Looking back at Dynamite!! USA – Part 2

Looking back at Dynamite!! USA - Part 2Looking back at Dynamite!! USA - Part 2

On June 2nd, 2007, Dynamite!! USA was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The event would feature the MMA debut of Brock Lesnar and a rematch between Royce Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba.

In Part 2 of this article, I take a look back at the fights, the drama, and DJ Hapa.

Click here to read Part 1.

Dynamite!! USA – The Event

On June 2nd, 2007, Dynamite!! USA was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It would be the first time an MMA event was held inside the stadium. Despite high expectations from FEG president Sadaharu Tanikawa regarding attendance, it was obvious the event failed to come close to Tanikawa’s expectations of drawing 100,000 people. Multiple camera angles during the event’s broadcast showed lots of empty sections throughout the 93,000 seat stadium. The attendance of the event became a story of its own later on.

Rosie Perez, Nicholas Cage, Tracey Ullman, Keyshawn Johnson, and Dennis Rodman were a few of the more notable faces in attendance from the world of sports and entertainment. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was also in attendance with the UFC Light Heavyweight title belt he had won after defeating Chuck Liddell one week earlier at UFC 71 in Las Vegas.

For the entrances, fighters appeared at the top of the steps near the east entrance of the Coliseum, walked down to the field, got on a cart, and were driven to the ringside area. The majority of these entrances lasted longer than the actual fights.

The Prelims

The event featured ten fights overall. The only unaired fight on the card saw 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling Katsuhiko Nagata vs. Isaiah Hill. Hill attacked early and landed some strikes that busted open Nagata in the opening moments of the fight before being taken down by Nagata. Nagata continued to use his wrestling skills to get the better of Hill throughout the bout by scoring takedowns and maintaining top position on the ground for the majority of the fight.

Aside from questionable calls and the usual general stupidity from referee Cecil Peoples (like standing the fighters up when Nagata had half guard on Hill), the bout wasn’t very noteworthy. The bout ended in a split decision in favor of Nagata. Nagata clearly won all three rounds, but judge Nelson “Doc” Hamilton scored the fight for Hill for some reason. Despite his scoring, it still wouldn’t have been the worst score he gave during the card. More on this later.

An hour before Dynamite!! USA on pay-per-view, EliteXC’s presentation of their portion of Dynamite!! USA aired on Showtime. Calling the action on the Showtime broadcast and pay-per-view was Mauro Ranallo, Bill Goldberg, and Jay Glazer.

The EliteXC portion of the event on Showtime started off with Tim “Big Perm” Persey vs. Jonathan Wiezorek. The opening portion of the fight saw Wiezorek holding Persey in a body clinch. At one point, Wiezorek accidentally kneed Persey in the testicles. After a break in the action due to the low blow, Persey dropped Wiezorek with some punches and got the fight to the ground for several moments. Wiezorek was able to get back into the fight when he went for a Kimura attempt towards the end of the first round.

The second round began with Wiezorek taking Persey down early. Wiezorek ended up getting the win after he finished Persey with strikes from back mount at 0:50 of Round 2. This fight didn’t have much in terms of quality or excitement. It was simply not a good start to the broadcast.

A clip of Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante vs. Nam Phan was the second bout shown on the Showtime broadcast. This fight was actually the first bout to take place on the card. Phan went into the fight with a record of 12-3. Cavalcante went into the fight with an 11-1-1 record. He had also won the 2006 K-1 HERO’s 2006 Middleweight Grand Prix. The fight itself didn’t last long. Cavalcante took down Phan, leading to some ground and pound. At 0:26 into the fight, referee Mario Yamasaki called a stop to the action despite Phan not having suffered much damage. The early stoppage received some boos from the crowd.

Closing out the EliteXC portion of the card was Jake Shields vs. Ido Pariente. The fight went to the ground in the first minute when Shields scored a takedown on Pariente. Shields wasted no time getting to mount position and controlled the fight from there for several moments. Pariente eventually gave up his back to Shields, which allowed Shields to finish Pariente with a rear naked choke at 2:06 of Round 1. From the start of the fight until the finish, it was obvious that Shields was on a higher level than Pariente.

