Sakuraba Out with Brain Circulatory Condition
K-1 promoter Fight Entertainment Group called a press conference
Wednesday in metropolitan Tokyo, where FEG president Sadaharu
Tanigawa and HERO'S star Kazushi Sakuraba (Pictures) spoke regarding yesterday's news
of Sakuraba being rushed to the hospital following dizzy spells and
vomiting during training.
On Tuesday, Sakuraba's impromptu hospital visit not only dominated
the mixed martial arts headlines, but also the national Japanese
media outlets. According to reports, Sakuraba began his first hard
sparring in preparation for his October 9 bout with Yoshihiro Akiyama
(Pictures), which was scheduled as
part of HERO'S 187-pound tournament. Sakuraba then began feeling
dizzy and ill, and was taken to a hospital by friend, training
partner, and PRIDE referee Minoru Toyonaga (Pictures).
Tanigawa spoke first, recapping yesterday's events to the media,
and clarifying that Sakuraba would not compete as expected at the
October 9 HERO'S card at Yokohama Arena.
While Sakuraba's August MRI scans following his damaging bout with
(Pictures) showed no brain damage or
abnormalities, Tanigawa indicated that yesterday’s tests show that
Sakuraba has sustained damage to his vertebrobasilar system, which
is responsible for blood flow to the posterior of the brain.
It was stressed that Sakuraba does not have brain damage, but
rather the vertebrobasilar damage has prevented proper blood
circulation in his head and neck, stopping blood from reaching the
base of Sakuraba's brain.
The damage, indicated Tanigawa, came as a result of repeated blows
to the head and neck, dating as far back as Sakuraba's collegiate
wrestling career. Tanigawa said he hoped that after a period of
rest Sakuraba could get back to sparring comfortably, and indicated
he would be happy to see the former PRIDE linchpin compete at K-1's
Dynamite!! on New Year's Eve.
Logically, Sakuraba must be replaced in the HERO'S 187-pound
tournament bracket. Tanigawa admitted he hadn't yet considered who
would face Akiyama in the semifinals, and said that although a
replacement had to be found that no one could adequately replace
Sakuraba spoke after Tanigawa, and began by apologizing to the
media and fans, as well as the Tokyo Broadcasting System, which
airs K-1 and HERO'S events on Japanese television, and his opponent
(Pictures). Sakuraba fielded questions
from the media, and revealed that as Tanigawa suggested, he would
like to be able to compete on December 31.
Sakuraba also said that while his current condition didn't affect
him in his day-to-day life, if there were a treatment or operation
that could correct his condition, he would take it in an effort to
preserve his fighting career.
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