Ex-RIZIN featherweight champion Kleber Koike sheds light on a recent backstage confrontation with Bellator’s renowned Patricio Pitbull and Patricky Pitbull at the Super RIZIN 2 event held last weekend in Saitama, Japan.
The Pitbull siblings took to social media immediately after the incident, accusing Koike of storming their locker room and assaulting Patricky from behind. This occurred after Patricky’s victory over Koike’s teammate, Roberto Satoshi, and Patricio’s knockout defeat to Chihiro Suzuki.
Initially, Koike chose to remain silent when approached by MMA Hook for comments on Sunday. However, after observing the Bellator fighters discuss the matter on various platforms, he decided to share his side of the story.
Koike cites mistranslation as the root cause of the brewing tension between both teams.
On his Japanese YouTube channel, Koike had posted a pre-event prediction video in which he backed Patricky to defeat his initial opponent, A.J. McKee, who was later replaced by Satoshi. He further critiqued the Freires for their support of his adversary Mikuru Asakura, over Kyohei Hagiwara, a previous trainee at Pitbull Brothers in Brazil.
Koike alleges Fernando Inafuku, a member of Freire’s crew based in Japan, misinterpreted his remarks to the Pitbull team, falsely claiming that Koike had insulted them with derogatory language.
“Firstly, there’s no Japanese equivalent for ‘b****,’” Koike stated on the Trocação Franca episode this week. “I’ve been here for two decades, and while my Japanese isn’t perfect, it’s better than his. He also claims that I said the Pitbull brothers were washed up, were only with Asakura for money. Those words never left my mouth. This Fernando was trying to stir up trouble. He’s insignificant in Japan.”
Koike was oblivious to the animosity brewing in the Pitbull brothers as he had interacted with them at the hotel during the fight week without any confrontation. He was already planning to attend the event as he was set to challenge the winner of the Vugar Karamov vs. Mikuru Asakura fight for the vacant 145-pound title.
According to Koike, he expected Patricio to defeat Suzuki, a last-minute replacement he deemed a “mismatch.” However, Suzuki knocked out Freire in the first round.
“As a spectator, I was shocked,” Koike said. “Not at Pitbull’s loss, or Suzuki’s victory, but the manner in which it happened. No one anticipated that. Suzuki became a star in Japan overnight by knocking out arguably the best non-UFC fighter. It took everyone by surprise.
“When I showed my astonishment, it wasn’t out of jubilation, but surprise, which resonated with everyone else in the stadium. Considering that I submitted Suzuki in just three minutes a month ago, wouldn’t you be taken aback too?”
Upon noticing Koike’s reaction, Patricky, who was in the ring to check on his brother, gestured rudely at Koike, walked up to him, and shoved him.
Koike reports that Bellator personnel were sitting nearby, mocking him over the incident. So he asked RIZIN officials about potential consequences for Patricky.
“It’s important to know that in Japan, assault is considered a crime,” Koike said. “Two Japanese might argue face-to-face, but they would never make physical contact. The law here states that the one who first touches the other is at fault and can be arrested. He assaulted me, and I questioned RIZIN about whether they intended to do anything.”
RIZIN executives invited him to watch the remainder of the card from a different location in response to his concerns. However, upon realizing RIZIN was unlikely to take action, he decided to confront the Pitbull brothers in their locker room during the intermission.
“They branded me a coward for attacking from behind, but that’s a lie,” Koike said. “While Patricky had his back to me, Patricio and his coaches saw me coming. I walked in asking, ‘What’s going on? Let’s sort this out. So you pushed me, huh?’ When Patricky turned around, I kicked him, and he fell. Then Patricio and I traded punches, and it turned into a full-blown fight. Judges, doctors, security, everyone rushed in.”
They were separated and escorted out of the room. Koike was asked by Sasahara to leave the venue and return home, which he did, feeling the situation had been addressed “like men.”
“They instigated the fight, and I defended myself,” Koike said. “If they want to discuss it tomorrow, that’s fine. Let’s behave like adults, sit down, and talk, which is what we should’ve done in the first place. It all began because of Fernando, their translator. This guy is terrible.”
“I’m calm and at peace,” he added. “I didn’t want to discuss it because it’s in the past now. Do I regret it? No. I stood my ground as a father, a man. This is my home. Am I proud of it? No. We strive to elevate this sport and demonstrate its integrity, and this behavior is unacceptable. The only person at risk here is me because I reside in Japan. They returned to Brazil, where such incidents may be marketable, and likewise in the United States, but it’s frowned upon in Japan.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MMA brawl
What incident occurred between Kleber Koike and the Pitbull brothers in Japan?
Kleber Koike was involved in a locker room brawl with Bellator stars Patricio Pitbull and Patricky Pitbull backstage at Super RIZIN 2 in Saitama, Japan. The Pitbull brothers accused Koike of attacking Patricky from behind after he had defeated Koike’s teammate, Roberto Satoshi.
What led to the confrontation?
The tension between the teams arose due to a mistranslation. Koike’s comments on his YouTube channel were misinterpreted by a member of Patricio Freire’s entourage, causing them to believe that Koike had insulted them.
How did Koike respond to the accusations?
Initially, Koike chose not to comment, but after witnessing the Pitbull brothers discussing the incident on social media and in interviews, he decided to speak up and share his side of the story.
What were Koike’s motives for the clash?
Koike’s emotional reaction came after Chihiro Suzuki knocked out Patricio Pitbull, surprising everyone, including Koike. He claims that his reaction was not a celebration but rather a surprised expression, given that he had recently defeated Suzuki in just three minutes.
Were there any repercussions for the incident?
Koike questioned RIZIN officials about possible consequences for Patricky’s actions, considering that assault is a crime in Japan. However, it appears that no significant actions were taken.
Does Koike have any regrets about the incident?
Koike mentioned that he does not regret defending himself, but he acknowledges that such behavior is not acceptable in Japan, where he resides. He emphasized the importance of maintaining sportsmanship and acting maturely.
More about MMA brawl
- MMA Fighting – Kleber Koike opens up about the locker room brawl with Pitbull brothers
- MMA Junkie – Kleber Koike speaks about backstage confrontation with Pitbull brothers
- Trocação Franca – Koike’s interview discussing the incident (in Portuguese)
- RIZIN Official Website (for event information and updates)
- Bellator Official Website (for Bellator fighters’ statements and reactions)