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He started his career in Akira Maeda's Fighting Network RINGS in 1994 after being trained by Animal Hamaguchi. He made the transition to mixed martial arts in the late 1990s along with the rest of the promotion. His tenure in RINGS was not very successful. In fact, the zenith of his notoriety came when he was beaten senseless in the backstage area by Maeda during a post match interview after losing a bout too quickly for Maeda's liking.