World Victory Road (WVR) held a press conference on January 7 to discuss the aftermath of the Dynamite!! 2009 fight card on New Year's Eve and the new year's plan for the newly minted Sengoku Raiden Championship.
Not surprisingly, the reflection upon the "DREAM vs. SRC" bouts at Dynamite!! took a contentious turn over Shinya Aoki's bone-breaking submission victory over SRC lightweight champion, Mizuto Hirota, and the "humiliating behavior" that ensued.
WVR director, Sumio Inamura condemned Aoki's flipping of the bird at the severely injured Hirota as an "erratic, unforgivable conduct" and fumed that there is not an ounce of sincerity or contrition in his apology. Inamura also demanded accountability from "those who are suspected to have incited Aoki to behave the way he did."
The official statement from WVR notes that WVR acknowledges Aoki as the top Japanese lightweight and has no contention regarding how the fight unfolded from beginning to end. Nonetheless, it claims that Aoki's post-fight behavior ruined the plum opportunity to elevate the status of mixed martial arts with broadcast on network TV during the prime TV slot of the year.
Invoking SRC's membership in the newly founded Japanese Martial Arts Foundation, the statement claimed that, if a fighter signed to a promotion under the umbrella organization engaged in a similar behavior, he would have his fighter license revoked or receive equally harsh punishment. It also reiterated that, while Aoki has issued a standard apology during the post-fight interviews, his words hardly convey any remorse. In fact, some of his comments, such as the one about "following through with (DREAM event producer) Sasahara's order to kill him" contradict his claim about feeling sorry.
WVR also demanded that DREAM and any other culpable party to go beyond "stern warning" and other perfunctory measures to atone for Aoki's conduct.
The statement concluded with a remark about the expectation for MMA fighters to be polite, genteel human beings, rather than a bunch of ruffians - an absolutely vital step in Japanese Martial Arts Foundation's ongoing effort to establish MMA as a true sport and someday elevate it to the status of Olympic sport.
Stay tuned to MMAmania for part two of the WVR press conference coverage.