He doesn’t get talked about enough.
For the younger fans, if you can grasp the context of how taboo mma was in the 90’s, knowing that porn was allowed on ppv but UFC was not, senator John McCain was fighting to get mma outlawed, where some praise UFC and Dana White/Fertitta brothers for saving mma, Yuki Nakai’s name often gets left out of the conversations.
If you look at his fight record, a respectable 9-2 with 7 finishes, you will notice his last fight was a loss to Rickson Gracie.
This happened in a tournament format that was open weight. Nakai fought a dirty fighter and was eye gouged. Due to facing two bigger opponents, one who fought dirty despite having a size advantage, he finished both of them but went into his 3rd fight against the bigger Rickson, with both eyes swollen.
Nakai could have opted to not fight, and get medical attention where it was determined it more than likely would have saved his eye, instead Yuki went on to fight. He ended up losing complete vision in his right eye.
If you are a newer mma fan and you’ve never heard that story, that’s good. Yuki Nakai wanted it that way.
Had he been open about his injury during that time period, he would have been made an example as to how brutal the sport of mma was. Instead, for the love of mma, Yuki Nakai remained silent, sought no glory or sympathy.
The man is a fucking legend if you think about it.