Why Akira Maeda?

Why? I don't know anything about him. I hear he's a legend in Japan. I went to Sherdog's site to find his MMA record of 0-1-0?!?

Why did they pick this guy to fight Rickson Gracie!?!

What has he acomplished?

Akira Maeda - was the founder of the Rings organisation, and one of the original old school shooters.

Although he never fought Rickson - He fought Alexander Karelin.

Its Funanki who fought Rickson.

Funaki being the founder of Pancrase and another of the original founding fathers of Japanese MMA.

You have to keep in mind that they are primarily appealing to the Japanese fans, in whose eyes Maeda is a legend. Rickson is as well.

20 years ago, Akira Maeda was considered next in line for
Antonio Inoki's spot as Japan's number one professional wrestling superstar.

Maeda's wrestling style was based on no highspots. It was all realistic mat wrestling and realistic kicks.

Maeda was one of the main people involved in both incarnations of the old UWF (Later Takada would run the Third Incarnation UWFI)

Things never really worked out for Maeda (in NJPW) as Inoki refused to put over Maeda in a worked match.

Maeda also had a famous match with Andre the Giant where Andre would nto co-operate and degenerated into a real fight that resembled Ruas vs Varelans as a little man beating a big man by repeated thai kicks to the legs until the big man toppled.

In 1986, Riki Choshu jumped from Njpw to AJPW amidst a scandle behind the scenes in NJPW's front office and led to AJPW to doing super business. While he was gone, Maeda was a top star with NJPW. Later, Choshu jumped back to NJPW for a bigger money offer. Fans didn't like
Choshu's greed and it led to a decline in business.

In a famous match in Kurokuen Hall, Maeda Thai kicked Choshu in the face breaking his orbital bone. This made him a hero in some fans eyes. It also led to him being suspended (he quit to reform the 2nd incarnation of UWF)
and put NJPW in a funny spot where they suspended him for doing a kick which is "legal" in pro wrestling. (Essentially admitting wrestling was a work and Maeda went into business for himself.)

Flash forward to early 1990's--Pancrase forms and becomes a "shoot wrestling" promotion.

Maeda Rings (aka M-Rings aka Rings) was maeda's promotion which started out with works and moved into shoots.

Bottom Line: Rickson vs. Maeda would draw lots of money from curiousity value as Maeda is a pro wrestling Hall of Famer with great mainstream recognition.

Great. So it's all about the money for the Japenese. I wonder why they don't want someone who could actually beat Rickson Gracie? Oh, that's right...that's impossible. Well then, good choice Japan!

"So it's all about the money for the Japenese."

Its all about money for every business.