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Yes, We Are Hybrid Wrestlers!

"Pancrase is not a kill struggle like the Ultimate Fight where the participant is willing to destroy his opponent to win. Pancrase is a sport, like wrestling."
Masakatsu Funaki, comparing UFC to Pancrase.

"In the days of ancient Greece, there existed a gladiator sport called pankration. No weapons were barred, and victory was claimed, only when one's opponent surrendered, or upon death. The predecessor of this vicious sport, predating it by centuries, was even more fearsome, an art used by soldiers in unarmed hand-to-hand combat. And now, centuries later, the spirit of that ancient martial art is reborn. Pancrase!"
An opening narration sequence used for the Pancrase Perfect Commercial Tapes on the first Pancrase events.
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As a whole

  • Anti-Hero Team: Like the way UWF Newborn was formed, the founders of Pancrase basically said screw you to Yoshiaki Fujiwara and the other PWFG staff and left to create Pancrase.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Because Pancrase founders believed in the entertaining aspect of the fight, they had the ruleset itself oriented to have dynamic grappling battles with lots of joint locks and little rest.
  • Badass Crew: The founders of Pancrase were certainly this. Ken Shamrock's Lion's Den fighters that came later as this as well.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: The promotion was mostly filled with handsome young men since its beginning. The early standard wear of speedo-like Underwear of Power also enhanced this appeal.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Pancrase natives were often great offensive grapplers and decorated wrestlers, but aside from some relevant good kickers, they had usually little to no Kickboxing skill. The best Japanese striker among them, Manabu Yamada, precisely came from Shooto. Ironically, their modest striking was enough to introduce in United States the very first well rounded fighters in a time in which UFC fights were still of the martial art vs. martial art kind.
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  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Heelhooks were once banned because of the frequency of injuries.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Pancrase Athena, the women's division with slightly modified rules.
  • Five-Man Band: The founders of Pancrase.
    • The Leader: Masakatsu Funaki, since he was the best fighter of the group and the face of the promotion.
    • The Lancer: Minoru Suzuki, since he was the second best of the group and Funaki’s foil.
    • The Smart Guy: Takaku Fuke, since he became more involved as an executive later on.
    • The Big Guy: Kazuo Takahashi and Ryūshi Yanagisawa, since Takahashi was the physically strongest of the group and Yanagisawa was the tallest.
    • The Chick: Katsuomi Inagaki, since he was the least experienced and had the worst record out of the original group.
    • Sixth Ranger: Manabu Yamada, since he debuted later than the others and was a former Shooto fighter.
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    • Tagalong Kid: Kiuma Kunioku was still a trainee at the time.
    • Token White: Ken Shamrock, if only because he wasn’t Japanese, he could have also been The Big Guy.
    • Man Behind the Man: Masami Ozaki and Takeya Oitate, since Ozaki was the Executive president of the promotion and Oitate was the world operations manager.
  • Follow the Leader: In order to bring in more fighters in the late 1990s, a special ruleset was created called "Pankration rules", which was basically the UFC's rules in the mid-1990s.
  • Insistent Terminology: Not MMA, but "Hybrid Wrestling". It actually faded off a bit with the turn of the millennium, though fighters themselves are still referred to as pancrasists. They also refer to their champions as "King of Pancrase (or Pancrasists)" ("Queen of Pancrase (or Pancrasists)" when they introduced a women's division).
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen / Loophole Abuse: In its early days, Pancrase rules were actually a lot looser than its peers in the U-System as their fighters had a gentleman’s agreement to not strike a grounded opponent, though it was not officially part of the rules unlike the other promotions. It took outsiders like Allan Goes to fully exploit this detail, much to the chagrin of the hybrid wrestlers.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: And still growing.
  • Mighty Whitey: Regardless of the native talent, Pancrase was more relevant for the foreign names it built, namely Rutten, Schilt and the Shamrocks, who went to dominate the promotion.
  • One-Hit Kill: Until Funaki and Suzuki created Pancrase, worked shoot matches used to be long and slow in order to maintain the crowd entertained. However, when the two implanted their real matches concept, proved when the first Pancrase event lasted only 28 minutes, the Japanese crowds loved it and coined the word "byosatsu" (秒殺, "instantly finished") to refer this kind of exciting battle. Even so, the two used to carry weaker opponents to avoid a too short fight.
  • Power Trio: In the beginning Funaki, Suzuki and Ken Shamrock as they were the best in the promotion at the time and did most of the recruiting for new talent.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: While the UWF's members vowed for it, Pancrase eventually implemented what they called "kekka no sutairu" ("results-oriented style") in its very beginnings.
  • Spin-Off: Pancrase Australia, Pancrase UK, Pancrase Korea, Pancrase USA, Pancrace (Pancrase France basically), Pancrase Fighting Championships (another one in France), The Bas Rutten Invitational, Strike & Grapple (also known as Light Pancrase), Colosseum 2000.
  • Tournament Arc: The King of Pancrase Tournament to crown the first champion of the promotion. The annual Neo Blood Tournaments for the young bloods in the promotion.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Suzuki and Fuke created Pancrase MISSION in order to prepare for their pro wrestling comebacks. The Pancrase MISSION dojo trains both pro wrestlers and MMA fighters.

    open/close all folders 

    Debuted in the Beginning of Hybrid Wrestling (1993) 

Cees Bezems

Soichi Hiroto

James Matthews

Takeya Oitate

Masami Ozaki

  • Non-Action Guy: Executive president of Pancrase at the beginning till 2008.

Bas Rutten

Andre van den Oetelaar

Joop van de Ven

George Weingeroff

Vernon White

"Yeah, I would have to say that Vernon was actually my first one that I had brought in and really started to work with and it took a long time for him to develop, but when he did man, he really did well."
"What a pain in the ass! Tiresome."

    Debuted in The Year A King Is Crowned (1994) 

Scott Bessac

"Back then, Ken didn't know any better and I certainly didn't know any better. I was just a fighter out on the streets. We did sparring with no pads. With just kempo gloves and no shin protection."

  • Almighty Janitor: Was a tough guy with a reputation of being in quite a few street fights and hurting his opponents when asked to do so. He just wasn't a great fighter for Pancrase as one; he didn't really like the Pancrase style of fighting (not that he couldn't do it, see his fight with BJJ practitioner Larry Papadopoulos as an example) and two; Ken, Funaki, and Suzuki personally asked him not to hurt the guys he was facing too badly with a few exceptions like Larry Papadopoulos.
  • The Apprentice: To Ken Shamrock as part of the Lion's Den.
  • Badass Mustache / Porn Stache
  • Balls of Steel: In his UFC fight with David Hood, like his trainer Ken Shamrock against Dan Severn, Hood tried low-blowing Bessac only to hurt his hand on Bessac's Thai metal cup.
  • Cool Teacher: Was the trainer of the original Lion's Den gym when Ken was busy or unavailable.
  • Determinator: Had to be one to train under Ken Shamrock.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Got smashed in the head by a couple of gang bangers, and then got permanent brain damage which forced him to retire from fighting.
  • Jobber: His role in the promotion.
  • Leotard of Power
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: Prefered the No-Holds-Barred style of fighting versus the Pancrase style of fighting.
  • Red Baron: "Firstborn Lion", "Ken's First Student".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Got into an argument with Ken on how he was supposed to fight, Ken wanted him to be more of a submission seeker while Bessac preferred the stand up and ground-and-pound style of NHB fighting, Bessac finally got fed up and left the Lion's Den.
  • Stout Strength: Was a bit pudgy, especially when compared to his fellow Lion's Den fighters.
  • Terse Talker: In an interview he did, whenever he mentions someone asking him to do something his usual response was "Cool".
  • Training from Hell: Went through one as expected of a Ken Shamrock / Lion's Den disciple.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Was basically a street fighter before training with Ken Shamrock and his refusal to really learn wrestling and submissions did not make him a high level fighter.
  • Ur-Example: Was the first disciple of Ken Shamrock's Lion's Den.

Todd Bjornethun

Alex Cook

Jason DeLucia

"Tell them the truth, Jason, tell them the truth."
— an annoyed Bas Rutten

  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Arguably to RINGS fighter Valentijn Overeem.
  • Arch-Enemy: Manabu Yamada.
  • Born Lucky: His greatest victory in MMA, an upset win over Masakatsu Funaki, was actually fortuitous - Funaki had allowed him to leglock him to carry the match, but then he discovered he was too away from the ropes to take a rope escape and had to tap out.
  • Bullying a Dragon: His third match with Bas Rutten had him claiming that Bas was hitting him in the face with closed fists which cut Bas's payday, he left the match defeated and with a ruptured liver.
  • Cool Teacher: Has his own gym, Pancrase Hybrid Budokan.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Of the big variety. Aside from outrageous claims in Sherdog and other MMA forums about how Japanese promoters tried to poison him or something, he once casted some kind of voodoo spell over Bas Rutten to make him lose (which naturally failed).
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite the above, DeLucia was an incredibly dangerous fighter and could snatch wins against superior opponent thanks to his BJJ submissions, quickness and grace. He has legit victories about people like Yamada, Minoru Suzuki and Ikuhisa Minowa.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Before his MMA career, he was featured in a Gracie Challenge video in which he fought Royce Gracie as a kung fu representative.
  • I Know Kung Fu: 5 Animals Style. He also trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo, Karate, Judo and Aikido on which he made a instructional video series.
  • Training from Hell: Trained in the Lion's Den with Ken Shamrock.
  • Ur-Example: Won the first fight in UFC via the first rear naked choke.

Christopher DeWeaver

"It was much more impressive for a Japanese to be a 5'9" Japanese, beat a 6'6" gaijin. So if I had won, it'd be like "Well yeah, De Weaver's a giant." But if the Japanese won- now you've got this whole cultural, racial undertone of superiority and things like that. As soon as it went to the ground and I didn't know really how to defend heel hooks wearing wrestling boots- I mean it was kind of a relatively easy match. At that stage, I wasn't even really a quality blue belt for BJJ. But back then, it was very, very different. There was no internet, YouTube, sharing videos. There were very few people who had ever fought in a MMA match. Now, it's really different. People have seen so much MMA but back then, it was really different. The thought of going into a match and getting really, really hurt and not knowing what could happen, or what your techniques could do or what theirs could do- it was pretty much unknown and uncharted territory."

Leon Van Dijk

Matt Hume

"An aspiring fighter must first realise that there is nothing special about simply becoming a ‘fighter’. Find a MMA gym or a martial arts gym that teaches a specific element of overall MMA and enjoy learning and training without concern as to whether you are getting ‘fighter’ training."

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He is the Vice-president of operations for ONE FC and the head trainer of the American Martial Arts Center (AMC) Pankration. He was also the rule director and official trainer to both PRIDE Fighting Championships and DREAM.
  • Badass Family: His father was a Seattle police officer who trained in Judo, boxing, and with Bruce Lee.
  • Badass Teacher: More known as a trainer than a fighter, though not a bad fighter himself. He has trained guys like Demetrious Johnson, Bibiano Fernandes, Josh Barnett, Tim Boetsch, Bob Sapp, Chris Leben, Hayato Sakurai, Akira Shoji, Matt Brown, Rich Franklin, Mario Miranda, Caros Fodor, etc.
  • For Want of a Nail: He lost his match against Minoru Suzuki when he accidentally tumbled into the ropes while Suzuki was leglocking him, which the referee interpreted as a rope escape, leading to his defeat by a lost point when the match was over. According to Hume, he was Screwed by the Network as Suzuki was the fan favourite.
  • Guest Fighter
  • Hero Killer: He has a victory over Erik Paulson.
  • I Know Karate: Shito-Ryu, as well as Judo, Wing Chun, Taekwondo, boxing, amateur and Catch Wrestling, sambo, kempo, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Was a top fighter, but the fact that he was thrown to opponents like Minoru Suzuki, Ken Shamrock and Manabu Yamada did not help him to surface.
  • Red Baron: "The Wizard".
  • Start My Own: Created his own style of pankration and started developing it at the age of 19 in college. He also founded a MMA promotion called the United Full Contact Federation.

Vitali Klitschko

  • The Ace: In boxing, he was renowned for having exceptional ring dominance. With an 87% knockout percentage, he holds one of the highest knockout-to-fight ratios of any world champion in heavyweight boxing history, while also possessing a highly durable chin. His two losses came via a shoulder injury and a deep cut above his eye, both of which were recorded as stoppages rather than outright knockouts; in both fights he was leading on the judges' scorecards.
  • The Apprentice: To Anatoliy Klimanov and Fritz Sdunek.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Currently serves as Mayor of Kiev and head of the Kiev City State Administration, having held both offices since June 2014. He is also a former leader of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and a former Member of the Ukrainian Parliament.
  • Badass Family: His father Vladimir Rodionovich Klitschko, was a Soviet Air Force major general and a Soviet military attaché in East Germany and was also one of the commanders in charge of cleaning up the effects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster in 1986.
  • Bash Brothers: His brother is Wladimir Klitschko, a former unified world heavyweight champion. From 2006 until 2015, Vitali and Wladimir dominated heavyweight boxing, a period typically known as the "Klitschko Era" of the division.
  • Boxing Battler
  • Genius Bruiser: Was the first professional boxing world champion to hold a Ph D degree.
  • The Giant: Is 6ft 7.
  • Guest Fighter: Had only one match in Pancrase in a Kickboxing bout against Ryūshi Yanagisawa.
  • I Know Boxing: Is a three-time world heavyweight champion, the second-longest-reigning WBC heavyweight champion of all time, has the fifth-longest combined world championship reign in history at 2,735 days, the third-longest individual WBC heavyweight title streak of all time at 9 consecutive defenses, and the fourth-longest combined title streak in the modern heavyweight history at 15 title bouts and is the only heavyweight boxer to have reigned as world champion in three different decades. He also trained in Karate and Kickboxing and was a kickboxing world champion six times (four times in professionals and twice in amateurs).
  • Red Baron: "Dr. Ironfist".
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Vitali or Vitaly?
  • Stone Wall: Along with Oliver Mc Call, he is also the only world heavyweight champion to have never been knocked down in any fight.

