Enson Inoue

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Enson Inoue
Enson Inoue at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.JPG
Born (1967-04-15) April 15, 1967 (age 54)
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Other namesYamato Damashii (大和魂)
ResidenceSaitama, Japan
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight204 lb (93 kg; 14.6 st)
Light Heavyweight
Teacher(s)Satoru Sayama
John Lewis
RankBlack Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Fourth degree black belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu
Years active1995-2004; 2010
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout3
By submission9
By knockout5
By submission1
By decision2
Notable relativesEgan Inoue, brother
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Enson Inoue (Japanese: エンセン井上, born April 15, 1967) is a Japanese-American retired mixed martial artist. A professional competitor from 1995 until 2010, he fought for the PRIDE Fighting Championships, the UFC, Shooto, and Vale Tudo Japan. He is a former Shooto Heavyweight Champion. Inoue was featured in the documentary film Rites of Passage: The Rebirth of Combat Sports. He also appeared in the martial arts movie Redbelt.


Born and raised in Hawaii as a first-generation American with Japanese parents, Inoue began practicing the martial arts hapkido and Taekwondo in order to defend himself from bullies. Inoue also played football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, ran in track and field, and also excelled in racquetball, alongside his brother Egan. At the age of 21, Inoue began learning Gracie Brazilian jiu-jitsu.[1]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Enson's achievements include a victory over UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, and giving Frank Shamrock one of his toughest matches. Enson had an exhibition match in Mudo Spirit on September 16, 2007.

Enson and his brother were awarded black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by John Lewis. He subsequently demoted himself to purple belt in July 2016 citing that BJJ has moved on since attaining his black belt.[citation needed] He also holds a yondan (fourth degree black belt) in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and was a former College Wrestler.[2] He won the Shooto Heavyweight Title against Joe Estes on October 12, 1997. Enson appeared in the 2008 martial arts film Redbelt as a cameo role.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Enson, a Japanese American from Hawaii has a stepson (Erson) and is the brother of Egan Inoue, a mixed martial artist and a two time racquetball World Champion player.[4] He was married to the sister of Ultimate Fighting Championship Bantamweight fighter Norifumi Yamamoto in which he took in and trained Norifumi in mixed martial arts after an incident with the Yakuza.[citation needed] Enson has asserted that he is "not Yakuza" but admits to doing business with members of Yakuza.[5]

Enson runs several MMA gyms located in Japan, Saipan, Palau and Guam under the name Purebred. He also has affiliated gyms located in Thailand, Canada and the USA.[6][7][8][9]

In 2011, Enson travelled to northeast Japan to directly help the earthquake and tsunami victims in areas such as Fukushima.[10]

In 2020, news broke that the IBJJF had refused to recognise Inoue's official rank as a BJJ black belt, despite him competing at the highest levels of the sport as early as 1999.[11]

Marijuana arrest[edit]

In October 2008, Inoue was arrested in Tokyo for marijuana possession and spent 28 days in prison before being released on November 14, 2008. The charges against him were eventually dropped.[12]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
19 matches 12 wins 7 losses
By knockout 5 4
By submission 7 1
By decision 0 2
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 12–8 Antz Nansen Submission (armbar) Astra: Yoshida's Farewell April 25, 2010 1 2:10 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 11–8 Tommy Sauer TKO (punches) SB 35: SuperBrawl 35 April 16, 2004 1 4:14 Hawaii, United States
Win 11–7 Soichi Nishida Submission (choke) FFCF 1: Fury Full Contact Fighting 1 January 10, 2004 1 1:00 Guam
Loss 10–7 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Technical submission (triangle choke) PRIDE 19 February 24, 2002 1 6:17 Saitama, Japan
Loss 10–6 Heath Herring TKO (knees) PRIDE 12 December 9, 2000 1 4:52 Saitama, Japan
Loss 10–5 Igor Vovchanchyn TKO (doctor stoppage) PRIDE 10 August 27, 2000 1 10:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 10–4 Mark Kerr Decision (unanimous) PRIDE Grand Prix 2000: Opening Round January 30, 2000 1 15:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 10–3 Soichi Nishida Submission (rear-naked choke) PRIDE 5 April 29, 1999 1 0:24 Nagoya, Japan
Win 9–3 Randy Couture Submission (armbar) VTJ 1998: Vale Tudo Japan 1998 October 25, 1998 1 1:39 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 8–3 Frank Shamrock TKO (punches) VTJ 1997: Vale Tudo Japan 1997 November 29, 1997 2 7:17 Tokyo, Japan
Win 8–2 Joe Estes TKO (submission to punches) Shooto: Reconquista 4 October 12, 1997 1 1:06 Tokyo, Japan Won the Shooto Heavyweight Championship.
Win 7–2 Royce Alger Technical Submission (armbar) UFC 13 May 30, 1997 1 1:36 Augusta, Georgia, United States
Win 6–2 Rei Zulu TKO (elbows) Shooto: Reconquista 2 April 6, 1997 1 0:45 Tokyo, Japan
Win 5–2 Mushtaq Abdullah TKO (submission to punches) Shooto: Let's Get Lost October 4, 1996 1 0:38 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 4–2 Igor Zinoviev TKO (punches) VTJ 1996: Vale Tudo Japan 1996 July 7, 1996 1 0:44 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 4–1 Joe Estes Decision (majority) Shooto: Vale Tudo Junction 3 May 7, 1996 3 8:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 4–0 Andre Mannaart TKO (punches) Shooto: Vale Tudo Junction 1 January 20, 1996 1 3:20 Tokyo, Japan
Win 3–0 Ed de Kruijf Technical Submission (armbar) Shooto: Complete Vale Tudo Access July 29, 1995 1 1:40 Japan
Win 2–0 Rene Rooze Submission (rear naked choke) VTJ 1995: Vale Tudo Japan 1995 April 20, 1995 1 6:41 Japan
Win 1–0 Shingo Shigeta TKO (punches) Shooto: Vale Tudo Access 3 January 21, 1995 1 1:10 Tokyo, Japan

Submission grappling record[edit]

Result Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Notes
Win Tully Kulihaapai Submission (armbar) PRIDE 7 1999 1
Loss Mario Sperry Points ADCC 1999 Absolute 1999 1


  1. ^ "Enson Inoue".
  2. ^ "But Enson has trained in the Bujinkan arts with myself and Anthony Netzler now for at least 9 years. I gave him his Yondan in the Bujinkan. ""'Enson Inoue and the Bujinkan,' Kutaki no Mora". Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  3. ^ "Inoue On Red Belt MMA Movie, R-1 Training & More". mmanews.com. 2007-05-31. Archived from the original on 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  4. ^ "Hawaii Martial Arts News & Rumors - Dedicated to Hawaii-Specific Martial Arts News & Rumors". www.onzuka.com.
  5. ^ Hody Jae Huh. Up Close and Personal with Enson Inoue Part I
  6. ^ "Interview: Enson Inoue & George Sotiropoulos (Part Two)". total-mma.com. 2008-05-02. Archived from the original on 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  7. ^ "Purebred USA". purebredusa.com. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  8. ^ "Purebred". Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  9. ^ "Purebred Canada". grizzlygym.com. 2010-05-02. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
  10. ^ "Enson Inoue Discusses Charity Work". mmafighting.com. 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
  11. ^ https://jitsmagazine.com/ibjjf-refuse-to-recognise-enson-inoue-as-a-black-belt/
  12. ^ "MMA pioneer Enson Inoue a new man after 26 days in prison". November 30, 2008.

External links[edit]