Most Electric Walkout Artists in MMA History
For even top-flight mixed martial artists, the overwhelming anxiety that accompanies a typical walk to a ring, cage or Octagon can prove mortifying.
Over the course of the sport's history, however, a handful of ballsy and imaginative figures have emerged to transform the sometimes daunting pre-fight ritual into a captivating spectacle.
These men have emulated their favorite pro wrestling and boxing heroes, using choreographed routines and extravagant attire to prime the crowd before the bell.
Here are the most electric walkout artists in MMA history.
Honorable Mentions: James Te Huna and Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal
James Te Huna
James Te Huna instantly won over the crowd at the Wembley Arena in London when he emerged from the tunnel doing a humorous rendition of Will Smith's Men In Black at UFC on Fuel TV 7.
Roughly 16 months later, Te Huna brought the crowd in his home country of New Zealand to its feet by following Maori warriors as they made their way out of the tunnel and performed a local favorite called the warrior haka.
Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal
He may not represent the light heavyweight king of Bellator MMA, but Lawal certainly tries to live up to his nickname during his most memorable walkouts.
Sporting a king's mantle and crown, Lawal slowly and hilariously danced his way to the cage alongside a group of seductive women. One of Lawal's dancers shaded him with an umbrella, while another dropped rose petals at his feet.
5. Akihiro Gono
Like some of his famous Japanese peers, Akihiro Gono has utilized elaborate wigs, flashy costumes and comedic dance performances to wow jam-packed arenas since the mid-1990s.
Quirky Japanese rock, gaudy shades and playful shadowing dancers have helped Gono pull off some of the most well-orchestrated ring entrances in MMA history, most of which took place in Pride FC and Pancrase in Japan.
The Magic Man, who will turn 40 in October, has won his first two bouts of 2014, submitting Eduardo Garvon in May before earning a split decision over Andre de Jesus in July.
4. Jason "Mayhem" Miller
Before Jason "Mayhem" Miller went on a self-destructive tirade that culminated with several trips to jail, the former Strikeforce title challenger appeared destined to become the sport's most eccentric walkout artist.
Wearing a creepy smile and a massive gold chain, Miller mesmerized fans alongside a flock of attractive female backup dancers during his brief time in Dream and Strikeforce.
Mayhem put on his most captivating pre-fight performance during his walkout for a middleweight title fight at Dream 9.
Despite having the daunting task of facing Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza that night, Miller formulated a well-synced dance routine that included a group of Japanese schoolgirls shadowing him hilariously.
3. Kazushi Sakuraba
Fans never know what brand of entertainment to expect from Japanese megastar Kazushi Sakuraba during his always electrifying walkouts.
Typically wearing a mask in honor of former Japanese pro wrestler Tiger Mask, Sakuraba made many entrances in strange outfits while strolling slowly to the ring to the sound of thumping techno music.
In one of his most imaginative entrances, The Gracie Hunter made his trek to the ring at Pride Final Conflict 2003 dressed as Mario from the 1983 Nintendo video game Mario Brothers. Once a techno version of the Mario Brothers' theme song hit the speakers, the lion's share of the fans at the packed Tokyo Dome went berserk.
And like his peers on this list often did, Sakuraba backed up his artistic theatrics with a memorable performance, submitting former UFC heavyweight champ Kevin Randleman with an armbar in the third round.
2. Tom Lawlor
There's not much longtime UFC middleweight Tom Lawlor won't try to get a laugh on his way to the Octagon.
An obvious disciple of pro wrestling, Lawlor has done many amusing impersonations during his near-six-year stretch in the UFC.
Along with nailing impressions of Hulk Hogan and Apollo Creed during previous ring entrances, Lawlor has also pulled off hysterical imitations of Steven Seagal, Dan Severn and Art Jimmerson, among others, during weigh-ins.
1. Genki Sudo
Sadly, many modern-day MMA fans have never had the pleasure of witnessing the utter spectacle that was a Genki Sudo walkout.
A kind sportsman and fierce competitor, Neo-Samurai retired shockingly in 2006 after eight years of executing tantalizing ring entrances that typically included skillful robot dances and pulsating techno grooves.
Like Lawlor, Sudo always made the most of his costumes, props and background performers.
In one of his most memorable walkouts, he paid homage to Major League character Ricky Vaughn by walking out in a baseball uniform to a rendition of Wild Thing at K-1 Premium 2003 Dynamite!!.
A skilled kickboxer and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Neo-Samurai offered equal amounts of personality and fighting talent to the loyal fanbase he built between 1998 and 2006.
Sudo has so much personality, in fact, that three years after retiring from MMA he formed the Japanese techno band World Order, which has helped to immortalize Sudo's robotic dance maneuvers.
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