Frank Lobman

Hiromi Okamoto

Remco Pardoel

Larry Papadopoulos

"Larry had done the point style jiu-jitsu matches. He was a black belt in Australian jiu-jitsu, and Australian jiu-jitsu is different than BJJ, obviously. It's very well rounded as far as self defense, throwing, minimal ground work- more like old judo ground work. So he had a good overall background and was a good athlete, and we were the older... we were in our late 20’s, early 30’s at the time."
— Christopher DeWeaver

  • The Apprentice: To John Donehue.
  • Arch-Enemy / The Worf Effect: During a talent scouting in Australia hosted by Minoru Suzuki. Larry got the better of Suzuki during a rolling session. Enraged, Suzuki warned Scott Bessac before his fight with Larry and specifically told Bessac to hurt him with Bessac obliging and breaking Larry's ribs. Suzuki and Larry eventually fought. Suzuki, putting his King of Pancrase on the line their eventual matchup with Suzuki victorious via guillotine from half guard. Both men put hostility aside as both embraced after the match.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: Formerly owned Spartan Gym, where the some of the first Australian MMA fighters trained at and was the head fighter.
  • Awesome Aussie
  • Awesome Mccool Name
  • Bouncer: Co-owned a security firm that frequently worked with night clubs.
  • Carpet of Virility
  • Cool Teacher: Founded Boxing Works where he teaches MMA, boxing, Japanese and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • I Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: One of Pancrase's first BJJ fighters, trained at the Extreme Jiu-Jitsu & Grappling school, is a black belt and was a 3 time Australian jiu jitsu tournament champion and competed in the 2003 ADCC under 99kg catergory. Also a 4th degree black belt graded in the Koshinryu Ju Jutsu school and trained in Judo, Aikido, boxing and shoot wrestling.
  • Red Baron: "Papa-San".
  • Start My Own: Hosted Shooto Australia events for both Amateur and Pro Shooto.
  • Ur-Example: Introduced Shooto to Australia.

Thomas Puckett

"To Whom It May Concern, If someone claims to have been trained by Karl Gotch, the first thing you need to know is that Karl would not show anyone techniques until they could "pay" him with the exercises. Karl wanted effort... and the truth is he rarely got it. I met Gotch in the fall of 1993. I spent about eight hours a day with him everyday six-seven days a week until I left Tampa for good in mid-1995. After my initial fight in Japan in March of 94, I came back and had to leave Tampa briefly because of illness around early May of that year. I returned to Tampa about 8 weeks later to resume training until May of 95. Karl's wife died soon after. I kept in touch with Karl weekly on the phone and continued to visit until his passing last year. Talking to a wrestling great did not mean that he trained you. Talking about wrestling on the phone does not constitute training time. Training for any kind of wrestling takes years to develop world class skill. Training is working with sparring partners under the watchful eye of an expert who can correct your mistakes and show you the right way to do things. It takes years to learn the skills before you could be qualified to pass to them on to the next generation. No one that respected Gotch or the sport of Catch Wrestling would dare to presume that a couple of months in the presence of a legend would qualify them to teach as his representative. To truly honor the man, the student would take years perfecting the skills he learned by drilling AND COMPETING before he would try to do his mentor justice. The only people that Karl legitimately spent time teaching and conditioning for Catch Wrestling were the Japanese fighters like Fujiwara, Suzuki, Funaki and the rest of the young boys attached to the old UWF. They are the only ones who could say that Karl consistently spent time on the mat with them. No one that he talked to or went to a gym with him a time or two, myself included was given his blessing to instruct or write book about catch except for Fujiwara. HE HAD NO LIVE IN STUDENTS in the 15 years I knew him. There was no such thing as "Gotch wrestling". For Karl, the throws, suplexes, controls and the ground game were just wrestling. Karl always hoped that pure Catch would come around again in his lifetime. I believe from our conversations that he had hoped PANCRASE would have evolved into a forum for that. But as the American NHB scene evolved the Japanese product moved more toward the striking side of things to be competitive instead of developing the great grappling product that it already had. He always spoke highly of the old UWF match between Suzuki and Funaki. It is my opinion that this was the kind of product he respected and felt the world would want to see. But what do I know. The name of Gotch, when it came to wrestling and conditioning was synonymous with excellence. An exacting standard, rarely met, and if you really did know the man, you would know how much he hated pretenders. And a pretender you would be if you thought that a few months training qualified you to speak for a legend or use his name without his consent. At least, have the balls to make your own way, without having Gotch's name emblazoned on everything you do. Signed, The Guy Busting His A** in the Conditioning for Combat Sports DVD."
— Thomas Puckett on what a true student of Karl Gotch should be like.

Richard Saar

"We expressed interest, started it... we've had people go up. I think Richard Saar was the first one who is almost in some ways a sacrificial lamb. We had our schedule as far as who was going up in what order. And Richard went up and Larry cornered him."
— Christopher DeWeaver

Frank Shamrock

"Fighting is art and there is nothing more beautiful than the painted canvas of just totally kicking someone's ass."

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: To Ken Shamrock, in a bitter real life way.
  • Badass Teacher: Trained Maurice Smith in submission grappling and was a trainer at the Lion’s Den. He was a trainer for the American Kickboxing Academy, and had his own MMA school, Shamrock Martial Arts Academy in San Jose, California. He alo manages his own fight team, Team Shamrock, was chosen as a coach for the San Jose Razorclaws of the International Fight League, and was a coach on the reality series titled Fight Master: Bellator MMA.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Was eye gouged by Allan Góes in their fight, so he caught him in a heel hook and broke his leg. (Góes didn't tap out, by the way.)
    • In his third fight with Bas Rutten, near the end of the fight Frank stuck his tongue out to Bas which led to Bas punching him in the face with a closed fist which got the fight restarted on the feet and a pay cut for Bas. Shortly after Frank could not continue the fight and lost.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He has some weird thoughts at times, in his autobiography there was a time he read up on serial killers because he thought it made him feel better about his guilt about fighting and hurting people. Another example is that in his fight with Osamu Shibuya, he got tired and dehydrated and said that he hydrated himself in the middle of the fight by licking and drinking Shibuya’s sweat off his neck.
  • Combat Commentator: Briefly acted as a consultant and commentator for the UFC and has also worked as one for Showtime Networks, Bellator MMA, Glory Kickboxing and Combate America's.
  • Curbstomp Battle: His anticipated battle against Cesar Gracie.
  • Defeat Means Respect: Befriended Tsuyoshi Kohsaka in RINGS after beating him in a match.
  • Determinator: Had to be one to train under his brother.
  • Engrish: The Pancrase YouTube channel has his real name, Juarez, spelled as both "Waress" and "Wallace".
  • Heroic Build: Very noticeable in his Pancrase days.
  • I Know Jeet Kune Do: He studied it before his UFC debut and trained in Kickboxing under Maurice Smith and shoot wrestling under his brother and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. He is also a honorary seventh degree black belt in submission fighting awarded by Philip S. Porter.
  • Keet
  • Master of All: Was called a complete MMA fighter because his striking and submission fighting were both great. He had the master kickboxer Smith and the shooter Kohsaka to help him to improve.
  • Red Baron: "The Legend".
  • Sadist Teacher: During his time at the Lion’s Den, while considered much softer than his brother’s methods of directly beating the crap out of whoever missed a session or showed up late, Frank would still make those guys work till they were puking their guts out, though thankfully he eventually grew out of such hard methods.
  • Start My Own: Founded MMA promotions called ShootBox and Bushido.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: With Maurice Smith and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka.
  • Training from Hell: Went through one as expected as his brother's/Lion's Den disciple.
  • Worthy Opponent: States Enson Inoue was his toughest opponent.

Gregory Smit

"There was one guy by the name of Greg Smit, and Greg Smit was the first Australian to actually fight in Pancrase. And while we all had a BJJ flavor/Thai boxing flavor to what we were doing, Greg actually trained and went to Florida to train with Gotch. And so he actually had the real leg lock, ankle lock, wrestling, ride style. Even though he wasn't that athletic, he was a bit... not as coordinated and athletic as the other guys- he actually had very solid fundamentals in regards to the Gotch system."
— Christopher DeWeaver

Toon Stelling

Scott Sullivan

"Can you love your neighbor as yourself, and at the same time knee him in the face as hard as you can?"

  • Badass Teacher: Has his own MMA gym and has made several instructional videos.
  • Cool Teacher: He homeschools his 8 children.
  • Genius Bruiser: He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX.
  • Guest Fighter
  • I Know Muay Thai: A national heavyweight champion, he also trained in and won national titles in shootboxing. He also trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu later became a BJJ black belt under Anibal Braga.
  • Jobber: Had 2 fights in Pancrase, both he lost.
  • Name's the Same: Not to be confused with another MMA fighter with the same nor another one that goes by Scott O’Sullivan who is also Irish.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Was born an evangelical Christian though he later became a Catholic, he was featured in the MMA documentary; "Fight Church" and his website in dedicated to Christian apologetics.
  • Red Baron: "Bam Bam".
  • Spell My Name with an "S": His surname in Pancrase was written as "Sollivan".

    Debuted in The Eyes of the Beast Year (1995) 

Allan Góes

"Allan Goes is, without question, one of the best grapplers to compete in MMA. He was a martial artist when he was a toddler, he was a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt at 18, he was (reportedly) 200-1 by 19 and an 8-time world BJJ champion, he was part of the original crew that founded the Brazilian Top Team, he fought in Pancrase, EF, the UFC, Pride and the IFL alike, and in that time he fought everyone from Frank Shamrock to Sakuraba to Coleman to Gustavo Machado. Unfortunately, there is a linking factor here: He couldn't beat any of them. Goes is one of those incredible talents who was by no means unsuccessful in mixed martial arts, but could never crack the top ranks, be it because of the equally impressive grappling talents of his opponents or his occasionally questionable gameplans—such as, in what he's most famously remembered for in the sport, deciding to throw capoeira kicks at Mark Coleman for thirty seconds before politely staying in the sprawl position with a wrestler 30 pounds his senior who was allowed to scramble his brains with his knees."
— A profile of Goes from a Fire Pro Wrestling user Carl CX from https://steamcommunity.com

  • The Apprentice: To Carlson Gracie.
  • Badass Teacher: Teaches at his own gym, Allan Góes Martial Arts with his own style of jiu-jitsu.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Frank Shamrock claims Góes eye gouged him in their fight, so he caught him in a heel hook and broke his leg. (Goes didn't tap out, by the way.)
  • Combat Pragmatist: In their match, Góes refused to release the hold when Frank utilized a rope escape as by Pancrase's rules, and he gained a yellow card from the referee, and the aforementioned eye gouge as claimed by Frank Shamrock. He also cheated a lot in his matches in Extreme Challenge 3 and 4. After the fight against Dan Henderson in which he illegally kicked a downed Henderson, he seemed to have gotten better after those fights.
  • Determinator: As stated above he did not tap out even though his leg was injured.
  • Guest Fighter: Made his MMA debut in Pancrase, but for only one match.
  • Go for the Eye: Frank Shamrock claims Góes did this to him in their match.
  • I Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Started at the age of 7, received his black belt from Carlson Gracie and is now a 6th dan black belt. He is also a black belt in Judo and is said to have been trained in Kickboxing and Capoeira.
  • The Worf Effect: Lost to Mark Coleman in less than 2 minutes.

Takafumi Ito

Kenji Kosuge

Jeff Masajiri

"Jeff, yeah- he's a Sheriff here in Sacramento County where I live, and I talk to him every now and then, and he trained with Ken quite a bit. Jeff and I trained a lot together; he was a cool guy. He was one of them guys you could beat up and he'd take it. He was a good guy."
— Scott Bessac

Todd Medina

Guy Mezger

"You think you've got it tough, kid? When I fought they didn't have rules! No rules and no weight classes. You guys are wimps today!"

