As Liverpool is set to host the UK’s first ever Panrase tournament, I caught up with Dave Faulkner, an ex World Champion submission wrestler, to find out what ‘Pancrase’ is all about and to discuss his motivations for bringing such an event all the way from its Japanese home to British shores. His brand, Jigoku Fighting, is hosting this unique fighting event at Fusion on September 16th and it’s something that Liverpool has never seen before!

Dave explained that he had, for some time now, started to grow somewhat disenchanted with MMA, not with the fighters (who he respects immensely), not with the sport (that he reveres) but with the exacerbations of  negativity involved outside of the arena. He views the modern day trash talking and ridiculing of opponents during press conferences and pre-fight interviews as not only un-gentleman like and un-sportsman like, but also a source of negative social conditioning for young people and fans. He relayed to me that his primary intent was to create an event more in-line with the traditional martial arts ethos of humility, respect and honourable conduct towards one’s opponents. I must admit this was refreshing to hear, especially in a modern day fight culture where (seemingly) the biggest mouths sell the most tickets.This is Dave’s first promotion and being a man that sees half measures as an undesirable exercise in futility, he has pulled out all of the stops to make it spectacular. Setting foot in the ring on the night will be no less than four professional wrestlers (two of which are flying in from the USA), an ensemble of martial artists and MMA fighters, a kick boxing world champion, a karate world champion and three further world wrestling champions of various disciplines.

On top of this, just to add an insanity cherry atop of this menagerie of mayhem, it’s also an ‘open weight’ contest — meaning there are no weight restrictions as regards matching opponents. Now this is a practice that very rarely happens outside of ‘Pancrase’, as many sports and fight governing bodies consider it to be far too dangerous.  Dave himself at 5 feet 7 and 94KG is taking on the USA’s  130KG 6 foot 6, pro-wrestling, power-house, ‘Kenny The Gorrila- Blanko- Lester’. But those who know Dave would not expect anything less insane from him. Whereas most promoters would prefer to watch from a VIP table, Dave would prefer to bleed onto canvas.  That’s certainly something I’ve never known to happen, so he has literally put his mouth (in striking range) of where his money is.

There are some technical differences from MMA, such as strikes to the face being ‘open hand’, and a ‘no knees above the neck’ rule, which offer some saving graces to contenders, but make no mistake about it, this is full contact, real, and (love or condemn the concept as dangerous), a gladiatorial-esque first for UK fight fans.

Check out the event on FACEBOOK!

Check out Jigoku Fighting on FACEBOOK!

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