A bad thing about Sumo (Day 10 Hokutofuji match)

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sadlerbw9 : As a fan, this is how I feel: I want to watch these men wrestle for my entertainment. I don't want to watch them destroy themselves. That is not entertainment, and I find no joy in seeing it.

King Kobashi _Kisenosato Ichiban : He was totally out of it. And still nobody done anything. It's sick. Don't get me wrong, I love sumo, but this is too much. Sumo is an extremely violent sport, but without anything behind for the well-care of injured wrestlers. We are in 2018 dammit !! Hope Hokutofuji is allright.

Clevertrousers : It’s crazy to me that it is 2018 and the Sumo Association has no concussion protocol. I get that they have this obsession with tradition being upheld but that’s an unacceptable excuse for not taking care of these human competitors. Such a bad look for the SA.

Jim Mac : Anyone who follows sumo, even casually, knows that there is a LOT that is horribly wrong with the sport. They don't care at all about the wrestlers' health and never have. Virtually forcing many wrestlers to compete in tournaments while injured is one of the worst things. Turning a blind eye toward the abuse of young wrestlers is another. They're still in the dark ages, and the ignorance will continue until someone from outside the sport does something about it.

Todd Stoilov : The way they charge at each other from such a short distance it's surprising this doesn't happen more often. And yeah he might be concussed.

Tubewings : For those unaware, Hokutofuji is in the same heya as Jason's Man from Shimane-ken, which is Hakkaku-beya (led by the Chairman of the Sumo Association, Hakkaku-oyakata, a.k.a. the 61st Yokozuna Hokutoumi). Yeah, they probably should have stopped it and declared a forfeit in favor of Ryuden. I know there's a "fusen", which is a forfeit in the event one of the rikishi fails to show up, but is there a term if a rikishi gets injured before the match properly starts (like in this case)? If not, there should be.

alfwok : As far as stopping the match or what they could do, it's a tricky subject. What isn't tricky is the complete lack of help for him. Where was the wheel chair? Where was a doctor? They should have those things ready to go at all times. On the other hand, these guys must know that if you are the least bit concerned about your health...sumo wrestling probably not a good idea...

EBANOSAJ : I saw a man that didnt quit and finish what he started.

Catch42 : Poor Hokutofuji, he clearly needed immediate medical help... In my opinion there needs to be a cultural change in sumo in which it would not be deemed shameful to concede following an injury, particularly concussions. The gyoji should be trained to recognize concussions and after that very first contact Hokutofuji should have been offered the option to walk away, counting as a bye for Ryuden and an absence for Hokutofuji - he obviously was no longer there mentally nor physically. I'm impressed he managed to walk his own way out to the hallway following the match, but I'm surprised his heya-mate didn't offer any help, even after he collapsed to all fours... if it's a matter of pride, I feel like offering an arm for support would be less shameful than forcing him to crawl out.

Austin K : Now we already have those disgusting people who say it’s a part of the sport because it’s violent. They think the safety of the wrestlers is worth nothing and shouldn’t be protected because they knew what they signed up for. It’s mindsets like theirs that fetishize wrestling with injuries when it can have serious consequences. Honestly I can’t believe that some highly upvoted comments are all for this and we’re happy they did nothing. If this had hit mainstream media in the states or Canada they would have ridiculed sumo as a sport stuck in the past (in many ways it is such as no women in the ring and ignorance of injuries). In my opinion I agree with you, Jason. Stop the match let them get medical help along with pulling out of the tournament for safety reasons. Of course the sumo association has nothing to not incentivize fighting injured so he would probably want to go back right away. This is the thing I hate about sumo more than anything else because it just ruins so much.

janellek21 : It's now coming to light that many former rikishi suffer from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), also known as post-concussion syndrome.

Ghost Nappa : Thank you for showing us this match Jason, I wouldnt be surprised if the Sumo Association finds themselves in a similar situation to the NFL in a few years regarding concussions, traumatic brain injury, and degenerative neurological disorders. It will only take one rikshi leaving his brain/body to a medical researcher in his will to get that ball rolling.

Capitan Salami : Was his neck who receive the compression making him shocked, I feel really bad for Hokutofuji when this comes after matta...If is was for me I will cancel that match or give victory to Hoku after 3 fail matta from ryuden... but this is Japan where idk they have his common sense sometimes...

Medium X : I hate to say this, but yeah, it's 2018... kids don't want to join a sport where they get physically abused, where injuries don't get treated correctly and where they let a wrestler collapse after the match without offering help. They don't need to change the whole sport, but if they don't change at all they will be in trouble in the future.

Gangster Haafthor : If you ask me , Hokutofuji wouldn't have wanted to stop the match . One of the things i love about Sumo is the warrior spirit that the Rikihsi embody .