  • The Apprentice: Subverted. He was a part of Ken Shamrock's Lion's Den, but he lived and trained in his own gym, and had been brought by Shamrock precisely because he was already a skilled fighter.
  • Arch-Enemy: Tito Ortiz in UFC.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Is the president of HD Net Fights.
  • Badass Bystander: In December 2011, he was involved in an altercation in Dallas in front of a sporting goods store where a man was physically abusing a woman. He stepped in to assist the woman by fighting the man, who attacked Mezger with a knife. The attacker was on parole and afterwards needed medical attention for multiple facial bone and arm bone fractures. Mezger's hand was cut in the fight, but thankfully it was surgically repaired and he fully recovered.
  • Combat Commentator: He has commentated for Chuck Norris' full contact, team-based martial arts competition, the World Combat League, and for Japanese MMA organization DREAM.
  • Cool Teacher: Owns Guy Mezger's Combat Sports Club where he trains people in boxing, Kickboxing and MMA. He also owns a consulting company, CS Consulting, that works with both Federal and State law enforcement agencies on re-vamping their defensive tactics training.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts / Gradual Grinder: Enjoyed a calculated, surgically precise striking, but he lacked KO power overall.
  • Determinator: Had to be one to train under Ken Shamrock.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Made his MMA debut at UFC 4 in an alternate match against Jason Fairn.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: A Texan from Dallas.
  • Genius Bruiser: In 2011 he earned a Ph D in Holistic Health and formed a partnership with a doctor's group called Optimal Health Specialists.
  • Graceful Loser: He lost to Wanderlei Silva in a fight that many, including Kazushi Sakuraba thought should have been a no contest because Silva headbutted Mezger which was illegal. Mezger said he didn't really care about the result (as he was visibly being picked apart before the headbutt) but would have liked a rematch.
  • I Know Karate: A 6th dan in Kyokushin and a 1993 and 1994 World Full-Contact Karate Champion. He also trained in Tang Soo Do and Taekwondo under a Chung Do Kwan affiliated school, boxing, Judo under Vince Tamura, wrestling under Willie Thompson, Muay Thai and Kickboxing under Billy "Jack" Jackson, in which he won a U.S. Heavyweight Title before subsequently winning the WKC World Heavyweight Championship in June 1995.
  • Red Baron: "The Sandman", "Kochaku Daio" ("The Great King of Stalemates"), "Nankōfuraku no Shishi" ("The Impregnable Lion").
  • Screwed by the Network: He has quite a few moments of this happening, Pride was not good to him.
    • He agreed to fight Kazushi Sakuraba on two weeks notice and had a broken foot going into the fight with a condition that the fight would not go into overtime. The fight mostly consisted of Mezger keeping control by stopping Sakuraba's takedown attempts while landing strikes, and ended with Mezger expecting it to go to the judges, but Pride officials wanted the fight to go to overtime, clearly to give Sakuraba another chance to win the fight. An argument ensued and Mezger was ordered out of the ring and back to the locker room by his corner man, Ken Shamrock, who was livid at the decision. Later that night, the president of Pride FC made a public apology to Mezger at the Tokyo Dome for the miscommunication.
    • His fight with Wanderlei Silva where Silva ended the fight with an illegal headbutt and punching combination.
    • His fights with Ricardo Arona, Akira Shoji and Antônio Rogério Nogueira ended in controversial split decision victories for Mezger's opponents.
  • Start My Own: Started up a MMA promotion called World Pankration Championships that only ran 2 shows.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The guy was just in a different level every time he returned to fight. He went from drawing with Ryushi Yanagisawa to looking Ricardo Arona face to face.
  • Training from Hell: Went through one as expected of a Ken Shamrock / Lion's Den disciple.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Or on his trunks in his fight with Ricardo Arona.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Was sick before his rematch with Tito Ortiz but fought anyway, a decision that he regretted after the fight. This resulted in Ortiz handling Mezger and won the bout at the 9:55 mark by referee stoppage.

John Renfroe

Osami Shibuya

Harout Terzyan

    Debuted in The Truth Year (1996) 

Wes Gassaway

"Wes was a weight class above me, but he had no submission ability at all. I knew I could get him down and submit him without any real difficulty. But I found myself getting tired after about 2 minutes. Gassaway was super-strong, much stronger than I expected. He hit me a couple of times in the head and it really rang my bell."
— Frank Shamrock

Satoshi Hasegawa

Jong Wang Kim

"Kim wasn't a particularly good fighter. He was slow, he was chinny, he got tired very quickly and he was addicted to kicks that had no hope of landing or doing damage. But he was persistent, he never stopped coming back, and if you underestimated him he could squeeze your head off in seconds. For a man with very little inborn athletic talent, he fought for seventeen years and made it to 13-23, and not a single fight went to decision, win or lose. Jong Wang Kim knew what he was about and he did it as hard as he could."
— A profile of Jong Wang Kim from a Fire Pro Wrestling user Carl CX from https://steamcommunity.com.

Yuki Kondo

  • The Ace: The next one after Masakatsu Funaki. He was good in grappling, had a sharp striking, and over all, was young and spirited.
  • The Apprentice: To Masakatsu Funaki.
  • Blood Knight: Has fought in over 100 MMA fights as recently as 26 May 2019.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Is known for wearing blue shorts in most of his fights, one of his Red Barons even reflects this.
  • Challenge Seeker: Faced people like Wanderlei Silva and Igor Vovchanchyn in PRIDE, challenged both Naoya Ogawa and Rickson Gracie (to avenge Funaki), and also wanted a match with Kazushi Sakuraba.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": His real first name is apparently just Yū.
  • I Know Shorinji Kempo: A 2nd dan black belt and also yoga, which he adopted after seeing Funaki doing the same to understand Rickson's condition.
  • Kid Hero: Comparatively to the veteran fighters; Kondo was Pancrase's hottest new blood, and proven himself by beating established names left and right.
  • Loony Fan: Of Funaki, though unlike Wataru Sakata, he intends to be taken seriously.
  • One-Hit Kill: Was good with high kicks, and got some instant victories by kick to the head.
  • Passing the Torch: He received it from Funaki but like Kiyoshi Tamura and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka to Akira Maeda he was just not at Funaki's level in popularity.
  • Promoted Fan Boy: Was a big fan of Funaki before training under him.
  • Red Baron: "Fudo Shin" ("Firm Spirit"), "Nippon no Seimitsu Machinegun" ("Japan's Precision Machine Gun"), "Eien no Blue" ("Eternal Blue"), "Yukisora".
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Was a part of the "Hybrid Sanjushi" ("The Three Hybrid Musketeers") along with Kiuma Kunioku and Osami Shibuya. Among them, Kondo was called "Kokoro no Kondo" ("Kondo of the Heart") due to his spirit and tenacity.
  • The Worf Effect: Lost to Tito Ortiz in UFC in under two minutes and by cobra clutch. Also to quite a few of the lesser known fighters on this list.

Jack McLaughlin

Semmy Schilt

"Semmy Schilt in Mixed Martial Arts was a mess, to say the least. Pancrase was a promotion filled with smaller Japanese fighters who would be lucky to make the six foot mark if they were wearing risers, which against other Japanese fighters was fine, but Pancrase in the early days was a lot like the wild west. Semmy stands at six-foot eleven-and-a-half inches. Put a pair of boots on Semmy and he is an easy seven feet tall. If you know Schilt from his later work in K-1 only you are missing out on a fighter who was tall and incredibly lean; think of modern day UFC Heavyweight Stefan Struve, only with more muscle and more coordination. Schilt's background is in Karate, so to say that stand up fighting was always his strength would be an understatement, but he still had a good ground game, relative to the time, too. This is the fighter that smaller Japanese fighters were being put up against, a guy that modern Kickboxing demigods like Badr Hari still can't figure out the formula to soundly defeating Schilt."
— Dave Walsh, Liverkick.com blogger.

  • Alliterative Name
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: To RINGS fighter Tariel Bitsadze.
  • Always Someone Better: Was beaten by Josh Barnett twice in MMA and beaten three times (though he has won against him once) by Peter Aerts in Kickboxing. He also never got to avenge losses to Ryushi Yanagisawa and Satoshi Hasegawa.
  • The Apprentice: To Jon Bluming, Dave Jonkers, and Takeshi Azuma.
  • Badass Family: Both his parents were Kyokushin practitioners.
  • Colossus Climb: He was so tall and lanky that he was able to reach the ropes from anywhere in the ring and impede his opponents to get into his striking guard with his long arms.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Was on the receiving end of one in his Pancrase bout with Ryushi Yanagisawa, where Semmy tapped out in less than a minute to a toehold.
  • David vs. Goliath: Was Goliath to almost everyone he faced in Pancrase.
  • The Giant: With 6 feet 11 inches and 300 pounds, he was the biggest hybrid wrestler ever.
  • Hero Killer: Beat Manabu Yamada in his debut, and has victories over Osami Shibuya, Kazuo Takahashi, Takaku Fuke, Katsuomi Inagaki, Guy Mezger, Jason Godsey, Yuki Kondo (though he lost their first 3 fights), Takafumi Ito, Ikuhisa Minowa, Yoshihisa Yamamoto, Minoru Suzuki, Masakatsu Funaki (though he lost their first 2 fights), Bob Schrijber, Pete Williams, Akira Shoji, Masaaki Satake, and Yoshihiro Takayama in MMA.
  • I Know Karate: First started with Kyokushin, before switching to Ashihara Karate and is a 6th dan black belt and later learned Daido-Juku Kudo and is also a black belt in that. He eventually become a Kickboxing champion and one of the most dominant K-1 stars.
  • Mighty Glacier: A slow but precise hard hitter.
  • Red Baron: "Zettai Oja" ("The Absolute King"), "Nankofuraku no Saikyo Oja" ("The Impregnable World's Strongest King"), "Saikyō Kyoshinhei" ("The Strongest Giant Soldier"), "Kyodai Kakutō Robo" ("The Giant Fighting Robot"), and in English, "Hightower", "Skyscraper", “The Dutch Destroyer”.
  • Puzzle Boss: As mentioned above, he posed a challenge to the Pancrase fighter due to his size and body shape.
  • The Rival: To Masakatsu Funaki and Yuki Kondo. He had a trilogy of fights with both of them and only won after losing the first 2 fights to both of them.
  • The Worf Effect: By Gilbert Yvel in a RINGS event. Also his losses to Ryushi Yanagisawa and Satoshi Hasegawa
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: His RINGS bout with Gilbert Yvel and maybe his PRIDE bouts with Fedor Emelianenko, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Sergei Kharitonov.

August Smisl

Oleg Taktarov

"Yeah, he had actually qualified for the tournament and he needed to get prepared for that event. Guy asked me if he could come and train with me because he knew I could really work with him and get him prepared because I was getting prepared for my fight, so I brought him up and I worked with him, I trained him and I worked, trying to get him ready, it was hard because Oleg had this mentality, and it was hard to get him to understand that the idea is not to get hit, to try and keep moving and position yourself so you can get in a good position to finish the fight. It was almost like he didn’t care if he got hit, and that he would wear somebody down and then submit them. But I couldn’t get him to break that mentality, to just defend himself a little better than that. He took such a beating in a lot of his fights."
Ken Shamrock on training with Oleg for UFC 6.

"Yeah. We trained everyday. I liked Oleg. Oleg was cool, he was fun. He had a lot of skill. Thank God I was a lot stronger than Oleg so he never submitted me, but he had a lot of technique."
— Scott Bessac

  • Always Someone Better: The only person he lost to twice was Dan Severn.
  • The Apprentice: To Vitaly Karlovich Mikhailov in sambo and judo.
  • Badass Family: His father Nikolai was a former soldier and boxer.
  • Badass Teacher: A master of sport in both sambo and Judo and was a special defense instructor in his army service. He also has several sambo instructional videos.
  • Combat Commentator: He tried at the M-1 - Russia vs. Europe event, but he was criticized for using too lengthy comments not related to the fights themselves and never did it again.
  • Determinator: He had a lot of heart and took a lot of punishment in his most notable UFC fights. He also fought in UFC 5 with a knee injury.
    • While filming a scene in Predators he hit his face on a steadicam and was bleeding, but continued filming because the blood added to the effect of the scene.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Went to fight Renzo Gracie with a broken hand, which caused his defeat when the pain impeded him from locking a leglock.
  • Guest Fighter: Had only one match in Pancrase.
  • He Also Did: He wanted to be an actor since he was a kid, which was the real reason he came to the USA in the first place, he trained at the famous Playhouse West acting school for about 7 years along with competing in MMA. He has acted in films and television in Russia and America since 1997, most notably as Nikolai in Predators and even has voice acting to his name in Battlefield 3 as Dmitri "Dima" Mayakovsky.
  • Hidden Depths: Was a successful businessman in Russia from 1990 to 1994 and even ran his own company at the time.
  • Husky Russkie: The first Russian MMA fighter in the UFC and Pancrase.
  • I Know Sambo: A master of sport in sambo, along with a two-time world champion (possibly - there is controversy about the latter claim). Also a 3rd dan and master of sport in Judo and a black belt in Japanese jiu-jitsu, and added boxing later in his career and even faced Dolph Lundgren in a celebrity boxing match and won via split decision.
  • I Let You Win: Claims that he let his second fight with Marco Ruas to be a draw in order to secure a third fight, which never came to fruition. Whether he would have won the bout had he tried full force is another question.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: In Battlefield 3 as Dmitri "Dima" Mayakovsky.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He was known for using a variety of rarely seen, acrobatic sambo takedowns.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: He was not really known for his strength, but more for his grappling skills and how tough he was.
  • Nice Guy: Before his first UFC tournament, competitors were interviewed pulling macho faces and growling, whilst boasting how they were going to win the event and destroy their opponents. By contrast, Oleg coolly said he was from Gorky, Russia, and smiled an infectious smile at the cameras.
  • Nerves of Steel: Known for being exceptionally calm during fights.
  • Off Screen Moment Of Awesome: During his army service, he felt pains from his stomach and reported it to his superior who just brushed him off. Oleg then had the balls to go AWOL and look for a hospital. The doctor had to remove his appendix and said he would have been dead if he arrived 15 minutes later.
  • Red Baron: "The Russian Bear", "Senritsu no Sambo Tekunishan" ("Sambo Technician of Horror"), "The X-Factor" in his first appearance for the UFC.
  • Screwed by the Network:
    • He was going to debut in the very first UFC events, but Rorion Gracie deemed him "unfit" after he had Taktarov roll with him and Pedro Sauer. Art Davie would later find out that Rorion had rejected Oleg not for being too bad, but for being too good, and thus possibly dangerous for Royce Gracie.
    • He left UFC because, according to him, they didn't want to promote him for being a Russian and thus a bad guy for the audience.
  • Stone Wall: He was almost impossible to submit. Ken Shamrock of all people ditched trying to submit him and tried to knock him out instead. He failed which resulted in a draw. This strategy by Ken was mostly because they were friends and Ken didn't want to injure him because he wanted to eventually bring him to Pancrase, but this still speaks greatly of Oleg's toughness.
  • Training from Hell: When he first came to America he trained with Gene Lebell and Gokor Chivichyan. Later he trained at the Lion's Den with Ken Shamrock and only with Ken, they had battles behind closed doors and nobody was allowed to watch them.
  • The Worf Effect: Was defeated by knockout by Renzo Gracie with an upkick in just over a minute with no grappling action. He also knoucked out in Pride 1 by Gary Goodridge, though Oleg says he only lost because Gary was on steroids at the time.
  • Worthy Opponent: Marco Ruas.

