FEG held a press conference in Japan yesterday to announce a charity DREAM event in May – a bantamweight tournament featuring some of the best 135 pounders from Japan. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s practically the exact same event former PRIDE head Sakakibara was planning to hold, right down to the ‘Japan Cup’ name.
While Fighters Only thinks this is FEG stepping in and stealing the latest Zombie PRIDE’s thunder, The Fight Nerd claims Sakakibara was at the FEG press conference (not pictured above) and will have a ‘behind the scenes advisory role’:
Officials from K-1, FEG, and even ZST were in attendance, along with Kazushi Sakuraba and former Pride FC owner Sakakibara, who came to discuss this group effort to revive Japanese MMA in the wake of a number of problems within the sport, including the devastating earthquake that caused many MMA events to be cancelled (which is the least of the country’s problems). The catch phrase of this press conference was “We are all working together, we are all going to try real hard, and we will make it.”
The cool thing about the event is it will feature the first and second round of the tournament on the first night, with the finals being at a separate event. This seems a lot smarter than doing the semis and final on the same night – not only do we get the thrill of two rounds in one night, but a fresh final with healed and gassed up opponents.
Past that it sounds like this is going to be a bare bones event, with a 7000 person arena setup and minimal fanfare:
DREAM also made a point of announcing that the event would be as efficient as possible in terms of energy usage, with event producer Keiichi Sasahara saying it would use “minimal production and minimal light in it, [and] will be held in such a manner as possible without wasting electricity.” That, of course, is a solemn nod to the ongoing problems in the wake of the nation’s crisis.
And also ends up giving some fortunate relief to DREAM’s empty wallet.
It’s nice to hear that DREAM is back, I guess. But considering FEG’s got a seriously bad habit of stiffing their fighters for money, it almost makes you wish it was Sakakibara with his sketchy past and Yakuza connections throwing the event instead. Yep, that’s how bad things have gotten in Japan – the field of promoters is lamer than the current batch of Republican presidential hopefuls. Which is an impressive feat indeed!