M Brown : Many great traditions can stay. The dohyo-iri, the shio-maki, the yumi-tori, the te-gatana, the chikara no mizu... nobody wants to change the great traditions of sumo. But, some traditions need to change because they only hurt this great sport instead of help it. The indentured servitude of the stable system, the hazing, the abuse, the poor compensation, the risk to the health and well-being of the rikishi, the sexist policies regarding women... sumo is dying. Slowly, but surely. Traditions that drive the youth away and kill the sport must be allowed to die. If not,Oozumou will be the thing that dies first.

JayyEVee : If he feels capable of continuing, than it should (until perhaps the 3rd failed start or it's obvious as it was here that the 2nd false start injured him). There should be immediate medical attention on hand at the ring, no excuses there. Any other professional sport has Dr's on the field or courtside. Outside of that, I think this is a 'Japanese' thing to not recognize a wound or personal issue in public, as it's not 'honorable' (I guess you have to fall over dead before it's honorable?).

Lukas Maria aus Wien : Back in the days there were itamiwake-draws, when a rikishi got injured in a match that resulted in a torinaoshi. I feel like this should be one of the instances where you do not let them go at it for a second time.

c c : Shameful the way the sumo association handled it. He should not have continued...

Rodney Burmaster : I am probably in the minority here but I respect the fact they didn’t do anything and let him continue. It is an occupational hazard and hats off to him for getting back up and fighting.

tigerboy1966 : I wonder whose call it would have been to stop the match and give the fusensho to Ryuden. Is a gyoji allowed to stop a fight that hasn't technically started. I can't think of any other occasion where a wrestler got knocked cold in a matta, so I would not want to make any sweeping statements about a once in a decade occurence.

Scott Poet : amazing he almost won

Carus : It should be a "foul" like grabbing the topknot. At the very least there should be a requirement that even someone like the referee speak to the rikishi to ensure it is safe to proceed. There should also be a procedure to provide care and assistance when this happens. I'd be interested in hearing what the Japanese perspective is though.

Durin S. Bane : His neck got crunched too. I hope he's getting good treatment. And three matta is excessive, there should be a protocol for that

irakli gugutishvili : where is the video about chicken yokozuna kakuryu???

Timothy Smith : If Hokutofuji was unable to continue after that headbutt, would he be given the loss? Or, would Ryuden get the loss since he dealt an injury during a false start that left his opponent unable to compete ? Has a situation like that occurred before???

JboyAAA : Oh wow! I was expecting Kiken gachi for Hokutofuji after the second start - that’s truly surprising to see him continue. Scary stuff; most of the rule changes in judo have been anti-concussion policies lately and we’ve all had to learn how frightening that really is :(. Thanks for bringing this up!

Ardhi Adhary Arbain : It has something to do with tradition and japanese people have strict codes for it. This was almost similar with an incident last month, where a city major collapsed during speech on the dohyo of a sumo event. The women (medics) who rushed to give first aid were asked to leave the holy ring by the refree because they're considered 'impure' by tradition. Luckily, the major survived.

Jordan Gopie : Man, something similar happened in last night's Stanley Cup Playoff match. Sports need to take concussions more seriously.

C. Baer : I think many people in the comments here get the philosophy and mentality of sumodo wrong. Its not that someone forces Hokutofuji to fight in that condition. These guys want it for themselves and are determined to overcome every obstacle in their way, sometimes even to a point were it becomes very unhealthy or even inflicts career ending injuries to their bodies. Its the same with Endo coming back now in a state in which he needs surgery. From my point of view the stable masters are in most cases the ones who step in and make their rikishi pull out of bashos or sit bashos out in the first place when the wrestlers push it too far. Sumo is not football and not a mere sport. It goes beyond that. And it goes far beyond entertainment and smart career planing for the rikishi on the dohyo. We westerners that enjoy sumo should take it as what it is. And we should be aware of the fact that 99% of us are in no position to pass judgement on a way of life and an art and philosophy of fighting that we dont fully understand.

Jay Lobb : I’m late to the game on this, but just have to say that the gyoji should have stopped this match immediately after the injury. Expecting a wrestler to pull out might be too much, especially when they are already groggy and not thinking straight. But the gyoji can intervene and the wrestler would not “lose his honor”. Safety of the wrestler should ALWAYS be more important than entertaining the fans. It’s one thing to expect a wrestler to work through pain, but it’s entirely different to expect them to fight through a debilitating brain injury. And the response of the medical staff AFTER the match was pathetic. You take the decision AWAY from the wrestler and they save face and keep their honor (not that they should have to worry about such things, but I’m sure they do). Another embarrassing sumo incident. Macho bullshit and misplaced priorities.

Lucas Damoff : I feel bad for both wrestlers in this instance. Definitely don't think you can fault Hokutofuji or Ryuden for this. But the gyoji or the judges should've stepped in at some point. The reason concussion protocols exist in other sports is that a concussed athlete can't judge whether they're fit to continue. I don't pretend to know the best way to implement some sort of check in sumo, but especially coming so soon after the scandal where the official told the female Dr. to get off the dohyo when she was administering first aid, the Sumo Elders better come up with some answer for this and quick. Tradition is one thing, but this doesn't serve the best interests of the sport, and no one wants to have to watch a concussed wrestler bumble his way through his match. Hats off to Hokutofuji for being an absolute stud and showing warrior-spirit. But shame on the judges for letting him.