Pete Williams

KEI Yamamiya

"He beat guys like, Denis Kang, Chris Lytle, Nate Marquardt, Chael Sonnen — he was always flying under the radar."

  • The Apprentice: To Masakatsu Funaki as part of Pancrase Tokyo Dojo, and Sanae Kikuta at Grabaka.
  • Cool Teacher: Head trainer of Shonan Spirits Sports Gym. He was also an instructor in Kickboxing, grappling, and MMA for Grabaka.
  • Cosplay: Likes to perform what he calls "puroresu cosplay" from time to time. In other words, he comes to the ring dressed as Tiger Mask, Mitsuharu Misawa and even Hard Gay, the latter under the name of "Razor Ramon KEI".
  • Fan Boy: Is a fan of Southern All Stars, a Japanese rock band and often uses Southern songs as entrance songs.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: A regional champion. He also trained in Kickboxing and joined the All Japan Kickboxing Federation, participated in K - 1 's Japanese warrior training project "K - 1 JAPAN TRYOUT" and passed the exam, and trained under Ernesto Hoost for Team Hoost.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: He keeps a cat he calls Michio and often appears on his blog.
  • Red Baron: "Grabaka no Moken" ("Grabaka's Savage Dog").
  • Spell My Name with an "S": He writes the first part of his ring name as "KEI" and not "Kei". His real name is Keiichiro, by the way.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Has wrestled for the All Japan Pro Wrestling.

    Debuted in The Alive Year (1997) 

Alex Andrade

"An early Ken Shamrock protege, Andrade was one of the first students to try out for the Lion's Dean and one of their early success stories, a mix of the forceful Shamrock grappling style and the kicking-focused striking game of recent team addition Maurice Smith, and in the world of mid-90s MMA that well-roundedness was a major benefit for a heavyweight fighter, leading to victories in both Pancrase and the World Pankration Championships and an invitation to UFC 26, where he would be betrayed...by his feet. Before the adoption of the unified rules of mixed martial arts in 2001 (or 2009, but that's a long story) the standards for what you could do and wear during a fight were only vaguely established. When Alex Andrade came to UFC 26 to fight Brazilian legend Amaury Bitetti, he wore wrestling shoes—legal at the time—and was warned by Big John Mc Carthy that he could wear the shoes, or he could throw kicks, but not both. Andrade dominated Bitetti, and was well on his way to victory, but he couldn't stop kicking him in the head—and after his third kick, Mc Carthy made good on his word and disqualified him. He would never be invited back to the UFC. He'd follow his mentor to Pride a year later, showing up at Pride 18 to challenge Murilo "Ninja" Rua, but lost a decision and not a particularly close one. That was the end of his prime—he retired from MMA, unable to justify the career. He'd be coaxed out of retirement in 2007 by the mainstream MMA boom, and actually put together a three-fight winning streak—and then, in the strangest rerun I've ever seen, got invited to a bigger show only to lose by DQ when he wouldn't stop kneeing Krzysztof Soszynski in the groin. Sometimes you can't stop. He'd show up for a couple fights in the just-started Bellator, back when it was a weekly show that only aired on ESPN's Spanish-language affiliate ESPN Deportes, but retired after one more regional fight—he was 35, his prime was over, and he was a realist about his prospects. He ended his career at a respectable 9-5, and even though he didn't notch any huge victories for himself, he helped train some of the future champions of the sport. There are far worse fates."
— A profile of Andrade from a Fire Pro Wrestling user Carl CX from https://steamcommunity.com

Omar Bouiche

"Many have said that Suzuki was on the decline when he met me. That talking didn't start until I beat him."

  • A Day in the Limelight: A win over a broken-down Minoru Suzuki and then beaten by Yoshiki Takahashi.
  • The Apprentice: Of Bas Rutten at the Beverly Hills Jiu-Jitsu Club. He also trained under Carlson Gracie, Marcus "Conan" and Marcelo Silveira, Erik Paulson, Bart Vale, Ken Shamrock, Nikolai Malmkvist, Paolo Roberto, Chago Rodriguez Segura, Paul Doumbia, Martin Lidberg, Keith Ronald Kernspecht, and Emin Koztepe.
  • Cool Teacher: Started his own Pancrase affiliated gym in Stockholm, Sweden. He also once ran a Wing Chun club with Patrik Gavelin.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Retired from fighting after a serious leg injury.
  • I Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: And also trained in boxing, Muay Thai, Judo, Taekwondo, Wing Chun, Greco-Roman wrestling, sambo, Filipino kali, shootfighting, and is a Stockholm Karate champion.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: He once beat a BJJ black belt in a grappling match in a tryout for Rickson Gracie's gym, for some reason he still didn't get selected, though Rickson did ask him if he wanted to set up a BJJ school in Sweden, to which Omar politely declined as he was more interested in shootfighting at the time.
  • Ur-Example: One of the first Swedish MMA fighters and brought shootfighting to Sweden with help from August Wallen.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With the aforementioned August Wallen as they got into a conflict about how to promote shootfighting in Sweden. They are now friends after a few years of bitter resentment.

Chris Chalmers

Haygar Chin

Brian Gassaway

Jason Godsey

Les Johnston

Kosei Kubota

Paul Lazenby

"In 1996, while still trying to find a way to reach the big time as a pro wrestler, I met an agent named Phyllis Lee at a show I was on in Detroit. She told me that she wasn’t booking wrestlers, but was looking for real fighters to compete in Pancrase. She was surprised that I’d even heard of the group, much less knew all the names of its fighters, and she asked if I had any interest in applying to fight there. I had always wanted to see Japan, it was a huge goal of mine, so I lied and told her that I had combat sports experience (I had absolutely none, not even a local martial arts tournament or high school wrestling meet). I filled up the application form she gave me with lies, not ever expecting that Pancrase would actually accept me, but a month later I got a call from Phyllis telling me to pack my bags."

John Lober

"He was known as John "The Machine" Lober because he had a reputation for being able to take a tremendous beating and just keep plowing forward like some kind of robot. He could keep going."
— Frank Shamrock

  • The Apprentice: To BJJ dirty dozen member, Ken Gabrielson.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: The head fighter of Team Machine.
  • Bald of Awesome
  • Bouncer: Was one before his fighting career.
  • Determinator: Grew up fighting as a kid to keep himself out of prison. His bout versus Ryushi Yangisawa resulted in his ankle being snapped from a toe hold applied too long. Lober doesn't react to the pain in any way, instead shooting a puzzled look at the referee. Ryushi is visibly shaken and apologizes tearfully to Lober and his corner-man, Frank Shamrock.
  • Guest Fighter
  • I Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: A black belt, he also trained in jeet kune do and boxing.
  • Red Baron: "The Machine".

Ikuhisa Minowa

"I'm normally Ikuhisa Minowa. When I get in the ring, I become closer to a super human."
— Minowaman to the Japanese press before his fight with Giant Silva.

"Fighting was the only true way to express myself, my spirit."
— Ikuhisa Minowa

  • '80s Hair: Grew his hair into a mullet in the prime of his career.
  • Arch-Enemy: Satoshi Hasegawa and Phil Baroni.
  • Ascended Fan Boy: A huge fan of Kinnikuman. He would randomly start talking about it in his interviews and based a lot of his personal style and training on it (which explains a lot really). He even got to wrestle against his hero at the Kinniku Mania 2009 live action show.
  • The Apprentice: To Masakatsu Funaki, Minoru Suzuki, Makoto Kato, Murilo Bustamante, and Satoru Sayama.
  • Bald of Awesome: In his rematch with Phil Baroni.
  • Blood Knight: Loves to fight and has been in over 100 MMA fights.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: On November 16, 2006, he gave lectures at Kanto Gakuin University and Kanazawa Hakkei Campus, where he gave lectures titled as "Real", "New", "Cutting Edge", "Superhuman", "Gene Complete Body", "Extraterrestrial Revolution", and "Heaven".
  • Cloudcuckoolander: His ways of training are creatively quirky to say the least. They include chasing airplanes, for instance.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: His signature colour is red.
  • Cool Teacher: He has his own gym, Kuma Gym.
  • David vs. Goliath: The guy just has a mad love for those matchups and won most of them.
  • Determinator: Suffered from asthma in childhood.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: First fought in the 1996 Lumax Cup in a losing effort against Yuzo Tateishi. He also was part of Ryuma Go’s Samurai Project dojo for a brief time in 1996 after he failed his first attempt at the Pancrase entrance exams.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Female boxer Chaoz Minowa is a big fan of his and uses the nickname Minowaman on her official blog. They just coincidently share the same surname.
  • I Know Judo: A 2nd dan black belt before his start in Pancrase. He later trained at Makoto Gym and the Pancrase Tokyo and Yokohama gyms during his time in Pancrase and later trained with Brazilian Top Team. He also trained in Seikendo and once did an exhibition bout with Sayama himself.
  • Insistent Terminology: His name is not Ikuhisa Minowa, but "Minowaman", and he is not a fighter, but a "real pro wrestler".
  • Jobber: Between 1996 to 1998.
  • Legacy Character: He is the fifth Tiger Mask.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: A short man at 5ft 9 and 91kg in his prime, who once threw the 350 pound giant Zuluzinho when he had his back.
  • Red Baron: "Sekai Saikyō Chōjin" ("World’s Strongest Superman"), "Honno no Real Puroresura" ("The Real Pro Wrestler of the Instict"), "The Punk". Brazilians also called him "Mystery of the Orient" when he fought a few fights in Brazil when training with Brazilian Top Team.
  • Religious Bruiser: Sort of, maybe, it’s hard to properly explain, but since 2005 he has proclaimed he is in pursuit of a never-ending "heaven". He says that there is a "Super Heaven" and an "Ultra Heaven". Interestingly he said that he had reached "Super Heaven" in his fight with Kazushi Sakuraba.
  • Screaming Warrior: Has a habit of shouting during his fights, even during the interval between rounds. He usually shouts out "Kinnikuman!", "Ore ga puroresurāda!" ("I'm a professional wrestler!"), or "Yōsorō!" (a Shout-Out to the song “Captain of the Ship” by Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi).
  • Took a Level in Badass: His early career in Pancrase from 1996 to 1998 was mostly filled with losses. He has improved greatly since then after getting personal training from Suzuki and Funaki.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Or rather on his back. His entrances feature him wearing the Japanese flag as a cape.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: He used things like dropkicks, spinebusters, piledrivers, Death Valley Drivers (or Bombs as the Japanese prefer) in his MMA fights.

David Moore

Gary Myers

Serge Narsisyan

Jagjit Singh

Joel Sutton

Tra Telligman

"His punch was powerful, of course, but more important than that, he never gave up and fought until the end with confidence that he would win."
— Guy Mezger

  • A Day in the Limelight: Was the SuperBrawl 1 Heavyweight Tournament winner.
  • Alliterative Name
  • The Apprentice: To Ken Shamrock as part of the Lion's Den.
  • Determinator: Had to be one to train under Ken Shamrock.
  • Handicapped Badass: He was in a car accident when he was only one and a half years old, and as a result, he is missing his right pectoral and also his right lung, leaving a deep recess in his chest. The accident also crushed his ribs and he has lived with the deformity ever since.
  • Hero Killer: Caused one the biggest upsets in the sport's history with a victory over Igor Vovchanchyn while filling in for Ken Shamrock who dropped out due to neck injuries.
  • I Know Karate: Began training when he was 8 years old and then began boxing until he was 15. He then began training in jiu-jitsu and participated in a full-contact Karate contest when he was in high school.
  • Red Baron: "Trauma".
  • Training from Hell: Went through one as expected of a Ken Shamrock / Lion's Den disciple.

