Sumo For MMA

Presently, the four primary arts that are used in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are Western Boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jujutsu and Greco Roman Wrestling. There are some competitors that have successfully blended in Catch Wrestling, such as Kazushi Sakuraba and Ken Shamrock or Judo, such as Karo Parisyan and Kim Dong Hyun. I know that as MMA evolves there will be many other arts that will be thrown into the mix. Arts such as Japanese Taijutsu, Filipino Dumog and Indonesian Silat have a lot of merit. Surprisingly, I believe that the Japanese sport of Sumo would be a great addition into the mix of MMA.

The physical conditioning methods used to train Sumo wrestlers offer very unique ways to develop power and strength in an MMA competitor. They would make a very welcome addition to the strength and conditioning program of a serious fighter.

The techniques of Sumo would blend in very well with the striking and grappling methods used in the clinching range. They would especially be useful in the Randy Couture way of using ‘Dirty Boxing’ where you pin your opponent up against the cage and batter him with punches, elbows, knees and stomps.

A number of Sumo wrestlers have competed in MMA matches, with limited achievement; perhaps the most successful Sumo wrestler to have competed in MMA is Tadao Yasuda, who holds a record of two wins and four losses. Sumo wrestlers are ineffective in MMA because the sports are vastly different from one another in achieving victory; striking techniques and submissions are required for MMA and neither are taught in Sumo wrestling .A few key Sumo techniques also become ineffective in an MMA event as most participants wear spandex bottoms and the techniques require something to grab, such as the belt of your opponent. A Sumo wrestler would need to train in MMA techniques which has not been the case in the past, as the few Sumo wrestlers of distinction to compete in MMA did so for financial reasons and not a career change.

Other Sumo wrestlers to have fought in MMA bouts include Koji Kitao, Akebono Taro, Wakshoyo, Teila Tuli and Henry Armstrong Miller. Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida also has a Sumo background but his main style is Shotokan Karate Do.

The one thing that we don’t want to model from the world of Sumo is the diet. There’s usually no breakfast, the most common type of lunch served is the traditional “sumo meal” of Chankonabe which consists of a stew which contains various fish, meat, tofu and vegetables. It’s usually eaten with white rice and washed down with beer. This regimen of no breakfast and a large lunch followed by a nap helps Sumo players put on a massive amount of weight very quickly.

The negative effects of the sumo lifestyle become dangerously apparent later in life. Sumo wrestlers have a life expectancy of between 60 and 65, more than 10 years shorter than the average Japanese male. They often develop diabetes, high blood pressure, and are prone to heart attacks. The excessive intake of alcohol can lead to liver problems and the stress on their joints can cause arthritis.

However, the strength and conditioning training as well as many Sumo techniques can be a very effective addition to Mixed Martial Arts.



  1. Terrence Hairston says:

    First off, I would like to thank you for acknowledging sumo wrestling. But I do have to say that I respectfully disagree with you when you say that sumo is “ineffective ” when it comes to fighting an mma opponent. My name is terrence hairston and I’m a sumo wrestler. i’m the 2011 u.s. sumo nationals heavyweight champion. go to http://​www​.youtube​.com/​t​y​r​e​k​1​2​345 to see footage. when one discusses sumo in comparison , to mma, you have to truly know the origin of sumo which by your post you don’t fully know about the true origin of sumo. What you see in professional sumo is the watered down version of the original fighting style of sumo. sumo was originally called sumai and the style of sumai was what an mma fighter does now but a major difference. MMA fighters fight for a sport and for a living. sumai fighters fought to the death. sumai consisted of punnhes, kicks,grappling,submissions, and head butting. sumai was also used to help train the samurai and sumai techniques influenced the style nippon kempo karate. sumai changed into sumo during the feudal japan ido period. as far as concept wise for sumo in regards to mma, there is more to sumo than just strength. sumo develops explosive power, speed, agility,stamina,core strength, and flexibilty. as far as grabbing, yes we do grab the mawashi, but there are numerous of grabbing techniques in sumo that don’t require grabbing the mawashi. the greatest attribute a sumo has is his legs. the legs are the core of a sumo wrestler and the strength, power, and flexibility has is the same if not more devastating than a muay thai fighter. there have been cases of people actually dying from training in professional sumo because of the actual strenuous nature of the training. judging from your post , one can easily assume that you don’t know that there are two different categories of sumo. Professional-​​akeebono– and amateur which is what I am. Now in pro sumo there is only one weight class and that is openweight,but not all pro sumo wrestlers are fat. One of the greatest sumo fighters is sumo history is chiyonofuji. he holds the title of consecutively winning 1,ooo sumo matches and chiyonofuji was far from fat. chiyonofuji was 253 pounds of solid muscle so in the ufc he would be a heavyweight. I woud say the closest body type chiyonofuji had in comparison to a ufc figher would be shane carwin . it’s common sense to know when you fight in a style that has more than one fighting element, you have to train in that fashion. that’s why lyoto machida excelled the way he did winning the lightheavyweight title. people use akeebono and manny yarbourough as examples of sumo inferior to mma is because they know that these two fighters did not train with an mma mindset meaning focusing on all the components of mma-​​striking and groundgame. That’s like how that one strongman mariusz pudzianowski tried to compete in mma. yes mariusz did win a few matches, but his opponents were basically non contenders. but when mariusz fought former ufc heavyweight champion tim sylvia, mariusz lost. yes mariusz possessed tremendous power, but he did not have the functional components to convert all that workhorse power into mma functionality and technique. now in amateuer sumo, there are weight classes. lightweight-​​187 and below– middleweight-​​253 and below– heavyweight-​​253 and above– and openweight-​​clashing of all the weight classes. now as far as myself, i train in sumo with an mma mindset. when i won the title i was 321 pounds functional meaning I had the power to zercher lift 945 pounds but could do handstand push-​​ups, pull-​​ups, dips, and I can do swing under overs so i can do dips on top of a 12ft. high pull-​​up bar. since then i’ve dropped to 260 pounds-​​still a heavyweight– and now i’ve incorporated extreme calisthenics to my training regimen for sumo starting with push-​​ups-​​knee touch,aztec,no hand superman, and push-​​up combos intervaled with jump roping– and currently i’ve progressed to extreme dips starting with russian dips. I have grappled and sparred with mma fighters and faired extremely well with them. i just feel people are ignorant to sumo so they make biased judgements. but still , thank you for acknowledging sumo and i hope my edification will shed a new light on your opinion of sumo. namaste.

  2. laughing a lot says:

    that was the most self gratifying and ridiculous response i have ever read

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