EMD : It's terrible the shinpan all looked at him as he was collapsing and didn't even stop to check him.

Nobby B : That was informative on about three levels ... non-reaction to the obvious concussion after the fact (ie in tunnel afterwards), courage of Hokutofuji to continue in the first place during the fact, and the bout being continued after three false starts before the fact. I obviously do not know the rules, or understand the face-saving nuances of Japanese culture. But, letting the bout continue in first place after that many false starts? And then leaving the man when he's literally down, in the tunnel? I do not get either of those.

Bobaklives : While American football has a major issue with the growing literature documenting CTE, I think sumo could do well drawing from what we're learning about the long-term effects of repeated head impacts (not even as hard as one would think would be necessary to have an effect). Day in and day out in their stables, to say nothing of the tournaments, does bring up some concern. You do NOT trust the player to know for themselves, there's too much pride on the line ("don't worry, coach, I'm not soft!"). Heck, that's why a boxer's side can throw in the towel if needed. Given the state of scientific literature at the moment, match is a disgrace and an area that sumo needs to address even sooner than the archaic "no women on the doyho" thing that also involved a health issue.

NesconProductions : I'll say before I watched this I learned besides a concussion Hokutofuji has been diagnosed with a herniated cervical disc. This is a career threatening injury & could have been life-threatening after the initial contact (should have been stopped). Sumo is heavily laced in tradition & about as macho a sport sport as you can get but this isn't the 17th. century. Much agreed with your sentiment Jason.

Roguemaster : Sumo is a sport overflowing with tradition. This is a thing that has both benefits and detriments. And this video shows one of those detriments. I highly support putting in a rule that looks out for the well being of the wrestlers. But as it stands, they're allowed to determine their own well being and their own preparedness. So the officials were probably waiting for him to decide that he could no longer perform himself. Which he would never do.

Ultimo Tiger : Being someone who used to watch a lot of pro-wrestling from Japan, I see the "Fighting Spirit" idea runs very strong in Sumo. Which is all very well, but you'd think in this day and age, even an ultra traditional sport like Sumo (which uses video replays!) would have some kind of contingency plan for something like this.

Philip Marlowe : I wonder if its because they are supposed to be like "samurai" and just shrug off injury like its nothing? I read somewhere that while rikishi are treated like rock stars by the average citizen they pay the price in their life expectancy. From what I read in a society that often lives into its 90s rikishi live into their 60s instead due to the brain trauma. They are like American boxers.

JPrivacy : 1) I would have felt so horrible if I was Ryuden; I would not have wanted to be involved with this! On that note, 2) Could Ryuden have refused to fight? He was already in a losing tournament, and etc... I do suspect that Ryuden took the situation into account in how he fought. Murry’s obviously angry, too, though he remains a professional about it—something I wouldn’t have been able to do in his place.

Gabriel Militão : I've been watching sumo for over 3 years and still bugs me how "mechanical" the behavior is in this sport. From the Rikishi but, specially, from the gyoji. Sometimes would be nice to see some empathy in the dohio.

dromadrosis : Horrible. In the name of tradition nobody does anything. I am not an expert but thanks God this happens very rarely (I hope!).

David Christensen : No this concussion what we have found out is you can’t ask the wrestler or the football player their head is not right. I don’t have years of watching sumo but I just not seen concussion like in other sports. What we found out in the USA you only get 2 in your life. We have college students quitting if they get concussion because of the 2 in your life. As we learn more that may change but as we have learned in nfl football there are changes to the brain after one of these. Sad

Jacoman S : Jason I agree with you 100%. A persons health is paramount over tradition, or protocol..he should have been taking to the clinic immediately after that first contact, he looked to have been knocked out momentarily...Sad to see this.

Richie Jones : I see poor Hokutofuji was withdrawn from the action for day 11 with a "cervical spine injury". I hope the big man makes a full recovery.

Robert Tada : Man, the elders just walked right by him and didn’t look concerned at all

jason mallard : They should both get a 0-0-1 for that. It's pointless to make him fight because he has no chance. Can't give Hokutofuji a loss off a matta but giving Ryuden a win is just as bad.

F3udF1st : How common is chronic traumatic encephalopathy in sumo?

boudi bla : I agree 100%, Stop the fight

Benry156 : The third matta was mainly because Hokutofuji was too out of it to meet the charge... in UFC or boxing the ref would be checking it, or the corner would step in. Needs to be a doctor handy and the gyoji needs to be responsible for calling him in, or at least give the judges, some of them ex-wrestlers who know the score, power to step up and stop the match. Difficult one as the bout hasn’t started, call it off so no-one wins? The scariest thing is the lack of due attention to him after the bout. Horrible to see him crumpled in the corridor like that with no one around him but the cameras still rolling... ☹️☹️☹️