Paul Varelans

"As far as we know, Paul Varelans is the only professional mixed martial artist to represent the art of trap fighting — whatever that is."
— Varelans' profile from the book; The MMA Encyclopedia.

    Debuted in The Advance Year (1998) 

Travis Fulton

  • The Apprentice: To Pat Miletich.
  • Blood Knight: He has been in more sanctioned MMA fights than any other fighter ever by a large margin with a total of 316 fights with 253 wins, 52 losses, 10 draws, and 1 no contest. He also has a professional boxing record of 62 matches with 22 wins, 39 losses and 1 draw.
  • Cool Old Guy: He is 40 years old now and still fighting.
  • Guest Fighter
  • I Know Karate: A 2nd dan black belt in American Kenpo Karate. He also competed in amateur wrestling and was a Golden Gloves and professional boxer.
  • Red Baron: "The Ironman".

Jeremy Horn

"Guys like Dana came in and took it further, but without guys like Jeremy Horn, this sport would have died a long, long time ago."
— Monte Cox

"Iowa sucks! That's why we keep training 10 hours a day - you can do nothing else!"
— Jeremy Horn

  • Always Someone Better: He is this to Chael Sonnen, who he beat 3 times.
  • The Apprentice: To Pat Miletich.
  • Badass Teacher: Has his own MMA team, Elite Performance.
  • Blood Knight: He has over 100 fights in MMA with 91 wins.
  • Bully Hunter: Fought bullies when he was in school.
  • Early-Bird Cameo / Guest Fighter: Had one match in Pancrase against KEI Yamamiya that ended in a draw before he went to RINGS.
  • Hero Killer: The only guy who beat Chuck Lidell by submission. He also beat guys like Daiju Takase, Gilbert Yvel, Chris Haseman, Vernon White (in his King of the Cage period), Forrest Griffin, Chael Sonnen, etc.
  • I Know Ninjutsu: A black belt in Robert Bussey's Warrior's International system and trained in MMA under Miletich Fighting Systems.
  • Red Baron: "Gumby", "Tetsujin" ("Iron Man").
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Tried a real diving chop on Randy Couture in their match in RINGS.

Daisuke Ishii

Justin McCully

Brian Rainey

John Renken

"Peaceful in a Violent Sort of Way."

  • The Apprentice: To Erik Paulson and Greg Nelson.
  • Badass Preacher: He is an ordained minister and founder of Xtreme Ministries.
  • Combat Referee: A licensed MMA referee.
  • Cool Teacher: Owner of Clarksville Mixed Martial Arts Academy and also created Global Combative Operations for civilian, law enforcement, and military self defense.
  • Genius Bruiser: Graduated from North Central University in 2000 with a degree in Bible and Theology.
  • Guest Fighter
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Was a former satanist, then he converted to Christianity.
  • I Know Muay Thai: As well as boxing, sambo, has a black belt in Judo and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He also trained in the Modern Army Combatives Program while he was in the army and Combat Submission Wrestling at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy.
  • Ranger: A former United States Army Ranger.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Was featured on the MMA documentary "Fight Church".
  • Red Baron: "The Saint", "The Fighting Preacher".

Tony Rojo

Adrian Serrano

Ryan Stout

Daisuke Watanabe

Kengo Watanabe

    Debuted in The Breakthrough Year (1999) 

John Alessio

"John Alessio is one of the longest-tenured gatekeepers in the sport. A career lightweight and welterweight, Alessio—a lifelong grappler and kickboxer who moved from Vancouver to San Jose as a teenager to pursue fighting—challenged for world titles in four separate eras of MMA. As a 20 year-old in the early era of the year 2000 he won the Super Brawl 16 tournament and challenged Pat Miletich for the UFC Welterweight Championship, in the middle of the mainstream MMA boom he fought Carlos Condit to crown the first Zuffa-era WEC Welterweight champion, and in the modern MMA era of 2010 he fought for the Tachi Palace Fights Welterweight Championship. Between these, he fought for the KOTC title, entered himself in the Dream Welterweight Grand Prix, joined a Bellator's lightweight tournament and had fights against stars like Egan Inoue, Diego Sanchez, Paul Daley and Will Brooks. The like factor in all of this is, of course, that he lost...most of those. He got armbarred by Miletich, choked out by Condit, knocked out by Daley and lost decisions to most of the other top fighters he faced. And this is exactly how the gatekeeper phenomenon becomes a thing. Alessio's career was nearly twenty years long and deeply accomplished: He won three championships, he was the youngest UFC title contender ever, he picked up scores of wins against tough fighters like Eiji Mitsuoka, Chris Brennan and Luigi Fioravanti, he fought across Pancrase, the UFC, the WEC, KOTC, Bellator, Pride and Dream, he was at one point #5 in the world at welterweight. He fought in the UFC in three separate decades. He's one of the most-traveled fighters the sport has seen, and to stay at ALL relevant across a career as storied as his is an insane accomplishment. And yet you can still simplify him down to "gatekeeper," and you wouldn't be wrong. Combat sports are cruel that way. He was still a bad dude. And he choked out War Machine, so all the power in the world to him."
— A profile of A'essio from a Fire Pro Wrestling user Carl CX from https://steamcommunity.com

Leslie Allen

Lane Andrews Jr

Ebenezer Fontes Braga

"Ebenezer Fontes Braga, Luta Livre's representative at the Pride 2000 GP, the man who was nicknamed Pitbull before literally everyone else in MMA decided it was a good idea."
— A profile of Braga from a Fire Pro Wrestling user Carl CX from https://steamcommunity.com

  • The Apprentice: To Joao Ricardo, Marco Ruas, Carlos Gracie Jr, and Roberto “Gordo” Correa.
  • Guest Fighter: Had one match in Pancrase against Masakatsu Funaki. He also appeared at a Seikendo event.
  • I Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Trained with Gracie Barra, but is more well known as a Luta Livre fighter who trained at the Budokan Luta Livre gym and Ruas Vale Tudo. He also trained in Muay Thai.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Is said to have good skill in all the fields of fighting, though was not skilled enough to be a top fighter.
  • Nerves of Steel: Is noted to always be calm in fights.
  • Red Baron: "Pitbull", "Burajiru no Ningen Kyōki" ("Brazilian Human Weapon").

Shonie Carter

  • Bald of Awesome
  • Bouncer: He is a bartender and bouncer at the Mexican restaurant Fiesta Cantina in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois.
  • Combat Referee: On May 16, 2008, he served as an impromptu guest referee for a notorious bout at a Legends of Fighting event that resulted in a double-knockout.
  • Cool Teacher: Teaches at the Honbu Dojo Shidokan USA and is a personal trainer at the LA Fitness Gym's Ravenswood location.
  • Costume Porn: Was known for his flashy outfits in his entrances.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": His real name is Mearion Shonie Bickhem III.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Well known for his use of the spinning backfist in competition.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Took part in a "bare knuckle" (in actuality fighters hands were wrapped) boxing event for Bare Knuckle Boxing in England on April 22, 2017.
  • Guest Fighter
  • I Know Karate: A Shidokan black belt and international champion. He trained in Kickboxing at the Aiki Training Hall and is a Illinois State and North Carolina State Kickboxing champion. He is a black belt and champion in Judo and Japanese jujitsu, he also trained in Chinese Sanshou, amateur and Catch Wrestling. He also trained for MMA at the Iron Academy.
  • Red Baron: "Mr International", "The Hurricane".
  • Scary Black Man
  • Semper Fi: Served for six years in the United States Marine Corps.
  • Trash Talk: Had a outlandish personality and a colorful vocabulary.

John Cronk

  • Bald of Awesome
  • Cool Teacher: He has his own MMA school, Warrior Dojo.
  • Guest Fighter: Had only one fight in Pancrase in a Pankration Rules fight against Kazuo Takahashi.
  • I Know Karate: A Shotokan black belt, he trained in Muay Thai and was a middleweight champion, as well as Judo. He also trained for MMA at Ground Zero MMA.
  • Red Baron: "The Terminator", "The Annihilator", "Bad Boy".

Eric Gedek

Tae Yoon Han

Victor Hunsaker

Shinji Katase

Chris Lytle

  • The Apprentice: To Frank Benn, Pat Mc Pherson and Keith Palmer.
  • Cool Teacher: He helps coach wrestling at New Palestine High School. He also teaches MMA at Integrated Fighting Academy.
  • Firemen Are Hot: A full-time firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Came out of retirement to fight in Bare Knuckle FC 2 on August 25th 2018.
  • Guest Fighter
  • Hidden Depths: Founded the Chris Lytle Foundation, that fights for awareness of autism, suicide, bullying, domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: He was an active member of the wrestling team at Southport High School finishing 4th at the Indiana State Wrestling Finals in his junior year and 2nd place his senior year. He also trained in boxing and was an Indiana Boxing Association Light Heavyweight champion as well as tang soo do and was an Indiana State tang soo do champion. He attended single-discipline gyms rather than MMA camps when he first started his MMA career but later trained for MMA at Ring Sports/Palmers Gym, and Integrated Fighting Academy.
  • Red Baron: "Lights Out".

Nate Marquardt

Eddy Millis

Yuichi Miyazaki

Hiroshi Ota

  • The Apprentice: To Hiroyuki Abe.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai RJW, Hiroyuki Abe's Wajutsu Keishukai affiliated gym.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: An All-Japan Greco-Roman and Freestyle Champion. He also trained in combat wrestling and trained for MMA at Wajutsu Keishukai RJW.

Tony Petarra

Akira Shoji

"What do you say now, Gracies? Who said the Japanese were the weakest?"

  • The Apprentice: To Yoshinori Nishi and Matt Hume.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: Was in charge of the Smash promotion’s MMA division.
  • Challenge Seeker: Faced whoever PRIDE wanted to throw at him and actually had the most fights in PRIDE.
  • Combat Referee: Has referee for DREAM and DEEP.
  • Cool Teacher: Has his own MMA dojo.
  • Death Seeker: Not straight, according to fight commentator Stephen Quadros and John Hyams, director of the documentary "The Smashing Machine", Shoji cleaned his house and prepared his will before every competition in case he is killed during the fight.
  • Determinator: Was renowned for his never-say-die attitude in the ring and his relentless fighting spirit.
  • Escape Artist: A stellar submission escapist, the only person to have ever tapped him out was Fabrício Werdum at ADCC 2003, Dean Lister and Kazuo Misaki also caught him in submissions in their MMA bouts against him, but he refused to tap out to either of them and lost by technical submission.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His draw with Renzo Gracie at PRIDE 1.
  • Genre Savvy: Though not enough to actually win against him, he knew the strengths of Igor Vovchanchyn, Shoji played conservatively and avoided the KO for a decision loss.
  • Guest Fighter: From PRIDE.
  • He Also Did: Was also a judge for DREAM and DEEP.
  • Hero Killer: Worfed Wallid Ismail by TKO at PRIDE 4. He also has a split decision win against Guy Mezger, though not without controversy.
  • Hidden Depths: Owns 2 ramen restaurants, one is named Tsukemen Ebisuko.
  • I Know Judo: Was A national-ranked judoka since high school and was schoolmates with Kazunari Murakami. He later trained at Wajutsu Keisukai for MMA and was part of their Brightness team and even went to the USA to train briefly at AMC Pankration.
  • Red Baron: "Mr. Pride", "Saigo no Nippondanji" ("The Last Japanese"), "Nihon Jūjutsu-kai no Arahōshi" ("The Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Warrior Monk").
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Has wrestled for Fighting Opera Hustle and Smash. He even originally wanted to be a pro wrestler before he became a MMA fighter and is said to have wrestled under a mask in 1995 for Tokyo Pro Wrestling at Masashi Aoyagi's suggestion.

Bob Stines Jr

  • The Apprentice: To Ernie Boggs and a lot of others.
  • Badass Family: His father was an amateur wrestler and jujitsu guy, while his grandfather was a boxer.
  • Cool Teacher: President and head coach of the American Sport Jujitsu League USA Team.
  • Guest Fighter
  • I Know Karate: Started with Shorin-ryu and is now a 5th dan black belt, he also learned Goju-ryu, Shotokan and Isshin-ryu with black belts in those as will. He learned American Combat/Sport Jiu-Jitsu at BCI Modern Day Warriors and is a 3rd dan black belt and won many national and world championships in the sport. He has black belts in several Japanese jujitsu styles, Judo, Taekwondo, and hapkido. He has also trained in Shaolin and Tiger-Crane Kung-Fu, amateur wrestling and boxing.
  • Start My Own: Founded his own jujitsu style, Sanshin-ryu Jujitsu and made himself its 10th dan grandmaster.

Genki Sudo

"Sudo reminds me of the token guy you’d always get in a Van Damme movie with a martial arts tournament, the little guy with the weird style."
—Scott Newman, The Oratory reviewer.

