Ikuhisa Minowa versus brain trauma

September, 18, 2010
9/18/10
8:09
PM ET
Rossen By Jake Rossen
ESPN.com
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First reaction to MMAFighting's news that middleweight Ikuhisa Minowa will fight heavyweight James Thompson at Dream 16 on Sept. 25: This hasn't happened already?

Second: What does Minowa have against his brain?

Minowa, 34 in human years but probably feeling a spry 96, has made his name in Japan for refusing to let go of the open-weight-class torch in MMA. At a bodyweight in the 190s, he's fought Bob Sapp (at least 300 pounds), Zulu, Jr. (two Sapps, easy) and Butterbean (weight incalculable). He beat most of them, a feat that would seem handicapped by their mediocrity but remains interesting when you consider their mount technique only needs to involve holding still.

Unfortunately for Minowa, open-weight contests against opponents with even a sliver of ability is still an incredible grind on the body: He's often forced to carry their resisting weight, suffer punches out of proportion to his body's ability to handle their stress and is generally shaving three fights off his career for every one -- win or lose -- he takes against a monster.

Jake Rossen is a contributor to ESPN.com. His byline has appeared in the New York Times, Wired.com, and numerous other outlets. He began covering mixed martial arts in 1998.

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