INTERVIEW
07/15/2004
Hayato Sakurai

<

Hayato "Mach" Sakurai, a man plagued by injuries, will appear as one of the ace fighters in the upcoming BUSHIDO 4 event on July 19 in Nagoya . The fact that this will be his opponent's first appearance in BUSHIDO and Sakurai hasn't received any information about him has apparently gotten "Mach" excited about this match.

Pride Fighting Championships: You weren't able to fight in the last BUSHIDO due to injury. Where exactly were you injured?
Hayato Sakurai: My left elbow. You can still see the scar from surgery. Half of the nerves were crushed and I had no grip strength or strength in my arm. I had surgery after I fought Rodrigo but I've known something was strange since my March fight last year in DEEP. My punching power has increased so it seems that the joint couldn't hold up anymore. That's why the bone put pressure on the nerves.
Pride: The bones couldn't withstand your punching power?
Sakurai: It was the shock. My weight increased rapidly and that probably had something to do with it, too.
Pride: The BUSHIDO series is facing difficult times in regards to its continued existence. Do you, personally, feel this danger?
Sakurai: No, it's not really interesting, I guess. Honestly, even if someone says that to me, it doesn't really have anything to do with me.
Pride: Do you feel that you were interesting in your previous fight with Rodrigo?
Sakurai: No, that was boring. I was trying to win and that's why it went bad. Just trying to win and trying to win. I don't care if I lose now. I wasn't thinking about going all out, even if it costs me the victory. I was only thinking about winning and not giving up side position. That way of thinking wasn't good. Now, whenever I fight in PRIDE, I'm just going to do my best and not worry about winning and losing.
Pride: So, you were being overly protective?
Sakurai: Yeah. It would have been better if I had let him try to get side position on purpose and create some movement that I could use against him.
Pride: What do you think about your opponent, Brady Fink? You don't know anything about him.
Sakurai: I want to have a good fight. I want it to be a bloody fight. He'd better get a blood test before he comes. (laughing)
Pride: That serious, huh?
Sakurai: Yes. I don't know what kind of fighter he is but I have no interested in a technical battle. That will just be a waste of time. It'd be better to do something completely different, even if I lose. If everyone has technical fights, BUSHIDO will definitely disappear. In my mind, this is an event, not a competition. It's better to win but fighting lazily like Gracie, of course it's going to go to a decision. If half of the fights are like that, maybe they should give up on BUSHIDO.
Pride: It seemed that you were on the verge of becoming BUSHIDO's new ace. Your picture was the biggest on the first advertisements. Do you feel that you haven't lived up to that expectation?
Sakurai: To be honest, I haven't thought about it much. It's not like that it has to be me or nothing. The more important thing is that if I don't leave an impact from my fight, the stage that we fight on is going to disappear. Rather than focusing on winning or losing, I only want to have an exciting fight. I would feel a little responsible if BUSHIDO disappeared. (laughing) There's nothing left but to do it.