  • The Apprentice: Originally with Bas Rutten, who introduced him to Pancrase, later to Masakatsu Funaki and later again to Sanae Kikuta.
  • Catchphrase: "We are all one".
  • Cloudcuckoolander
  • Confusion Fu: His fighting style included robot dances, giving the back to his opponent and performing flying holds. That said, he was also one of the few Confusion Fu guys from Japan who could hold his own comfortably without the Confusion part.
  • Costume Porn: His entrances are worth to see.
  • Cool Teacher: Is a coach for the Takushoku University Wrestling Department.
  • Four-Man Band: One of the four founders of Grabaka.
  • I Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Trained it before his start in Pancrase, which gave him an additional advantage over his pals and is now a black belt. He also knew Greco-Roman wrestling and won the All Japan Junior Olympics and the World Junior Championship.
  • Red Baron: "The Neo-Samurai", "Transforming Trickster".
  • Renaissance Man: Has competed in MMA and Kickboxing, writes philosophy essays, draws calligraphy, is a sommelier, scuba diving, plays in a music band, owns an amateur baseball team and acts in films, among other curiosities.

Daiju Takase

"It's very little because Anderson is very good, but, Takase, hey, don’t count anybody out."
Bas Rutten, replying to Stephen Quadros on Takase's chances for victory against Anderson Silva.

  • Adorkable: He stuttered and got flustered on the mic after his victory over Anderson Silva, causing his Yoshida Dojo cornermen laugh at him.
  • The Apprentice: To Yoshinori Nishi.
  • Boring, but Practical: Typically employs an unaggressive, cerebral fighting style which has been called off. He has tried to compensate it by mimicking Sakuraba at times, with mixed results.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai, Yoshinori Nishi's Daido-juku Kudo dojo turned MMA gym. It should be noted that Yoshinori did compete in RINGS as noted in the RINGS section of this page, competed in the first Vale Tudo Japan event created by Satoru Sayama and worked a MMA exhibition match with Sayama in 1995 Lumax Cup which Yoshinori was the promoter.
  • Cool Teacher: Teaches MMA at Johan Vos Gym Tokyo.
  • David vs. Goliath: Against the 600-pound Emmanuel Yarborough, he won by striking Emmanuel into submission.
  • The Dreaded: He is apparently the Japanese version of Rickson Gracie, feared in every gym he goes. Ironically, his master Yoshinori Nishi actually faced and lost against Rickson in the first Vale Tudo Japan event. To add to the irony, Nishi's Judo master was Masahiko Kimura, who beat Rickson's dad, Helio.
  • Flat Character: Stylistically speaking, Takase can pass as quite unremarkable on the ring, being a relatively strategic, Jack-of-All-Stats submission guy without even a meaningful background or lineage. Even his most spontaneous Sakuraba impersonations are often too much half-hearted to be flashy.
  • Homage: Adopted Sakuraba's cartwheel guard pass and Mongolian chops, and even wore similar orange tights. It borders stalking.
  • I Know Karate: Trained at the Daidōjuku-based Wajutsu Keishukai and also has training in boxing and Kickboxing. He also trained for MMA at Yoshida Dojo and Grabaka.
  • Informed Ability: Josh Barnett, Ryan Bow and other sources have spoken of him as one of the best Japanese grapplers ever, to the point of being feared in the gyms in all Japan and having supposedly tapped out people you would never believe. However, although he has done some impressive grappling feats (namely, pulling a decision win against grappling geek Carlos Newton and going to the judges against Rodrigo Gracie and Hayato Sakurai), otherwise he has no big accomplishments in this field, and his performance has been never stellar enough to qualify. It has been theorized that he might be the kind of fighter that is a badass in the gym but doesn't shine on the ring.
  • Murderous Thighs: Like Rumina Sato, Takase favours the inverted triangle choke, who he passed upon Shungo Oyama.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: He is a Christian.
  • Red Baron: "Newaza Artist", "The Grappler King from the Shadows", "The Spider Killer".
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He is mainly known in United States as "that Japanese guy who triangled Anderson Silva" or some variant.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": His blog spells his first name as Daijyu.
  • Underdogs Always Win: Before the Silva match, both PRIDE commentators Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadros labelled Takase as sadly impossible to win against the skilled Silva. Then the match came...
  • The Un-Favourite: He is impopular among Japanese MMA pundits for his usually unspirited performances, he even published a book titled 'Kirawaremono' or 'Why I'm Hated by Them'. On the other hand, his blog is amazingly popular and is nicknamed "Blog King Takase" and "The Charisma Blogger".
  • Unknown Rival: One towards Hayato Sakurai.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Inverted. For some reason, Takase likes to compete with a T-shirt on if the ruleset allows it. He even fought at the UFC Japan wearing one.

Susumu Yamasaki

    Debuted in The Trans Year (2000) 

Murilo Bustamante

"Bustamante was one of the pioneers of modern MMA—he was training BJJ in the mid-seventies, boxing in the early eighties and had his first MMA fight in 1991. As a representative of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Bustamante was a central figure in the BJJ vs Luta Livre feud that inadvertently created modern mixed martial arts. The two schools had fought numerous times in the streets, and a not-entirely-legal fight card was born out of it: The Jiu-Jitsu vs Luta Livre Challenge, where masters of each would face off to defend their art. Only three of the fights wound up taking place, and the BJJ fighters won all of them—though not iwthout controversy, as two of the stoppages had Luta Livre's adherents crying favoritism. Murilo Bustamante's victory was the only one that couldn't be denied: He so thoroughly beat on Marcelo Mendes that Mendes left the ring and refused to return. It was the start of a fantastic career—one Bustamante wouldn't return to for half a decade. Bustamante didn't truly start fighting until he had already turned 30, which made his success all the more notable—combat being, traditionally, a young man's sport. He swept his way to the UFC—aside from a hard-fought decision loss to Chuck Liddell—won its middleweight championship and became the first man to defend it, defeating Matt Lindland in a match he infamously had to win twice when Lindland denied tapping out to an armbar in the first round. Incensed at the disrespect, and the general chaos within the UFC as it transitioned to new management, Bustamante vacated his belt, went overseas, and signed with Pride. His debut came sooner than expected. Initially meant to fight later in the year, Bustamante's teammate Ricardo Arona fell injured before his Middleweight GP match with Quinton Jackson—so Bustamante stepped up, on five days' notice, to face one of the top light-heavyweights in the world. As a testament to his toughness, Bustamante took him to a split decision. It was the first of a three-loss streak for Murilo, and the deciding factor in his dropping down to the newly-opened Pride Welterweight division—which was equivalent ot the UFC's middleweight division, so it was more like returning to where he'd been successful in the first place—and he ran the table, taking three dominant victories and making it to the finals of the tournament with Dan Henderson. The resulting fight is still controversial. Most felt Bustamante deserved the decision, and the Welterweight title with it, but Henderson controlled the position grappling—and was the more marketable fighter—and got the nod. (There's a reason Pride fans called him Decision Dan.) It was the end of Bustamante's time as a top fighter—which is not particularly surprising, as he turned 40 the following year. He'd fight a few more times before going into semi-retirement, and two fights after that, permanent retirement."
— A profile of Bustamante from a Fire Pro Wrestling user Carl CX from https://steamcommunity.com

John Chrisostomo

Sean Daugherty

  • Affectionate Nickname: "Doc".
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Was 18 when he fought in UFC 2 and was the youngest member of the Lion's Den.
  • Cool Teacher: The head instructor of The Barn Of Truth Dojo and a Catch Wrestling coach for Snake Pit U.S.A. Catch Wrestling Association. He was also a Hand to Hand Combat instructor to Special Operation Forces: USAF Pararescue/Combat Controllers, Army Combative Instructors and U.S. Army Green Berets.
  • Determinator: Had to be one to train under Ken Shamrock.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Fought in UFC 2 losing to Scott Morris.
  • I Know Kickboxing: Was an Indiana State and West Virginia kickboxing champion before he started MMA. He is also a black belt in Moo Duk Kwan, a 4th dan in Shingitai Jujitsu and a black belt in Judo under John Saylor who also trained him in sambo and Catch Wrestling.
  • Jobber
  • Training from Hell: Went through one as expected of a Ken Shamrock / Lion's Den disciple.
  • Ur-Example: Fought in the first UFC match where Big John McCarthy refereed and said, the very first "LETS GET IT ON".

Motoki Hattori

Takaichi Hirayama

  • The Apprentice: To Yoshinori Nishi.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai, Yoshinori Nishi's Daido-juku Kudo dojo turned MMA gym.
  • I Know Karate: A Kyokushin practitioner, he also trained in Judo. He trained for MMA at Wajutsu Keishukai.
  • Jobber

Yuji Hisamatsu

"Here's The Pink Typhoon, Yuji Hisamatsu, who came to the ring in a pink gi, fought in pink trunks and/or leggings, and proudly wore the slogan "NO PINK, NO LIFE" on the back of his tights. I still have no idea why. Hisamatsu got a relatively late start in the sport—a student of the Wajyutsu Keishukai, he turned 30 just one year and six fights into a thirteen-year, 44-fight career—and got off to a reasonable start, losing his first two Pancrase appearances before winning the one-night Titan Fighting Championship tournament, TK Oing a baby Hideo Tokoro in the process. He was a strong presence in GCM, and got invited up to Pride for Pride: The Best Vol. 3, where he took a strong decision over Canadian middleweight Demetrius Gioulacos, giving him the most visible win of his career. And that was...actually kind of it for success in his career. In those first two and a half years of his time in fighting he went 9-5; in the remaining eleven years, he went 7-17-6 and never won two fights back-to-back again. He was prolific as hell, with 2007 being the only year he didn't fight multiple times, and more importantly he was -tough- as hell, going the distance with fighters like Kondo, Kawamura, Chonan, Misaki and Marquardt. His striking was aggressive and creative, his grappling was defensively solid—but he just couldn't get over the hump, particularly as he approached and eventually passed 40 and his athleticism began to fail him. In the last three years of his career he went 2-8-2, retiring on a decision victory over fellow longtime Pancrase vet Keiichiro Yamamiya and a lifetime supply of deep-pink fighting attire. I still don't know where the "Typhoon" part of the pinkness came from, but he took a Nate Marquardt punch to the face and didn't die, so he can call himself whatever he wants."
— A profile of Hisamatsu from a Fire Pro Wrestling user Carl CX from https://steamcommunity.com

  • The Apprentice: To Yoshinori Nishi.
  • Badass Teacher: Founded and is the head instructor of Wajutsu Keishukai Yokohama aka Wajyutsu Keisyukai Tiger Place.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai, Yoshinori Nishi's Daido-juku Kudo dojo turned MMA gym.
  • I Know Judo: A 4th dan black belt, he is also a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is a 1999 All Japan Brazilian jiu jitsu open tournament blue belt meio pesado class champion. He trained for MMA at Wajutsu Keishukai.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Regularly fought in pink trunks and/or leggings.
  • Red Baron: "The Pink Typhoon".

Yūji Hoshino

  • The Apprentice: To Hiroyuki Abe and Taiyo Nakahara.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai RJW, Hiroyuki Abe's Wajutsu Keishukai affiliated gym.
  • I Know Karate: A Shotokan black belt and also trained in amateur wrestling where in high school in 1992 and 1993, he took second place at All Japan High School Greco-Roman Wrestling championship at the 69kg class tournaments and in college in 1994 and 1995 took third place at the All Japan College Freestyle Wrestling Championship at the 69kg class tournaments. He trained for MMA at Wajutsu Keishukai RJW and GODS.
  • Promoted Fan Boy: Was a Satoru Sayama fan growing up.

