DEEP Jewels Brings Us the Joy of King Reina and the Awkwardness of a 12 Year Old in an MMA Fight

DEEP Jewels is an affirmation of all things great about Japanese MMA. You might already be familiar with DEEP’s promotional banner. They have been holding MMA events in Japan since 2001 that have featured some of the biggest names in the sport. Hoiler Gracie, Ricardo Riborio, Nogueira brothers, Gegard Mousasi, “Stun Gun” Kim, Ryo Chonan, and so many more amazing fighters have fought under the DEEP banner. DEEP Jewels is their all female promotion founded in 2008 and acquired by DEEP in 2013. So far DEEP Jewels has given a stage to great fighters like Seo Hee Ham and part time Invicta FC fighter Mizuki Inoue. But last night in Japan the spotlight was on a new star in women’s MMA, King Reina.

If you don’t know King Reina, she’s probably most known globally for demolishing Rizin heavyweight Jazzy Gabert, who at the time had been talking about challenging Gabi Garcia. Not only is King Reina’s ability to beat the shit out of much bigger women awesome, her swagger level is approaching Diaz-ian levels.


Walking out to the fight with her signature crown, oversized lollipop, and royal teddy bear, there may be no fighter in all of Japan more worth your attention.


The King took a TKO victory in the first round over German Kristin Handel.


Nothing quite screams victory in Japan like a sullen fighter holding a trophy and a bunch of bizarre gifts from the promotional sponsors. My favorite part is that teddy bear, though. Could you imagine getting your ass beat and then having your opponent making sure their teddy bear is looking fly in the corner? How surreal. It’s just too goddamn awesome to take. Naturally, there was more posing backstage featuring lollipops and teddy bears.


And let’s be real honest, Reebok fight kits ain’t got shit on King Reina’s incredible t-shirts.


And then there is the more morally ambiguous side of this DEEP Jewels card. In the prelims, there was an amateur bout between a 12 year old girl named simply Momo and her 24 year old opponent Momoko Tamasaki. Thankfully, the much younger fighter took a rear naked choke victory and the bout went off without incident. Interesting, that while this matchmaking raised some concern in mostly Western circles, no one in Japan seemed to be particularly bothered by the matchup. Children fighting is still a very confusing topic with some much cultural tradition surrounding the decisions these matchmakers make. Does Momo’s victory vindicate people who claim her booking in this fight is okay? I don’t think so, but I also don’t think I should be making decisions about what is okay and what is not okay in combat sports. Perhaps in a sport as morally ambivalent as this one, we need to have a more live and let live attitude toward these types of things.


And just in case you thought the theatrics of Japanese MMA had died, check out this awesome walk out from one of their fighters.

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