival. NYE events in Japan are where the world’s greatest and most famous fighters come to compete. It was always televised live and would sometimes even garner the most TV viewerships in Japan.
And because of these reasons I thought no matter how much the JMMA scene is struggling the NYE event would be an exception. Also I knew that relatively famous MMA fighters, and famous K-1 fighters would be participating. I remembered how impressed and in awe I was when I had attended a previous NYE event a few years ago, so I waited with much anticipation for the start of the GLORY/DREAM NYE show.