Johnny Huskey

"I think Johnny Huskey is the best. No doubt about it, I've seen a lot of wrestlers. Now you see I was dormant for about 25 years until Johnny Huskey picked me up about 5 years ago on the internet. He contacted me and got me back into wrestling. Of course he knew pretty good wrestling but I showed him quite a few things that he didn't know, that he was impressed with, that is how we got our relationship going. Johnny is superior in any phase of submission wrestling I've ever seen."
— Billy Wicks

Daisuke Igarashi

  • The Apprentice: To Hiroyuki Abe.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai RJW, Hiroyuki Abe's Wajutsu Keishukai affiliated gym.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: An 1993 high school and 1996 college All Japan freestyle competitor, he also trained in combat wrestling. He trained for MMA at Wajutsu Keishukai RJW.
  • Jobber

Eiji Ishikawa

Yukihiro Kanazawa

  • The Apprentice: To Yoshinori Nishi.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai, Yoshinori Nishi's Daido-juku Kudo dojo turned MMA gym.
  • I Know Judo: A 3rd dan black belt, he also trained in boxing. He trained for MMA at Wajutsu Keishukai.
  • Jobber

Denis Kang

Makoto Kato

Naohisa Kawamura

  • The Apprentice: To Hidetaka Aso.
  • Canon Immigrant / Guest Fighter
  • I Know Judo: A 2nd dan black belt, he is also a 2nd dan black belt and a 1998 national middleweight champion in sport jiu-jitsu and a 1st dan black belt and a 1998 open weight champion in Submission Arts Wrestling and trained at the S.A.W. Hombu dojo.
  • Jobber

Yoshinori Kawasaki

  • The Apprentice: To Hiroyuki Abe.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai RJW, Hiroyuki Abe's Wajutsu Keishukai affiliated gym.
  • I Know Judo: A 2nd dan black belt, he also trained in freestyle wrestling and is a 1995 and 1996 East Japan College Freestyle Wrestling Champion. He trained for MMA at Wajutsu Keishukai RJW.
  • Jobber

Kazuhito Kikuchi

Satoru Kitaoka

  • The Apprentice: To both Masakatsu Funaki, Minoru Suzuki and Yuki Nakai.
  • Ascended Fan Boy: Committed himself to martial arts after seeing the second fight between Masakatsu Funaki and Bas Rutten.
  • Canon Immigrant: Trained at the Shooto-affiliated Paraestra Tokyo Gym before his debut in Pancrase.
  • Cool Teacher: Is now the head trainer of PANCRASEism Yokohama.
  • Four Is Death: Was part of the Sengoku Raiden Championships top fighters coined as "S4" along with Eiji Mitsuoka, Kazunori Yokota, and Mizuto Hirota.
  • I Know Judo: A black belt in this and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the latter received under Yuki Nakai. He also knows shoot and Catch Wrestling, and was also the 80kg class champion at the 14th All Japan Combat Wrestling Championships in 2008.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: Started training martial arts because he suffered bullying as a child.
  • Red Baron: "Ai Senshi" ("Soldier of Sorrow"), "Shimewaza Kuma Shogun" ("The Shogun Bear of Chokes"), "Ism no Zunō" ("The Brain of Ism"), "Kimo Tsuyo" ("Liver Strength"), "Byōsatsu Newaza-ō" ("The Newaza King of Instant Finishes"). In English, "The Catch Wrestling Koala Bear".
  • Red Is Heroic: Is famous for wearing ample red pants in the ring.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Founded Nippon Top Team with Shinya Aoki and Masazaku Imanari.

Masaya Kojima

  • The Apprentice: To Yoshinori Nishi.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai, Yoshinori Nishi's Daido-juku Kudo dojo turned MMA gym.
  • I Know Karate: Trained at the Daidōjuku-based Wajutsu Keishukai.
  • Jobber

Michael Sa Jin Kwok

Matt Sung Lee

  • The Apprentice: To Keith Rockel and Pat Barbieri.
  • Cool Teacher: Has his own gym, The Factory - Matt Lee's Fighting and Functional Fitness.
  • Guest Fighter: Had only one fight in Pancrase.
  • I Know Taekwondo: A black belt and was a 1996 U.S. Cup Tae Kwon Do Championship middleweight champion. He has black belts in hapkido and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He also trained for MMA with Team Elite.

Ichio Matsubara

Hiroo Matsunaga

  • The Apprentice: To Masakatsu Funaki as a part of the Pancrase Tokyo Dojo and later Sanae Kikuta.
  • Four-Man Band: One of the four founders of Grabaka.
  • Jobber: Debuted in January 23rd, 2000 to a draw with Ichio Matsubara. His last fight was a loss to Katsuomi Inagaki in February 2000 and never fought again, his fighting career spanning a total of two months.
  • Ur-Example: One of the first GRABAKA trainees under Sanae Kikuta.

Sen Nakadai

Yohei Ota

  • The Apprentice: To Yoshinori Nishi and later to Hidetaka Monma.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai, Yoshinori Nishi's Daido-juku Kudo dojo turned MMA gym.
  • I Know Judo: He also trained for MMA at Wajutsu Keishukai A-3 and Brightness Monma Dojo and was the 1st amateur Pancrase open tournament under 80kg class champion in 1999.

Craig Oxley

  • The Apprentice: To Ernie Boggs.
  • Guest Fighter
  • I Know Karate: A 3rd dan black belt in Shotokan and a 7 time West Virginia State Karate champion. He is also trained at BCI Modern Day Warriors and is a 3rd dan black belt in sport jiu-jitsu and 5 time U.S. Sport jiu-jitsu champion. He also competed in Kickboxing and boxing.
  • Jobber

Tony Ross

Hikaru Sato

Mitsuyoshi Sato

  • The Apprentice: To Sanae Kikuta.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: A 1995 Kanto champion and placed 4th in the 1999 All Japan College Freestyle Wrestling Championships, he also trained in combat wrestling and was a 1999 and 2000 All Japan combat wrestling champion. He trained for MMA with GRABAKA.

Shinya Sato

Hiroshi Shibata

  • The Apprentice: To Hiroyuki Abe.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai RJW, Hiroyuki Abe's Wajutsu Keishukai affiliated gym.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: Was a 1995 All Japan College Freestyle Wrestling 74kg Champion. He trained for MMA at Wajutsu Keishukai RJW.
  • Jobber

Tomoya Takaesu

Dan Theodore

"Shoot for your dreams and you will be true to yourself."

  • Combat Commentator: Is now an English commentator for Pancrase shows.
  • Cool Teacher: Is now a MMA instructor.
  • Firemen Are Hot: Was once a Volunteer Fireman in Bentendorf Iowa.
  • Guest Fighter
  • I Know Taekwondo: A black belt, he also trained in Judo, Muay Thai, boxing, jeet kune do, hapkido, sambo, Russian systema, savate, Wing Chun, a brown belt in Aikido, a 1st dan black belt in Daidojuku, a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and a brown belt in the Hayastan Grappling System.
  • Jobber
  • Promoted Fan Boy: During his freshman year of 1995 that he first watched a UFC tape hanging out with his buddies. They attacked each other at the end of the tape doing their best to improvise submission holds. Dan announced he would do that stuff someday and his friends laughed at him. He announced that he would get Dan Severn to teach him, and about a year later Severn called during his 20th Birthday party to ask him to come to Michigan to train with him.
  • Red Baron: "The Wolfman".
  • Stunt Double: Is a professional stunt double and once doubled for Sylvester Stallone.

Masutatsu Yano

  • The Apprentice: To Hiroyuki Abe.
  • Canon Immigrant: Though a recurrent Pancrase fighter, he is not from the U-system, but Wajutsu Keishukai RJW, Hiroyuki Abe's Wajutsu Keishukai affiliated gym.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: A 1997 All Japan College Champion. He trained for MMA at Wajutsu Keishukai RJW.
  • Jobber

    Debuted in The Proof Year (2001) 

Kenji Akiyama

Ryo Chonan

"That was beautiful. You can only see that in demonstrations — this guy just did it for real."
Bas Rutten on the Ryo's Flying Scissors Heel Hook.

  • The Apprentice: To Kiyoshi Tamura and Makoto Ohe.
  • Ascended Fan Boy: Was a RINGS fan before he got into MMA.
  • Badass Biker: Has a license and once dreamed of being a motorcycle mechanic.
  • Canon Immigrant / Guest Fighter: Made his MMA debut in Pancrase, but fought there only once representing Kiyoshi Tamura‘s U-FILE Camp.
  • Cool Teacher: Founded and is the head trainer of Tribe Tokyo MMA.
  • Delinquent Hair: Dyed his hair bleach blond at certain times in his career.
  • Dummied Out: Never appeared in RINGS.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Was primarily a striker with his martial arts background in Kyokushin and Muay Thai, while his grappling was described as scrappy, almost improvisational, and only used when necessary, usually for defensive purposes. Which is why his submission win with such a rare submission to boot over Anderson Silva surprised everyone.
  • Hero Killer: Has beaten guys like Hayato Sakurai, Carlos Newton and most notably Anderson Silva by Flying Scissor Heel Hook in the 3rd round.
  • Hidden Depths: Was a carpenter in the early days of his pro fighting career.
  • I Know Karate: Trained in Kyokushin in high school before moving to Thailand to learn Muay Thai. He also trained for MMA at U-FILE Camp and later with CMA's Team M.A.D.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: Apparently went hunting with Dan Henderson.
  • Odd Friendship: With Dan Henderson. They are apparently hunting buddies and Ryo even joined Henderson's Team Quest for a while.
  • Red Baron: "Satsuriku Pirania" ("Slaughter Piranha"), "The Shark".
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Like Daiju Takase, he is mainly known in United States as "that Japanese guy who Flying Scissors Heel Hooked Anderson Silva" or some variant.
  • Surprisingly Good English: One of the few Japanese fighters that doesn't need a translator.
  • Start My Own: Founded his own regional MMA promotion, Tribe Tokyo Fight.
  • Underdogs Always Win: While not as bad as Daiju Takase, before the Silva match, both PRIDE commentators Bas Rutten and Mauro Ranallo labelled Chonan as having little chance to win against the skilled Silva. Then the match came... where Ryo did surprisingly well against Silva in both stand up and the ground, with both commentators believing that Ryo was actually outscoring Silva in the first 2 rounds before finishing Silva with the Flying Scissors Heel Hook in the 3rd round. He does admit that if they fought again, Silva would kill him.

Marcelo Dantas

"It really doesn’t matter if it’s Tom Erikson or Mark Kerr, they’ll have to kill me to beat and to kill me they’ll have to exchange blows."

  • The Ace: Aside from disqualification losses, he has never lost a vale tudo or MMA fight.
  • The Apprentice: To Ze Arnaldo, Banni Cavalcante, Carlos Gracie.
  • Badass Family: His son, Marcelo Dantas Jr (aka "Marcelinho" or Marcelo Tigre Jr) is also a MMA fighter.
  • Blood Knight: Once stated he would fight for free if he got to fight in the UFC or Pride.
  • Blood Lust: Was known for licking his own blood during the matches. Not only that, but he supposedly drank bull's blood before the matches, being that the secret of his strength according to him.
  • Bouncer: Was one with Marcio Buda at a nightclub in Natal.
  • Cool Teacher: Has his own gym, Marcelo Tigre Fight Club.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Was born into poverty, lived in a shack, was pressured by his relatives into almost killing a guy who tried to claim that Marcelo stole money from him, had to fight a dog for food in his girlfriend's backyard, and a lot more stuff like that.
  • Determinator: His toughness is legendary.
  • Guest Fighter: Appeared at only one Pancrase show.
  • I Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: As well as boxing and Muay Thai.
  • Instant Expert: Won his first vale tudo fight after only 6 months of training.
  • Overly Long Name: His full name is Marcelo Alves Eneas Dantas. Which is why he is better known as Marcelo Tigre.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Was also famous for offering his opponents free leg kicks.
  • Rags to Riches: Was in poverty for most of his life before his fighting career.
  • Red Baron: "Tigre".
  • Screwed by the Network: Was banned from Pancrase after his disqualification loss by eye gouge to Kazuo Takahashi, Marcelo claims he did it accidentally and that the Pancrase management used that to make sure he wouldn't win and banned him because he was too good.

Naoki Deguchi

Paulo Filho

"I’d rather lose a fight than not go because I thought I could lose. I’d rather actually lose than be a coward. I’d rather sleep knowing that I got beat up than realizing I chickened out with the possibility of losing."

  • The Apprentice: To Carlson Gracie, Carlos Barrett, and Murilo Bustamante.
  • Broken Ace: Was one of Carlson Gracie's best students and had a 16 win streak when he first started MMA and has never lost by KO or submission. He then struggled with substance abuse and depression which affected his fighting, his health, and he became somewhat infamous for pulling out of bouts at the last minute. He retired from MMA in 2014, regretting that he was so far from where he could have been in MMA.
  • Cool Teacher: Is now a BJJ instructor.
  • Guest Fighter: Had only one fight in Pancrase.
  • I Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: A black belt and a world champion, he also has a black belt in Judo and trained for it at Clube de Regatas Flamengo.
  • Overly Long Name: His full name is Paulo Fernando de Souza Leite Filho.
  • Pet the Dog: Is a pitbull lover and has pitbull tattoo on his shoulder in honour of his first pitbull that died in 1994 (strangely the dog’s name was Hitler). He also opened a pit bull kennel, housing as many as 40 dogs in a 5000sq meter area in Minas Gerais.
  • Red Baron: "Paulão", "Ely", "BTT Bakugeki-ki" ("BTT’s Bomber"), "Rio no Ningen Bakugeki-ki" ("Rio’s Human Bomber").

Mick Green

Hideaki Iwasaki

Hitoyo Kimura

Kazuo Misaki

"Kazuo Misaki, like so many of his peers, was a high school judoka. What stated as a personal desire to dabble in kickboxing became a fully-grown interest in mixed martial arts thanks to the legendary Sanae Kikuta, who recruited him into his equally legendary Grabaka team, a stable that included luminiaries like Akihiro Gono, Eiji Ishikawa and Riki Fukuda. Misaki made his debut in Pancrase in 2001 as a 25 year-old with puffy blonde hair and a laser-accurate right hand. The 80s hair would be gone by his next fight, but the right hand would serve him well for the remainder of his career."
— A profile of Misaki from a Fire Pro Wrestling user Carl CX from https://steamcommunity.com

  • The Apprentice: To Sanae Kikuta.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: Formed his own MMA team; Haleo Top Team, after he left GRABAKA.
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: While a good fighter, he never held a MMA championship belt in his career. He was a contender in almost every promotion he fought in, but always came short in championship bouts. His only major accomplishment was winning the 2006 PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix and while he did well by eliminating Phil Baroni and Dan Henderson, avenging an earlier loss to the later outside the tournament, he was eliminated by Paulo Filho. He was only able to continue in the tournament because Filho suffered a knee injury and pulled out and it is said that Pride paid tournament alternative Gegard Mousasi to pull out as well to let Misaki continue and finally took a split decision win over Denis Kang to win the tournament.
  • I Know Judo: Trained since middle school and is a 3rd dan black belt, he also trained in Kickboxing at Katori Dojo. He later trained for MMA with GRABAKA.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: He was a remarkably well-rounded fighter in an age where most of his peers were still single-art marvels, and was a tactical, thoughtful fighter.
  • Red Baron: "GRABAKA no Hittoman" ("The GRABAKA Hitman").
  • Surfer Dude: His hobby outside of fighting.

