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Official Flawless MMA announcement about “Mach Festival” in Tokyo, Japan on September 29th, 2013
“Mach Festival” Main Event Fight on September 29th, 2013 between Japanese legend Hayato Sakurai and American fighter Shamar Bailey didn’t happen because Mr. Sakurai missed contracted weight (170 +1) by 5 pounds weighing in at 176 lbs. At the weigh ins it was agreed to fight at the catch weight at 172 lbs, but Sakurai wasn’t able to lose extra 4 pounds, even though he tried to fulfill one of Mr. Baileys demands, that he needed to keep losing the weight up until the show started.
All other Mr. Baileys demands were met and Japanese promotion made every attempt to make this fight happening. Mr. Bailey was offered 50% increase in his fight purse, 25% pay per view money, but American decided that 5 lbs disadvantage was too much to fight this huge fight. Hayato Sakurai apologized for missing the weight and understood that it was opponents right to choose not to fight him. Promoter asked Shamar Bailey to step into the ring and explain the reason why he didn’t want to fight, and just for doing that, offering to pay half of his agreed fight purse and to cover any rebooking fees, incurred while rebooking his flight back home. But Shamar didn’t accept that and decided to change his already booked flight himself and left without stepping into the ring in front of the Japanese fans.
Flawless MMA President and CEO Deividas Markevicius contacted Shamar on his way to the airport, trying to convince him to change his mind and at least to step into the ring explaining to sellout crowd why he didn’t want to fight his biggest carrier fight. Flawless MMA and Shamar Bailey have great working relationship since the first Flawless Fighting Championship show “The Beginning” on August 4th, 2012, when Shamar was scheduled to fight, but his opponent didn’t show up and he still was paid his fight purse by the Flawless FC promotion. But even after Mr. Markevicius promised personally to pay half of Shamar’s fight purse, that didn’t change American fighter’s mind, who was already almost at the ticket counter in the airport. During long 40 minutes conversation Shamar explained to Mr. Markevicius that he felt disrespected by Sakurai since his opponent didn’t make weight and Shamar said, that he will fight Japanese legend next time, as long as the contracted weight is met by both parties.
Since Shamar decided not to step into the ring and explain to the fans why he decided not to fight, Flawless MMA representative in Japan Seng Sithisakd took the microphone and explained everything what happened and apologize for this fight not happening to all of the fans. Japanese fans met him by booing him, because they were waiting for this match for couple months already, just to hear that it was cancelled the very last minute.
We, at Flawless MMA understand both positions – Mr. Baileys, that everyone should make their contracted weights and Mr. Sakurai’s, who for the last 3 days before the fight stuck at 176 lbs and he wasn’t even eating anything just to get to the weight limit. We all know it happens a lot in the fight game when fighters simply get stuck at certain weight and there is nothing they can do anymore to get to the weight limit. This was an unfortunate event, which took the pleasure from all fans to see a great fight.
After losing the original opponent, Promotion was able to find last minute replacement- Korean fighter Jae Suk Lim (17-6), but the new opponent was 10-11 lbs heavier than Sakurai, weighing in at 186 lbs. Even with the huge weight difference Japanese legend took the fight without hesitation, because he knew that fans in the sold out arena came to see him fight. Sakurai looked very exhausted in this fight from his weight cut and it was too tough for him to overcome huge weight difference after such draining weight cut. He lost by TKO in the first round at around 8th minute mark.