That pretty much did it for the prelims of Dynamite!! USA. In hindsight, it wasn’t a good way to convince potential costumers to buy the pay-per-view. None of the fights provided much excitement. I could imagine if a casual fan was watching this and was thinking of buying the pay-per-view, they probably would’ve been turned off by seeing underwhelming fights taking place in a stadium full of empty seats. That, and hearing Bill Goldberg’s trying to call MMA fights isn’t very appealing.

The Opening Ceremony

The pay-per-view portion of the event began with your typical opening video package with Mauro Ranallo doing a voiceover. Aerial shots of Los Angeles and the exterior of the LA Memorial Coliseum were shown after the opening video. Then for some reason, the show went to DJ Hapa.

DJ Hapa welcomed everyone to the event. He didn’t seem to know what to say. The guy just rambled awkwardly for several minutes. He then asked the crowd if they were there to see some fights, then to “MAKE SOME NOISE!!” on two occasions. DJ Hapa informed the audience he was hosting the event. He also mentioned he was the DJ from the KTLA 5 Morning News show. It doesn’t get better from here.

During DJ Hapa’s inane rambling, the picture went to an angle showing a bunch of people rushing towards someone at ringside. It turned out to be Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. As Rampage was making his way to his seat, DJ Hapa asked the crowd to make some noise for a third or fourth time. After that, Dennis Rodman was introduced to the crowd. He entered the stadium from the west tunnel and carried a flaming torch. It looked more like a flaming baton. Bill Goldberg thought it was a stick.

Rodman took the torch into the ring and handed it to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Silva then carried the torch out of the ring while Mauro Ranallo could be heard in the background yelling about something. All I could hear from him was him saying “Jesus fucking Christ!” over and over. Silva handed the torch off to Mu-bae Choi, who handed the torch off to Hong-man Choi. He took the torch up the steps of the Coliseum to use for the symbolic lighting of the Olympic Cauldron. Choi ended up being frightened by the pyro that went off during this.

10 minutes into the broadcast, DJ Hapa introduced the 90s R&B group All-4-One, who were singing the national anthem. Following the anthem and for the fourth or fifth time in 11 minutes, DJ Hapa welcomed everyone to Dynamite!! USA. More awkwardness ensued as a shot of a trumpeter named Joey Pero was shown. He was about to play his trumpet while people stood around in the background. A production assistant had to get him to stop playing so DJ Hapa could give him a bad introduction. His intro for Pero was “My man Joey P! I want you to show them what you do! Show them what you do with that horn, man! Show them what you got!” As DJ Hapa was introducing the trumpeter, Pero stood awkwardly waiting for his cue.

After the strip club DJ-level introduction, Pero started to play his trumpet for a few moments before looking to angrily signal for his drummers to come out. After that, a small army of drummers, women in colorful outfits, people waving flags, and dudes on jumping stilts came out. This was actually fun to watch. After the performance, the dancers and musicians stood with their backs facing the audience and their arms up. DJ Hapa then announced Brad Pickett vs. Hideo Tokoro would be “time-restricted” and that there was a “time limitation.” What he meant to say was it was a swing bout. We then got the most awkward fighter parade I had ever seen in my life. The fighters came out, waved to the crowd, and walked off. DJ Hapa also butchered some of their names.

The opening ceremony continued its descent into awkward when DJ Hapa re-introduced Dennis Rodman to the crowd. They ended up booing him when he appeared at the top of the Coliseum steps. He stood around for a few moments looking confused, wondering where the microphone was. After he was handed a microphone, Rodman said a few things and ended his quick speech by saying “UFC? Hell naw! We talking about K-1!”

This wasn’t the first time that week Rodman tried to take shots at the UFC. When he was announced as the event’s special guest at the pre-fight press conference, Rodman got on the mic and said “UFC? Fuck that!” and proclaimed the UFC couldn’t compete with K-1.

While Rodman’s shots at the UFC weren’t exactly the best look, his most embarrassing moment came at the end of his quick speech during the PPV telecast. The event was sponsored by SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate holding company. The full title of Dynamite!! USA was “SoftBank presents Dynamite!! USA.” Rodman, who was supposed to say that, instead said “SouthBase presents Dynamite!” Shortly after that, Joey Pero and the drummers started to play more music while Ranallo and Goldberg tried to say nice things about the UFC.

