Akira Maeda has always been known as a legendary bad boy in the realm of MMA and pro-wrestling. Since the 1980s, he’s spent his years soccer kicking guys in the face, shooting on Andre The Giant, and beating the ever-loving crap out of rookies backstage. Through all of this, however, he is best known for founding Fighting Network RINGS: a worked (and eventually legitimate) shoot-wrestling organization that saw him in matches with the likes of infamous bear wrestler Willie Williams, UFC champ Maurice Smith, and, most notably, the legendary Alexander Karelin.
Maeda slices Karelin leg with a low kick.
After his in-ring career, he used RINGS to launch the MMA careers of future legends such as Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio “Big Nog” Nogueira, Randy Couture, and Dan Henderson, in the King of Kings tournaments. Even after the subsequent closure of RINGS, Maeda continued to work behind the scenes, taking…
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