1. J-MMA HAS NO (DIVISIONAL) RELEVANCE.
Perhaps it would have been easier for me to claim that J-MMA is dead. After all, the previously great representatives of MMA from the Land of the Rising Sun have all fallen on hard times this year.
Kid Yamamoto, for so long touted as the "greatest lightweight fighter in the world", has failed to win a single round in the UFC despite fighting in a weight class that is regarded as 'closer' to his natural weight. Shinya Aoki lost a high profile bout against Eddie Alvarez, one that if he had won, would have solidified his perennial top 10 status. Instead, his loss proved that whilst he excelled against lower tier fighters, he reached his ceiling against the upper echelon.
Yasuhiro Urushitani, a world ranked flyweight suffered a crushing defeat against Joseph Benavidez in the UFC's first Flyweight tournament. Hatsu Hioki, the "Child of Shooto", and the one man upon whose shoulders the fate of J-MMA was deemed to have rested, lost possibly the most important fight of his life against Ricardo Lamas. If he had won, he would have been the number one contender to Jose Aldo's title.
Yet, despite the setbacks, J-MMA has not truly died. Okami proved that he is still a good fighter, as far removed from the title shot as he is, with a win against Buddy Roberts; and Takanori Gomi got saved by the bell in the first round to bring us all back briefly to the past by notching up a TKO win against Eiji Mitsuoka. With those wins, J-MMA is still breathing, although rather heavily, and it's representatives are far from the glorious figures they were revered to be in the past.
2. A-MMA IS EMERGING.
Where J-MMA is failing, A-MMA (Asian MMA) is undoubtably on the rise. ONE FC, based in Singapore, has emerged from the ashes of PRIDE and learnt from failings of Dream and World Victory Road to become the biggest MMA organisation in Asia. Although not perfect, the promotion has used fighters from the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Hong Kong to boost awareness of MMA in their respective countries, as well as world-wide. It will be interesting to see whether there will, in the future, be more prominent Asian fighters that are not of Japanese or Korean origin fighting in the UFC.
3. [THE CAGE IS] COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
2012 dispelled the myth that fighting is a "young man's sport". Bernard Hopkins has been banishing that motion for years inside the squared ring, but with the emergence of younger champions within the UFC (Aldo - 26, Jon Jones - 25, Dominick Cruz - 27), many didn't think that age would translate that well inside the Octagon.
Step forward Dan Henderson. At the age of 42, he secured a Light-Heavyweight title shot, only to have his opportunity taken away due to injury. Also disproving that notion is a man that the many deem "the greatest mixed martial artist ever", Anderson Silva, who in 2012 despatched two opponents with such ease that many forgot that he is actually 38 years old, and he had to remind us all in interviews after his fight against Bonnar.
Less illustrious examples include the 40-year old Anthony Perosh, who is somehow 3-1 in the UFC (in his usual weight class of 205lb), and Cyrille Diabate, who at 39 years of age, handed the previously unbeaten Tom DeBlass his first defeat in his sole bout in 2012.
Please note that these write-ups serve as a break from my marathon Football Manager 2013 sessions (themselves caused by being bed-bound due to a virus), and also prevent me from being frustrated because Emile Heskey is failing to score for Barcelona F.C. (Yes, I bought him for Barca...). Enjoy!