After 23 minutes of shenanigans, Ranallo, Goldberg, and Jay Glazer welcomed the viewers to the show and talked about the card. As they were talking, DJ Hapa again welcomed the crowd to Dynamite!! USA on the house mic and re-introduced himself. DJ Hapa also yelled stuff about the UFC as Glazer was trying to hype the card. Before the fights began, Rampage was shown at ringside wearing his UFC Light Heavyweight title talking to Gary Shaw, what looked to be Gary’s son Jared, and future flat-Earth believer and 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo. Look into it.

The Pay-Per-View Undercard

The first bout on the pay-per-view was Bernard Ackah vs. Johnnie Morton. Before the fight, a video promo was played hyping Morton’s football career and transition into MMA. Before retiring from pro football, Morton had spent 12 seasons in the NFL. He also played football for the USC Trojans, who play their home games at the LA Memorial Coliseum, since there are several games this season and people even bet on it, using sites as this slot online and others.

Footage of Morton training was played while he talked about being used to the pain. He also said MMA was safer than playing football because there was only one man coming for him whereas in football you have to worry about getting blindsided by several people. Yeah.

The fight itself didn’t last long. Morton started off by rushing Ackah with some sloppy strikes, backing him into the ring ropes. Ackah answered back with several wild strikes of his own. Morton tried to take Ackah down with a double leg, but Ackah was able to stuff it. Ackah then put Morton away in 0:38 of the first round with a counter overhand punch as Morton tried to throw some punches. After the fight, Morton could be heard snoring while one person was yelling “JOHNNIE! SAY SOMETHING!” as he had a neck brace placed on him.

For some reason, Bill Goldberg thought it was necessary to try to stick up for football, baseball, and hockey players by saying they’re just as tough as MMA fighters. He rambled about preparation as Morton was being placed on a stretcher. Sometime during the post-fight formalities, Jay Glazer’s microphone was turned off as he tried to talk.

The second bout of the PPV saw “Mighty Mo” Siliga vs. Ruben “Warpath” Villareal in a Super Heavyweight fight. Mighty Mo was originally slated to face Mu-bae Choi, but Choi was pulled from the card during the week of the fight. Warpath ended up taking his place. Nicholas Cage was shown making his way to his seat with his then-wife while Warpath stood on the back of the cart for several awkward moments. Some banter between the cameraman and a production staff worker was picked up by a camera mic during this.

DJ Hapa kept rambling on the house mic during the entrances. Even Mauro Ranallo seemed annoyed by him. After Ranallo said it was time for Jimmy Lennon, Jr. to introduce the fight, DJ Hapa got on the house mic and asked the crowd “Los Angeles, how many of you out there are War…Warcraft fans? Warpath fans?” A shot of Tracey Ullman was shown after this. She looked like she might’ve been sitting next to her son, John. Maybe or may not be John was wearing a purple hoodie, glasses, and had moppy hair. Goldberg, being the cool guy that he is, went “Oh my God! What is that next to her?” when he saw the kid. John was born in 1991, which would’ve made him about 16 at the time. So technically, Bill Goldberg might’ve made fun of a looking teenager on PPV.

It should be noted that it’s been an hour into the PPV broadcast before the second fight began. The total fight time so far on the PPV was 0:38.

Mighty Mo vs. Warpath started off with both guys clinched up for most of the first minute of the fight. Mighty Mo eventually dropped Warpath and finished him with ground strikes at 1:17 in the first round. After the fight, DJ Hapa got on the mic and said asked “IS THAT IT!?” while Warpath was on the mat being checked on by ringside doctors for a possible broken orbital bone. DJ Hapa then asked the crowd “YOU WANT MORE!?” and stated, “they say that’s it!” Several more annoying comments by DJ Hapa were made after this. I can’t even emphasize how terrible this guy was at his job on this night.

The third fight on the PPV card was Melvin Manhoef vs. Dong-Sik Yoon. Despite having a strong judo background, Yoon entered this fight with a record of 0-4 in the sport of MMA. Yoon received a good reaction from the crowd during his entrance and ring introduction. Manhoef had a record of 17–3–1 and experience competing in kickboxing and Muay Thai. On paper, Manhoef should’ve walked away from this with a win.

Manhoef started off strong by dropping Yoon just 17 seconds into the fight. After swarming Yoon with some ground strikes, Manhoef ended up in Yoon’s guard where Yoon looked for an armbar. Yoon scored a takedown on Manhoef midway into the round and controlled things on the ground. Yoon also went for another armbar on Manhoef in the final minute of the round, leading to a scramble that saw Manhoef almost fall out of the ring.

