Earlier this year former mixed martial artist Yoshihiro Takayama was severely injured and left paralyzed from the neck down while performing in a professional wrestling contest. During the match, Takayama attempted a Sunset Flip on his opponent, but fell on his head performing the move.
According to mixedmartialarts.com, Takayama was “diagnosed with ‘cervical spinal cord injury due to degenerative cervical spondylosis.” On August 6 it was reported that Takayama was paralyzed from the neck down. On September 4 it was reported that Takayama could breathe on his own, but the paralysis from the shoulders down was apparently permanent. A fundraiser was set up to help defray costs.’
Don Frye went to war with Takayama at Pride 21: Demolition on June 23, 2002, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. To date it is one of the most talked about and beloved fights in mixed martial arts history.
Now, Frye sents a heartfelt video message to his former opponent.
“Takayama-san, God gave me the greatest opponent anybody could ever ask for, you,” began a visibly diminished Frye. “You made the greatest fight the world has ever seen. You are the reason that our fight beat the World Cup of soccer head to head on TV. You are the image of Bushido and strength and triumph. You are the first person everyone asks about when they meet me. You are the warrior we all look to be.
“Tayama-san, if you are done with this life, in this adventure, and wish to move on, good luck. We are not ready to lose you, and let you go. Therefore we will always remember you. But if you must go sir, God Speed.”
This is a very sad situation as there is nothing that anyone can do except sit and wait. All we can do is hope and pray for the best.