Once upon an time, there was a fighter named Rampage who liked to howl. While his career began in America, his fearsome reputation was built in Japan, in a mixed martial arts promotion called Pride FC. During his time in Japan he fought seventeen times, winning on twelve of those occasions. While he became known for his enormously powerful punches, Rampage’s Pride career will forever be remembered for two things; his feud with arch nemesis and anti-hero Wanderlei Silva and this slam KO of Ricardo Arona. While never quite reaching the merchandised heights of Bob Sapp, Rampage was hugely popular in Japan. Who can forget the UFC vs Pride fight between Rampage and Chuck Liddell? Then there’s the time he handed Igor Vovchanchyn a note before they fought, which was reported to have been written by Rampage’s mom, stating ‘please don’t hurt my son.’
It was moments like these that made Rampage such a huge fan favourite in Japan, as well as America. When his new employers, the UFC announced they would be promoting a show in Japan in February 2012, Rampage was one of many ex-Pride fighters that many expected to fight on the card. Alas this was not to be, much to the disappointment of the fans and Rampage himself who took to the micro blogging website twitter to share his frustration:
A rematch with Shogun Rua in Japan would have made a lot of Pride fans salivate; a rematch with Minowaman in Japan would have made a lot of Pride fan’s heads explode.