The second round saw Yoon taking the fight back to the ground where he mounted Manhoef. Yoon then took the back of Manhoef and got him in an armbar to get the submission win at 1:17 of Round 2. While Yoon got a tremendous submission victory, his right eye was swollen shut. This was the best fight of the card so far. Even though he tried his best to do so, DJ Hapa couldn’t ruin it with his rambling during the first round. After the fight, the broadcast team talked about the previous fights. As they tried to analyze it, DJ Hapa started babbling on the house mic.

Up next was the swing fight (or as DJ Hapa called it, the “time-restricted” fight) between Brad Pickett and Hideo Tokoro. During Pickett’s entrance, DJ Hapa told the fans they could boo. Then he rambled some more before the ring introductions. I want to mention that there weren’t any boos during the ring introductions. DJ Hapa was so useless on this show.

The fight itself was a fun scrap. Tokoro did a nice low-single leg into an inside trip on Pickett to take the fight to the ground in the opening minute. Both fighters looked for a few submissions in a matter of seconds before they stood back up. The fight went back to the ground when Pickett missed a lunging overhand as Tokoro threw a leg kick. This caused Pickett to overextend his body while Tokoro rolled backward. From there, Tokoro went for a kneebar that he transitioned into a heel hook attempt. Both guys ended up in a scramble that saw Pickett in side control. Tokoro then got to guard while trapping Pickett’s left arm. He would use that while shifting his hips to get Pickett in an armbar, leading to a submission victory at 2:41 of the first round.

After the fight, Tokoro was presented with a trophy from Yoshiki. DJ Hapa said he’s the biggest rockstar in Japan. I’ll take his word for it.

A performance with a bunch of people playing taiko drums took place at this point in the broadcast. It was what it was. When the performance ended, DJ Hapa got on the house mic and said “ladies and gentlemen, give it up for taiko!” I guess he wanted the crowd to give it up for the instruments. DJ Hapa played some more songs and introduced himself twice in a matter of minutes. There was nothing but shots of the Coliseum for several minutes before the broadcast team talked again.

Back at ringside, the broadcast team began to talk about the headline fights. Bill Goldberg tried to analyze Brock Lesnar vs. Min-soo Kim by talking about Lesnar picking up guys like him and the Big Show during his WWE career. I know you’d have to be strong to pick those guys up, which was Goldberg’s point, but this was the dumbest fight break down I’ve ever heard next to Stephen A. Smith’s take on Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone. Jay Glazer spoke briefly about the next fight.

The Farce That Was Royce Gracie vs. Kazushi Sakuraba II

The Gracie Family is often credited with developing modern-Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and for being the pioneers of what would become known as the sport of MMA. In 1993, Rorion Gracie teamed up with business executive and entrepreneur Art Davie to help establish the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The first event was held on November 12th, 1993 in Denver, Colorado.

The original format of the UFC saw eight men fighting in a one-night tournament. Part of the motivation behind starting the UFC for Rorion was to grow the popularity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (and by extension, his family’s businesses) in America by displaying how dominant the style could be against other styles of fighting. He later enlisted his younger brother Royce Gracie to take part in the first UFC tournament.

Royce Gracie went on to win UFC 1, 2, and 4 while maintaining an undefeated record during his time in the UFC. After spending five years away from MMA, Royce joined Pride Fighting Championships in Japan and defeated Nobuhiko Takada on January 30th, 2000 to go to 12-0-1.

Kazushi Sakuraba, a professional wrestler with a background in freestyle wrestling, started his fighting career in 1996. On December 21, 1997, Sakuraba took part in UFC Japan as a late replacement for an injured fighter. He ended up winning the tournament. Sakuraba went on to fight for PrideFC. On November 21, 1999, Sakuraba faced Royler Gracie at Pride 8. Sakuraba defeated Royler after the referee stopped the fight due to Royler refusing to tap while he was in a fully locked in Kimura. It was the first loss of Royler’s career.

On May 1, 2000, Sakuraba went up against Royce in the quarterfinals of the 2000 Pride Grand Prix. The two battled for 90 minutes until Rorion threw in the towel after Royce informed his corner about the damage that had been done to his leg during the fight. This resulted in Sakuraba ending Royce’s undefeated streak. Royce ended up suffering a fractured femur.

