In its 26th year, Pancrase is introducing a Hall of Fame.
The long-standing Japanese MMA promotion has announced former strawweight king Mitsuhisa Sunabe will be the first fighter on its roster to be inducted into its famed halls.
Sunabe (29-9-4) is an 18-year veteran of Pancrase, having taken his first fight with the organisation in 2001. He spent most of his career fighting in the flyweight division and was crowned flyweight king on more than one occasion.
Before making his professional debut, Sunabe won back-to-back amateur tournaments and was crowned first generation super flyweight king of Pancrase.
Along with being the first flyweight champion, he was also the promotion’s first strawweight champion and successfully defended that belt twice.
This past weekend however it did not go his way.
The 39-year-old lost his strawweight title to rising striker Daichi Kitakata with a fifth round TKO loss.
Pancrase president Masakazu Sakai described Sunabe a great competitor, adding that he hoped he would continue to play an active role with the organisation.
Sakai added that the Pancrase Hall of Fame will honor athletes and officials who have made great contributions to Pancrase. Fetails about the program should be revealed soon.