Junya Miyakawa

Hiroki Nagaoka

Koji Oishi

Seiki Ryo

Sean Sherk

"If I could fight forever, I would."

Alex Stiebling

"Stiebling was a student at Frank Benn's Integrated F Ighting Academy, one of the first American establishments to openly bill itself as a full mixed martial arts school, and as a standout at the regional HOO Kn SHOOT events he gathered the attention of major organizations, but his attempts at challenging them went poorly: He made one UFC appearance at UFC 28, where Matt Hughes' twin brother Mark wrestled him to a dominant decision loss, and followed it with a Pancrase appearance against top-ranked middleweight Sanae Kikuta, which ended in a no-contest after an accidental headbutt. By 2001 he was 6-1-1-1, had been bounced from two of the major MMA organizations on the planet, and was in need of something to put weight behind his name. And then he was invited to the International Vale Tudo Championship's one-night USA vs Brazil tournament. (Which, for some reason, was held in Venezuela.) It was a tough field, and oddly enough, Stievling was the only non-Brazilian fighter in the tournament itself—and he put on a clinic, stopping all four of his opponents in the first round. It was an incredible performance, and it won him international acclaim, an invitation to Pride—and his self-styled nickname, "The Brazilian Killa." It was one of MMA's first blatant marketing campaigns, and it worked like a charm. Pride's Brazilian contingent hated him, with fighters from feuding camps all able to unite in their joined desire to shut him up. He didn't make it easy on them: He knocked out Allan Goes and took a close decision from Wallid Ismail, becoming a bigger target with each victory, until at Pride 21 he met a young Chute Boxe prospect by the name of Anderson Silva. It's not much of a fight—Anderson hits him with a high kick, Stiebling takes him down, the ref stops the fight to check on a cut caused by the kick and doctors stop it within ninety seconds—but it ended Stiebling's stardom overnight. Brazil was avenged and Stiebling's mojo was gone, as he dropped his next three straight fights, ending in a return to Pride where he was blatantly screwed out of a decision against Akira Shoji. The message was clear: His time in the sun was over. And it was. He'd put together a few more wins in the regional circuit and became a standby of the early WEC, but the last half of his career was mostly a skid; before the Anderson fight he was 12-1-1-1, and he retired in 2009 at 19-11-1-1. Stiebling's real legacy in MMA isn't his fighting, it's his existence as one of the first successful examples of vaguely racist yet blatant self-marketing. Chael Sonnen and Conor Mcgregor owe him."
— A profile of Andrade from a Fire Pro Wrestling user Carl CX from https://steamcommunity.com

  • The Apprentice: To Frank Benn and Pat Mc Pherson.
  • Arch-Enemy / Hero Killer: To Brazilian fighters. It all started when he won the International Vale Tudo Championship's one-night USA vs Brazil tournament, which for some reason was held in Venezuela and he was the only non-Brazilian. Then he knocked out Allan Goes and took a close decision from Wallid Ismail in Pride which is how he got his nickname "The Brazilian Killa". Then he lose by doctor stoppage to a young Anderson Silva and lost his mojo.
  • Guest Fighter: Had only one fight in Pancrase.
  • I Know Muay Thai: Trained at the Muay Thai Institute of Kunponli and also trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He trained for MMA at Integrated Fighting Academy.
  • Red Baron: "The Brazilian Killa".
  • Use Your Head: Accidently headbutted Sanae Kikuta in their Pancrase fight, which ended in a no contest.

Mitsuhisa Sunabe

  • The Apprentice: To Minoru Suzuki.
  • Badass Teacher: Was the head trainer of Hybrid Wrestling Mugen, P's REAL Dojo and reversaL Gym OKINAWA CROSS×LINE.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: In high school. He trained at the Pancrase Yokohama Dojo and is a 1999 and 2000 amateur Pancrase open tournament -60kg champion.
  • Red Baron: "Pancrase Keiryō-Kyū no Paionia" ("Pancrase Lightweight Pioneer"), "Speed Star".
  • Ur-Example: The first Flyweight and Light Flyweight King of Pancrase.

Matt Trihey

"I only got to Japan because they wanted to see the tattooed white guy lose."

Hajime Ubukata

Takumi Yano

  • The Apprentice: To Masashi Horibe.
  • Badass Mustache / Porn Stache: An impressive handlebar mustache.
  • Bald of Awesome
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He is quite a weird dude, he sometimes wears socks in his MMA fights.
  • Confusion Fu: A few things he likes to do in his fights is to expose his back to his opponents while standing and even willingly lets some of his opponents have full mount.
  • Cool Teacher: Has his own Koppō and MMA school now.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Aside from the occasional kick, he almost never strikes in his MMA fights. Thankfully he has very good if unorthodox grappling.
  • Elite Four: Was part of the "ZST Shi Kyōdai" ("ZST Four Brothers").
  • Guest Fighter
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Sort of, he does not like the idea of women doing MMA. He even refused to fight at a Pancrase show because there would be women fighting on that card.
  • Heroic Second Wind: He got his nickname of "Tōyō no Shinpi" as he would get to the end of a MMA round looking like he might faint from exhaustion, then at the start of the next round look ready to go all out again which leaves his opponents puzzled.
  • I Know Koppō: Trained at the Ugokai Wild Phoenix gym, he is also a 1st dan black belt in Judo.
  • Murderous Thighs: Likes using the head scissors choke and even submitted Hideki Kadowaki with one at the GCM: The Contenders 2000.
  • Red Baron: "Yanotaku", "Tōyō no Shinpi" ("The Oriental Mystery"), "Koppō's Ace".

    Debuted in The Spirit Year (2002) 

Ricardo Alemida

""Jiu jitsu and martial arts do not build character, they reveal it. We are all born with unmeasurable courage and determination, but it is as we go through the trials of rigorous training that we rediscover those gifts."

  • The Apprentice: To Renzo Gracie and was his first black belt.
  • Badass Family / Bash Brothers: His younger brother Flavio Almeida is also a BJJ competitor, champion and trainer and the current CEO of Gracie Barra.
  • Cool Teacher: Runs his own BJJ academy and has trained guys like Frankie Edgar, Kris Mc Cray, Eddie Alvarez and Corey Anderson.
  • Guest Fighter
  • Hero Killer: Was undefeated in Pride and Pancrase with wins over Akira Shogi and Ryo Chonan in the former and wins over Osami Shibuya, Ikuhisa Minowa, Yuki Sasaki, Kazuo Misaki, and Nate Marquardt (for the King of Pancrase middleweight title) in the latter.
  • Hold Up Your Score: Is now a MMA judge.
  • I Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: A 4th degree black belt, a multiple time medalist at the ADCC Championships, a Brazilian national, Pan American, and No-Gi World Masters champion. He also trained with the Gracie Barra Combat Team for MMA.
  • Red Baron: "Cachorrão" ("Big Dog"). The name came about before Ricardo he started training jiu jitsu. An avid surfer, Ricardo Almeida had the reputation of kicking people out of the sea and being very protective of his surfing spot, because of this the local beach lifeguards gave him the name “Cachorrão”, the name of a famous soap opera “bad guy”.
  • Surfer Dude: An avid surfer.
  • The Worf Effect: Some of his UFC fights.

Yoshinori Momose

Shigeyuki Umeki

  • The Apprentice: To Tenshin Matsumoto.
  • Canon Immigrant: Was a recurrent Pancrase fighter that came from SK Absolute, Tenshin Matsumoto's sambo and MMA gym.
  • Cloudcuckoolander
  • Confusion Fu: Possibly the greatest example in modern MMA, even more than Sudo or Gono put together. His fighting approach was composed of throwing random backfists, slapping the air, breakdancing on the mat, and somersaulting backwards into flying leglocks. Absolutely no joke.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Granted, it is difficult to take seriously a guy who fights that bizarre, but Umeki had surprising submissions skills and in fact won an amateur MMA tournament before his debut.
  • I Know Sambo: Which he mixed with, according to him, kung fu and breakdance. He trained at SK Absolute.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Only had a handful of fights before retiring from MMA to pursue a career as a medical assistant, but he is a pretty known curiosity among MMA fans.

    Debuted in The Hybrid Year (2003) 

Josh Barnett

"He's like a kid, he just loves the game. And in the future, he's going to make some big waves. It's unfortunate that a lot of promoters don't want to use him because of his appearance. He's a little along the chunky side, but he's a great fighter."
— Matt Hume

"A fighter's mindset is ultimate and unflinching absolute belief in oneself."
— Josh Barnett

  • Always Someone Better: He lost 3 times to Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović.
  • Badass Boast: Often vowed to finish MMA matches with German suplexes and other pro wrestling moves, to the point it almost became a Running Gag when he announced it only to lose or win in any other way.
  • Badass Teacher: Was once a teacher of Catch Wrestling at Erik Paulson's CSW Training Center and was the primary trainer and manager of female fighter Megumi Fujii and listed on the Abe Ani Combat Club's website as a team wrestling coach and friend. He now has his own gym; UWF USA, where he teaches MMA, Catch Wrestling and pro wrestling. He also trained Bob Sapp and Yuji Nagata for MMA.
  • Blood Knight: He really likes to fight.
  • Canon Immigrant: He originally trained with and represented AMC Pankration for his MMA fights before going to Japan to train at the UWF Snakepit, though the promotion was already defunct.
  • Challenge Seeker: Has been trying to get a fight with Fedor Emelianenko for years, the closest he got was fighting Fedor's brother Alexander. Though he jokingly, he once stated he would have liked to fight Aleksander Karelin.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: He submitted Dean Lister in a Metamoris match. Lister had not been submitted in competition for 16 years.
  • Guest Fighter: He only fought in Pancrase for one MMA match representing New Japan Pro-Wrestling and vacated Pancrase Openweight Championship shortly after. He has done Catch Wrestling rules matches for them however.
  • Hero Killer: Has beaten guys like Bobby Hoffman, Dan Severn, Semmy Schilt, Randy Couture, Yuki Kondo, Kazuo Takahashi, Fedor Emelianenko's brother Alexander, Mark Hunt, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Hidehiko Yoshida, Gilbert Yvel, Sergei Kharitonov, etc in MMA. In submission grappling in beat Dean Lister and Ryron Gracie.
  • I Know Catch Wrestling: Trained by Billy Robinson and shoot wrestling with Yukoh Miyato in the UWF Snakepit, trained at AMC Pankration under Matt Hume, and also trained in the Combat Submission Wrestling system under Erik Paulson. Subverted with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as he is ranked in the Machado system, it is an honourary rank and he never actually trained in it. He also trained in amateur wrestling, Judo and Kickboxing before he started MMA.
  • Insistent Terminology: Very much like Minowa, he likes referring to himself as a catch wrestler and a pro wrestler, and also likes to use catch terminology to describe moves instead of jiu jitsu terminology (he calls the Kimura lock the double wrist lock, for example).
  • Last of His Kind: Was the last Pancrase Openweight Champion.
  • Otaku: A major one.
  • Red Baron: "The Babyfaced Assassin" (early in his career), "The Warmaster", "The Philadelphia Jailbird", "Trainer of The Beast". In Japan, "Sekai Saikyo no Otaku" ("The World's Strongest Otaku") and "Aoi Hitomi no Kenshiro" ("The Blue-Eyed Kenshiro" - really!).
  • Stout Strength: His early nickname "The Babyfaced Assassin" was given because he has a quite pudgy physique.
  • Suplex Finisher: Likes trying to go for this, like in his match with Yuki Kondo.
  • Victory Pose: Uses the thumb slide across throat meaning for death after he wins matches.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Is both a pro wrestler and MMA fighter and occasionally uses wrestling moves like German suplexes.

    Debuted in The Brave Year (2004) 

    Debuted in The Spiral Year (2005) 

    Debuted in The Blow Year (2006) 

    Debuted in The Rising Year (2007) 

    Debuted in The Shining Year (2008) 

Yasushi Sakamoto

    Debuted in The Changing Year (2009) 

    Debuted in The Passion Year (2010) 

    Debuted in The Impressive Year (2011) 

    Debuted in The Progress Year (2012) 

Masakazu Sakai

  • Non-Action Guy: Current CEO of Pancrase after he bought it in 2012 and was the former owner of the Smash promotion.

    Debuted in The 20th Anniversary Year (2013) 

    Debuted in The From The Ring To The Cage Year (2014) 

    Debuted in The Decagon Years (2015-Present) 
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