Shortly after the fight, Sakuraba went on to become known as “The Gracie Hunter.” Sakuraba later defeated Renzo Gracie at Pride 10 on August 27, 2000, via referee stoppage due to Renzo’s arm being dislocated by a Kimura. He later went on to defeat Ryan Gracie on December 23, 2000, at Pride 12.

On June 2nd, 2007, Sakuraba would once again face Royce Gracie. Unlike their PrideFC fight in 2000, the rounds were only 5 minutes instead of 15. There would also only be three rounds instead of unlimited rounds. In the pre-fight video package, Sakuraba jokingly asked if this wouldn’t go 90-minutes again because of how rough the first bout was. The pre-fight video package also featured really goofy sound effects during highlights of the fighters’ previous fights. After the video package, DJ Hapa introduced Royce Gracie. More on this later.

Heading into this fight, Sakuraba was 38 years old. Gracie was 40.

The fight started off with Sakuraba dropping Gracie with a counter punch, leading to Sakuraba getting a dominant position for a few moments. Shortly after that, Gracie landed a nice up kick and continued throwing kicks while on his back. This went on until midway into the first round. The crowd wasn’t thrilled by this. It also didn’t help that DJ Hapa was yelling on the house mic during the fight. Sakuraba would get a dominant position again on the ground before Gracie spent the latter moments of the first round clinching Sakuraba front he back.

After the first round, the best part of the event happened. DJ Hapa kept yelling on the house microphone about the crowd needing to be lively and loud. They replied by chanting “Shut up, DJ!” before the second round began. After this, DJ Hapa went silent.

The second round saw Gracie landing single-strikes before clinching up Sakuraba against the ropes for several moments. This also didn’t please the crowd, as there wasn’t much action during this. Once they broke off, Gracie kept throwing single-strikes and went for a takedown. Sakuraba stuffed the takedown attempt and landed some strikes in a clinch before pressing Royce against the ropes until the end of the round. Gracie went for another takedown in the first minute of the third round, but again, Sakuraba stuffed the attempt. Sakuraba kept getting better positions on the ground, and both fighters were looking for Kimuras. Gracie then clinched up Sakuraba again and pressed him on the ropes for a few minutes. Once again, this didn’t please the restless crowd. The final moments of the fight saw Sakuraba try to take the back of Gracie before the fight ended.

When I first watched this fight, I thought Sakuraba did enough to win all three rounds. Watching it again, I still feel the same way. Maybe the second round could be given to Gracie if you believe him hugging Sakuraba against the ropes for two minutes won him the round, but overall, I thought Sakuraba did more to try to win the fight while Gracie mostly stalled. Jay Glazer tried to act like Gracie did more, but that just wasn’t the case.

All three judges, which included Nelson Hamilton and Cecil Peoples, scored the fight for Gracie. While I thought the decision was absurd, the scoring on Cecil Peoples’ card was the most ridiculous one as he had given Gracie all three rounds of the fight.

MMA judging has always been awful (especially with judges like Peoples and Hamilton) and this fight was a prime example of why that is. The fact that this was the way the Gracie family got their first win over Sakuraba was just sad.

But the worst part about this fight would come later on.

Brock Lesnar’s MMA Debut

After Gracie/Sakuraba, it was time for the main event of Brock Lesnar vs. Min-soo Kim. Kim was an accomplished judoka and an Olympic Silver Medalist, but his MMA record was 2-5. Lesnar had no professional combat sports experience but was an accomplished amateur wrestler during his time at the University of Minnesota. Hong-man Choi, who was supposed to face Lesnar, walked out with Kim’s cornermen.

Kim started off the fight by throwing a body kick. Lesnar easily countered it with an early takedown. When the fight got to the ground, Lesnar passed to mount position and started punching Kim as Kim tried to hold onto Lesnar’s body. The fight came to an end at 1:09 of the first round after Kim tapped to punches.

Once the fight was over, Bill Goldberg screamed in excitement like he was Joe Swanson from Family Guy. When the replays of the fight were shown, Goldberg noted that Lesnar did this all the time at the “University of Minnesota Wrestling School.” Goldberg also gloated about the fact that Lesnar was a pro wrestler. Listening to this made me feel like Goldberg was trying to live vicariously through Lesnar.

