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Bob Sapp announces suit against tabloid, hints at return to ring

TOKYO (TR) – Bob Sapp, well-known in Japan as a television personality and martial artist, is taking a weekly tabloid to court over an article published two years ago.

In December, 2017, weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun published an article claiming that Sapp physically abused a female Japanese national, who was his former manager, over an extended period, a claim that Sapp denies.

On June 7, Sapp’s defense team initiated legal proceedings against the tabloid at the Tokyo District Court. “The case is for defamation of character,” Sapp said.

Bob Sapp
Bob Sapp (The Tokyo Reporter)

Nicknamed “The Beast,” Sapp debuted in professional wrestling in 2001. After that, he gained experience in mixed-martial arts and kickboxing. His most famous appearance in the ring was likely his defeat of former sumo yokozuna Akebono in K-1 Premium 2003, which garnered the highest ratings for an MMA fight in Japan.

Such exposure coincided with numerous appearances on television, whereby he would transform into his larger-than-life persona The Beast.

Later on June 7, Sapp appeared at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan to reveal what it is like to be a foreign entertainer.

During his talk, Sapp emphasized the use of emotion. “I use emotions — emotions for me transform into currency or money,” he said. “So I make my living using emotions. In Japan, some things can get lost in translation. So I have studied on how to use emotions and tonality to communicate.”

As an example, Sapp pronounced the Japanese word daijobu (meaning OK) using different voices and exaggerated poses.

Sapp last entered the ring for the Rizin Fighting Federation last year. When asked about when he may return, he cautiously said plans are underway. “It is too early to say right now,” he said, but added the television ratings for a bout in planning stages could exceed the aforementioned record.

The next hearing in the case against Bunshun will be on August 16.

Note: The Tokyo Reporter cited the claims of the above-mentioned Bunshun article in its own article in 2017. That story published by The Tokyo Reporter has been removed and retracted.