The first time Akebono fought (vs. Bob Sapp) everyone was skeptical that he would be able to hold his own, but there was a glimmer of hope that the underdog might triumph. Sumo wrestlers, the argument went, are professional athletes and perhaps his unorthodox martial art would give him an edge against Sapp's brute strength. And then he fell, and the truth became all too clear. After the fight, many people felt bad for him, and wished him a quick recovery and success in a non-MMA career.
But he just wouldn't stop. Whenever an Akebono fight came on, many of us watched, not because we thought he had any chance of winning, but because we wondered how badly he would get beaten. There were no longer any discussions of it was possible for him to win, but rather how long it would take for him to go down. An Akebono K-1 fight is painful to watch. He looks like a nice enough guy, and you just want to see it end quickly. No, Hoyce Gracie vs. Akebono was not a fight I really wanted to see (but I watched it anyways).
Why hasn't Akebono stopped fighting yet? It has to be for money, and its sad to see that he intends to keep on fighting. It's even sadder that K-1 will keep on putting him on the bill until the public demand to see him severely beaten eventually dries up. Watching this story unfold is like watching a Greek tragedy. In this case, the protagonist has already made the pivotal choice and now we are witnessing a very painful fall from grace. I hope he wins his next fight, so that he can retire in peace.