Jay Glazer entered the ring to interview Brock Lesnar. As Lesnar was doing his post-fight interview, fireworks began going off. The fireworks display was pretty tremendous though.

And that was the show.

DJ Hapa

If you go to a regional MMA event, chances are there will be a DJ playing music in-between fights. Sometimes they get on the mic and try to hype up the crowd, but it is extremely rare that you get any doing commentary during fights from them.

Dynamite!! USA wasn’t supposed to be like a regional MMA event. It was supposed a major event. DJ Hapa’s inclusion on the event really hurt FEG and ProElite’s attempt at being seen as “big league” promotions. Well, a lot of things did, but DJ Hapa was a major blemish on this show.

One of the biggest issues with DJ Hapa was his inability to properly pronounce Royce Gracie’s name. For those who don’t know, to properly pronounce Royce Gracie’s name, you say Hoyce Gracie. It’s something a lot of non-MMA fans in America don’t know, which is understandable. DJ Hapa, who was the “master of ceremonies” for the event, didn’t know this during the fighter introductions at the start oft the PPV telecast. He ended up introducing Royce by pronouncing his name “Roy-ce.”

While one could forgive DJ Hapa for making this mistake once, you can’t help but wonder if nobody on the production staff bothered to tell him how to pronounce Royce Gracie’s name properly during the card, as he ended up making the same mistake again during Royce Gracie’s entrance for the co-main event of the PPV card. Mauro Ranallo, who had expressed frustrations towards DJ Hapa during the broadcast while off-mic, lambasted him once more while off-mic by calling him an idiot numerous times.

Royce Gracie wasn’t the only name DJ Hapa butchered during the fighter introductions. DJ Hapa also mispronounced Brock Lesnar’s name, calling him “Brack” instead of Brock. I can understand not getting Royce right, but Brock?

But the biggest issue overall was the way he acted during the fights.

Let me make it clear that I’m not sure if DJ Hapa was told to act a certain way or if he did it on his own. Whatever reason why DJ Hapa acted the way he did doesn’t change the fact that he made this event a rough one to watch. The corny and obnoxious yelling during the fights was bad enough, but encouraging fans to boo, trying to rile them up, and attempting to get them to be disrespectful to the fighters was the worst part about DJ Hapa at this event.

If DJ Hapa isn’t proud of this night, I can fully understand and would forgive him. Nonetheless, the way he acted was extremely disrespectful to the fighters on the card and made the event’s organizers look like amateurs.

Dynamite!! USA’s attendance numbers

When it comes to the attendance for Dynamite!! USA, the numbers reported were all over the place. From estimates of 6,000 to claims of 54,000, it was never clear how many people were actually at Dynamite!! USA.

75,332 tickets for the event were reportedly printed. Of those tickets printed, the CSAC said 42,757 tickets were purchased for the event. The overall gate for the event was reported at $2,545,590.

Of the tickets purchased, 39,083 tickets were purchased by FEG for $2,342,500. FEG claimed to have distributed all of those tickets, but the claim was never verified. 3,674 tickets were not purchased by FEG and were purchased through Ticketmaster or the Coliseum box office. That number ended up being verified by the CSAC as the official number of tickets sold. Sales of those tickets totaled $203,090. Of the 3,674 tickets not purchased by FEG, 94 were purchased for $250. Seven were purchased for $1,000 each.

13,600 complimentary tickets were supposedly given away by the promotion. Only six of those comp tickets were used by people who entered through the turnstiles at the Coliseum. 18,975 tickets were not used.

FEG would claim 54,000 people were in attendance to the Japanese media. Some media outlets began reporting this number as well. According to the CSAC, the verified number of people in attendance was 18,340. This figure was based on attendees who got their tickets clicked while entering at a turnstile. That number became widely accepted as the actual attendance for the event and is listed on Wikipedia as such.

But on June 2nd, 2017, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’s official Twitter account claimed 23,267 were in attendance that night. With the CSAC reportedly having only counted the number of people who entered through the turnstiles and possibly missing people who entered through other entrances that didn’t have turnstiles, 23,267 could’ve been the actual number of people in attendance at Dynamite!! USA.

If the LA Coliseum’s Twitter account is correct, that would mean Dynamite!! USA holds the American MMA attendance record over UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which had 20,427 in attendance.

Drug Test Failures (a.k.a. the biggest reason why Sakuraba/Gracie II was a farce)

After getting brutally knocked out in his MMA debut, Johnnie Morton’s woes continued.

