Weight classes exist in most promotions today for a reason. The sport is streamlined and athletes aren’t afforded inordinate weight advantages over one another when they fight.
But it wasn’t always like that. And in some MMA promotions, it isn’t even today. Freak show fights that match up people with huge size differential still do sell tickets once in a while.
Generally, fights like this comprise of a skilled little person and a not so skilled big one, leading to situation where the difference in size can be mitigated by a gulf in skill. But this is not always the case either.
The world of fighting can be a really freaky one sometimes.
Here are 5 examples of that.
Fedor Emelianenko vs Hong Man Choi
Hong Man Choi is a South Korean kickboxer who towered over…well, practically everyone he stepped across the ring from. Standing at 7 foot 2 inches tall and weighing in at 360 pounds, he towered over Fedor Emelianenko as well.
Only problem was that when they fought in 2007, Fedor was the best fighter in the world. And despite his size, Hong Man Choi couldn’t overcome the Russian’s sheer technical skill and ended up tapping out to an arm bar.
Emmanuel Yarborough vs Daiju Takase
Emmanuel Yarborough was a 600 pound sumo wrestler who took his talents to MMA. He main weapon, his sheer body size and volume – to the point where he actually scored a victory against another fighter by lying on top of him and preventing him from breathing.
In this fight in 1988, Yarborough outweighed Takase by almost 400 pounds – but still couldn’t get the victory. Takase spent a good amount of time (over 10 minutes) running around the ring to tire out Yarborough, and then when they finally locked up, managed to win the fight by pummeling his head repeatedly with strikes to force the referee stoppage.
Yarborough was one of the biggest men ever – in MMA or outside of it. But he just couldn’t fight to save his life.
Bobb Sapp vs Kiyoshi Tamura
Another David vs Goliath contest between Bobb Sapp (one of the worst fighters ever) and Kiyoshi Tamura was bannered by Pride (who else?). However this time, the bigger man did win, just taking 11 seconds to knock Tamura out.
Unlike Yarborough however, Sapp did know how to at least throw a punch. And with over 350 pounds channeled into it, that’s probably going to hurt.
Gabi Garcia vs Yumiko Hotta
Gabi Garcia is probably one of the biggest bullies in MMA, always picking on smaller women to fight who are also unskilled. Garcia, who is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, outdid herself however when she went up against Yumiko Hotta who was – wait for it – a 49 year old pro wrestler.
If that didn’t already look awful on paper, when the fight got started, Hotta did what she’d been trained to for all her life – she ran the ropes.
Needless to say, Garcia made short work of her thereafter.
Royce Gracie vs Akebono
Akebono was a Yokozuna – the highest rank bestowed upon a Sumo wrestler. Royce Gracie was the posted boy of all the David’s in MMA, winning the early UFC tournaments using BJJ against a number of different disciplines.
If there was any martial art form equipped with dealing with a bigger opponent who was going to impose his size advantage, it was BJJ and if there was any fighter who could win against said behemoth of an opponent, it was Royce.
And true enough, that’s exactly what happened. Despite Akebono weighing a whooping 484 pounds.
(Cover photo credits: Sherdog)