Information about Fighting Network Rings

  • Fighting Network Rings, better known as RINGs, was formed in early 1991 by Akira Maeda after the closing of the second UWF.

  • While the company promoted itself as real fighting with competitors from various martial arts (similar to early MMA), the matches were worked. However, in the late 90s, competition from true MMA promotions forced the company to start booking several real matches on each card and eventually going to an all shoot format. Because the style was more realistic than the other shoot style promotions and became more so as time progressed, it is sometimes difficult to determine which matches were worked and which were not.

  • With only Mitsuya Nagai joining Maeda, the first year year saw the promotion book many unknowns including young Japanese wrestlers and Dutch martial artists. The second year saw numerous new fighters from Russia and other east European countries added to the mix. In later years, as the promotion progressed to the all shoot format, top MMA fighters from Brazil, the U.S., and the rest of the world.

  • Something unique among the Japanese shoot style promotions was the running of RINGs events in other countries. Maeda's company itself didn't promote the shows directly, but allowed it's fighters to promote shows in their home countries. The early non-Japanese shows included many RINGs regulars supported by local fighters. Eventually the shows would be mostly local fighters with the only RINGs regulars being the local ones. Like the Japanese events, the foreign shows went from a mostly worked format in the early and mid 90s to all shoot events in the late 90s.

  • Like many other wrestling companies, the end of RINGs can be attributed to the inabaility to make new stars. The company was carried for years by the popularity of Maeda. When he retired, early in the transition from a worked to shoot promotion, interest wained mostly because the company's Japanese fighters didn't fair well in the all shoot format. Compounding this problem was the rise of Pride which was producing spectacular live events on network TV. The success of Pride was directly related to it's creation of Japanese stars both due to their own fighting ability and careful booking.

  • The RINGs name continued long after Maeda's original company closed. Events in the Netherlands and Lithuania continued through 2007. Maeda re-opened a Japan based RINGs company in 2008 with the goal of promoting "amateur" MMA.

  • Note that only events occurring during the run of Maeda's original company are listed on this site.