Sanae Kikuta interview -part 2-

The leader of the GRABAKA GYM, Sanae Kikuta, fought on November 5th, 2006 at PRIDE BUSHIDO 13, his first PRIDE fight since his December 31, 2005 bout against Makoto Takimoto. In part two of this interview series Kikuta speaks freely, as the leader of GRABAKA and as a fighter, about his fight against Jean Francois Lenogue, issues with PRIDE, goals for 2006 and backstage stories about GRABAKA fighter Kazuo Misaki's miraculous comeback.




Pride Fighting Championships: After the fight, you wrote on your blog that Lenogue had oiled is body. It became quite a popular discussion, didn't it?
Sanae Kikuta: I didn't intend to talk about it originally, even though it really bothered me. If I had submitted him, that would have been one thing but fighters are always making excuses after the fight, like they were injured or something. I didn't want to be thought of in the same way as that. There had been several fights that went to the decision in that event, so I didn't want to a make a scene in the right and if I had started to complain, it would have just sounded like I was making excuses.
Later, Gono was being interviewed on TV. They showed him a video of my fight and asked Gono what he was saying at that time, and he replied that it looked like (Lenogue) was slippery. The fans started commenting on my blog (about slipping) after that and I thought to myself, why I do I have to be quiet about something Lenogue did?
Since then, I have been pushing DSE to make the checks on fighters more stringent, because that's a big issue for a grappler. I don't know what the real extent of the problem is but if a fighter wants to fighter dirty, he can pretty much do anything he wants. There are a lot of ways (to fight dirty). I didn't want to just give up on this issue. I wanted to make sure everyone knows about it.
Pride: I've heard that the sweat of Westerners is more slippery compared to that of Japanese fighters.
Kikuta: I've been doing this for many, many years. I've had matches against people from many countries and races. Black and white. Sweat is definitely slippery. I don't exactly how to explain this but.well, Lenogue was clearly different. I knew it the instant I went for the tackle and took him down. Kondo, for example, his sweat is really slippery but you can still tell that it's sweat.
Sweat doesn't become a factor until at least the 2nd half of the 1st round. No one is slippery at the beginning of the fight. And you can tell that it's not sweat. When I went for Lenogue's back, I just slid off him. I thought that this is impossible. I was fighting and fighting but I didn't want to fight him anymore. Maybe that's why Yoshida wears his gi. Maybe they won't allow us to wear rash guards but Aoki wears those long tights, right? Every grappler has to think of some kind of strategy (because of slipping).
Pride: Will you wear a gi in your next fight?
Kikuta: I don't think so. Long tights? My legs are too short, so I wouldn't look as cool as Aoki (laughing). The situation would change if I could wear a shirt, though. I should probably train more without a shirt, too. Japanese fighters don't train like that very much. Brazilians train like that a lot, sweat and all, but Japanese fighters wear t-shirts or rash guards when they train. Going shirtless or wearing a rash guard changes everything because once you start slipping, you can't do anything.

(This interview was taken on November 26, 2006.)