Morton had failed to provide a sample for a post-fight drug test. It was later announced a pre-fight sample that was collected the day before Dynamite!! USA came back positive for the endogenous steroid epitestosterone. Morton’s testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio was 83.9-to-1. The legal limit in California was 6-to-1. Morton had also failed to explain his actions at the request of the CSAC. He was fined $7,500 and had his CSAC license revoked. His fight at Dynamite!! USA ended up being the first and only fight of his MMA career.

Morton’s chief second, Joseph Sakoda, was fined $5,000 for telling Morton not to provide a post-fight sample and for not explaining his actions when the CSAC had requested he do so.

On June 8th, 2007, the CSAC announced Tim “Big Perm” Persey had also failed a drug test. Persey ended up testing positive for methamphetamine. He was fined $1,000 and given a six-month suspension.

On June 14th, the CSAC announced Royce Gracie had tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone.

The average levels of Nandrolone a normal person can produce naturally is 2 ng/ml. An athlete can naturally produce 6 ng/ml of Nandrolone after rigorous exercise. Both of Gracie’s urine samples showed his levels were over 50 ng/mi. His levels were so high that they couldn’t register on the calibrator at the testing lab. He was given the maximum punishment of a $2,500 fine and was suspended for 12 months. Gracie denied any wrongdoings.

While he was fined and suspended, the result of his fight against Sakuraba wasn’t overturned. At the time, the CSAC rules didn’t support overturning results based on drug test results. Nonetheless, the win remains a tainted victory to this very day.


The PPV numbers for Dynamite!! USA weren’t very good. The event only generated 35,000 buys. Between the PPV numbers and confirmed ticket sales, the event most likely made around 1.6 million in revenue.

FEG had spent over $2.3 million on tickets. The total disclosed fighter payout for the event was over $1 million. According to a May 28th, 2007 article by the Korea Times, $3 million was spent on marketing just in the Los Angeles area alone. This event cost over $6.4 million based just on those factors. Without factoring in the costs of renting the LA Memorial Coliseum, staff, production crew, the entertainers, DJ Hapa, and everything else, the total costs could’ve been massive. Based on known figures, Dynamite!! USA was obviously a major financial disaster.

On February 13th, 2008, FEG announced the discontinuation of Hero’s and the creation of a new organization called Dream with former PrideFC executives attached to the project. FEG also continued to promote K-1 events for several years. On June 28th, 2011, K-1 and many of its trademarks were sold by FEG to Barbizon Co. Ltd. Then on February 1st, 2012, EMCOM Entertainment, Inc. purchased K-1 from Barbizon.

FEG went on to declare bankruptcy on May 16, 2012.

ProElite continued on with EliteXC. Much like Zuffa, ProElite bought the rights to various promotions such as King of the Cage, Icon Sport, and Cage Rage.

Several months after Dynamite!! USA, EliteXC announced the signing of viral video star Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson. Nearly a year after Dynamite!! USA, EliteXC made its debut on CBS, making it the first MMA promotion to air an event during primetime on a major American broadcast network. The CBS debut averaged 4.85 million viewers, peaking at 6.51 million viewers. On October 4, 2008, the promotion suffered it’s biggest setback when Kimbo, who had become the promotion’s biggest star, was knocked out by Seth Petruzelli in a matter of seconds. Shortly after that, reports surfaced that ProElite began telling employees and fighters that EliteXC would be folding.

On February 5th, 2009, Strikeforce purchased various EliteXC assets such as its video library and fighter contracts.

In 2011, ProElite made its return to promoting MMA events, this time as ProElite. This didn’t last long, as the company stopped running after three events.

Final Thoughts

Dynamite!! USA was a really rough event on many levels. The fights were underwhelming for the most part. They were also mostly one-sided and not very competitive. On top of that, you had to deal with DJ Hapa being really annoying during some of the fights.

Unless you’re really interested in seeing what this show was like, I wouldn’t recommend checking it out. There are tons of fights you can watch for free on YouTube that are better than the ones on this card. There is some novelty to checking out this event, but for the most part, this is worth skipping.

About the Author

SoCal's favorite son. Won 1st Place in my division at the 2013 Gracie Worlds. 2019 East San Fernando Valley Water Champion. Keyboard Warrior.