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MMA Referee suspended for 90 days!

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MMA Referee suspended for 90 days!

Photo courtesy of K-1 Fightclub

Fans of Japanese MMA will recognize the face and name of Nobuaki Kakuda - the "Big John McCarthy" of Japan.

In addition to being a K-1 fighter, Kakuda danced in the Japanese version of Dancing with the Stars, has starred in movies and television shows, he narrated and sang the ending theme for a movie, Kinnikuman Nisei, and in addition to being one of the most recognizable Japanese MMA ref's out there, he is known for his famous "first punch knockout win" over German 4-time cage combat World Champion Mavrick at 0:56 seconds in the K-1 Fields Europe GP 2005.

He is now also famous for being one of the first MMA referees to be suspended for endangering a fighter's life.

In October, Kakuda refereed the Kozo Takeda vs. Albert Kraus fight in Tokyo, Japan. If you've already seen the fight, you'll most likely agree that Kakuda's ref'ing at this K1 WORLD MAX 2009 event in October was less than stellar. And while it makes sense he was probably trying to give his fellow Japanese fighter the benefit of the doubt, it just wasn't pretty.

If you haven't seen the fight - check out the video above. Extremely painful to watch as Takeda was repeatedly knocked down, kneed, punched, and rocked silly - yet he continued to fight, because Kakuda did nothing to stop the onslaught. In fact, when the fight was stopped, Takeda had been wandering around the ring so slap-happy, I'm not sure he knew where he was.

The question here is: should Kakuda have been held totally responsible? Takeda could have taken action and, when asked numerous times by the ref if he was alright, said "NO"! Not saying Kakuda should be excused completely, but it's a thought. Takeda might not have taken that route because in Japanese society, such action may have been considered dishonorable.

In fact, for all we know, Takeda told Kakuda ahead of time to keep the fight going, no matter what. Kind of like Josh Koscheck did here: "As for next time, my message to all the ref’s would be to, please let the fight go until I’m put out to sleep."

This type of fiasco makes one wonder if perhaps a fighter's corner should be allowed to throw in the towel. New Jersey's new Amateur and Professional MMA Rules of Conduct are already allowing it and it just makes sense.

As you watch the video, you'll see Albert Kraus, the Dutch kickboxer and Takeda's opponent, show a tremendous amount of class. Good guy.

As a result of his (in)action, Kakuda was suspended for 90 days. I think MMA referees over here in the United States had better take notice.


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