Emmanuel Yarbrough

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Emanuel Yarbrough
Born(1964-09-05)September 5, 1964
Rahway, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedDecember 21, 2015(2015-12-21) (aged 51)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Other namesManny
Height6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Weight600 lb (270 kg) / 882 lb (400 kg) (peak bodyweight)
DivisionSuper Heavyweight
StyleSumo, wrestling, judo
Rank     Brown Belt in judo
WrestlingNCAA Division I Wrestling
Mixed martial arts record
By submission1
By knockout1
By submission1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Emanuel Yarbrough (September 5, 1964 – December 21, 2015) was an American amateur sumo wrestler, mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor and actor. He also competed in judo, wrestling and American football.


Emanuel was coached in judo by Yoshisada Yonezuka.[1] He was recruited for wrestling and football at Morgan State University and achieved All American status in the Heavyweight class in 1983 Division II and 1986 Division I.

He was 6 ft 8 in (2.03 meters) tall[2] and has weighed up to 882 lb (400 kg), holding the Guinness World Record for the heaviest living athlete.[3] He was the 1995 World Amateur Sumo Champion and is considered to be one of the most famous sumo wrestlers outside Japan.

From 1996 to 1997, Yarbrough competed in professional wrestling for Catch Wrestling Association in Germany, where he had gimmick matches based around his sumo career. He took part in a sumo tournament against the entire staff of the promotion, being declared winner after beating everybody except August Smisl and Terminator Mastino. He later won another tournament, beating the likes of Osamu Nishimura and Jason Neidhart, Jim Neidhart's cousin.

MMA career[edit]

In 1994, Yarbrough applied to mixed martial arts promotion Ultimate Fighting Championship and took part in the event UFC 3 representing sumo. He was pitted against the much smaller Keith Hackney, a kempo representative, who opened the match by immediately knocking Yarborough down with a palm strike. Emanuel recovered, pulled Hackney towards his chest and unloaded strikes on his neck, and then literally pushed him out the cage through the door. However, when the match was restarted, Hackney knocked Yarbrough again and followed with hand strikes for the TKO. Keith since took the nickname "The Giant Killer" for this victory.

Emanuel's second MMA fight would be in Japan for the promotion Shooto. He faced Tatsuo Nakano, a former shoot-style professional wrestler whom Yarbrough outsized greatly. This time, the sumo got advantage of fighting in a ring and cornered Nakano against a turnbuckle, taking dominant position over him. When the contenders were relocated on the center of the ring, Yarbrough just shifted his abdomen over Nakano's head. Unable to get out from under his opponent and being smothered by the weight, the Japanese tapped out, giving Yarbrough his first and only victory.

His third and last match was for the Japanese promotion Pride Fighting Championships against his smallest opponent, Daiju Takase. Takase avoided engaging Yarbrough and earned a yellow card for inactivity, but a failed takedown got him positioned over Emanuel on the ground, which allowed him to hit the sumo in the head until the tap out.


He appeared in a 1997 Bollywood film Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi which features Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar and has appeared on several talk shows, as well as in a commercial for Motorola. He has also appeared on the HBO drama Oz as an inmate named Clarence Seroy. In 2000, he played himself in the German wrestling film Sumo Bruno.


On December 21, 2015, Yarbrough died at the age of 51.[4] His manager said that he had battled all his life with food addiction and "he always said, 'I am a prisoner in my own body.'"[4] By the age of 14 he already weighed 320 pounds, which he attributed to a poor diet of fried foods.[5] In 2007, he was hospitalized for a week due to heart failure, and after seeing an obesity specialist and changing his diet he reduced his weight from over 800 to around 670 pounds.[5]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 1–2 Daiju Takase Submission (punches) Pride 3 June 24, 1998 2 3:22 Tokyo, Japan
Win 1–1 Tatsuo Nakano Submission (smother) Shooto - Shoot the Shooto XX April 26, 1998 1 1:17 Yokohama, Japan
Loss 0–1 Keith Hackney TKO (punches) UFC 3 September 9, 1994 1 1:59 Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  • 1995 World Amateur Sumo Champion
  • 1992 1st Sumo World Championships Open Division 2nd Place
  • 1993 2nd Sumo World Championships Open Division 3rd Place
  • 1994 3rd Sumo World Championships Open Division 2nd Place
  • 1996 5th Sumo World Championships Open Division 2nd Place

Collegiate wrestling[edit]

  • NCAA All American, 1983, 1985 and 1986, Morgan State University


  • Second place, U.S. Nationals 1989


  • NCAA Division I-AA All-American offensive tackle, Morgan State University, 1982, 1983


  1. ^ "'Disabled' Sumo Wrestler Slimming Down to Improve Health". Fox News. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  2. ^ "EMANUEL "TINY" YARBROUGH". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  3. ^ Heaviest living athlete:
    The heaviest living athlete in the world is Sumo wrestler Emanuel 'Manny' Yarbrough, of Rahway, New Jersey, USA. He stands 2m 3cm 6ft 8in tall and weighs a colossal 319.3kg
  4. ^ a b "Sumo wrestling champ Emanuel Yarbrough dies at 51". nj.com. December 23, 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Ex-Sumo wrestler winning battle of the bulge". nj.com. November 24, 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2015.

External links[edit]