Well, we’ve always said that DREAM is basically Zombie PRIDE, and the ending of their Lightweight Grand Prix lived up to PRIDE’s sketchy standards. Shinya Aoki and Eddie Alvarez advanced to the finals early on in the night, but about an hour and a half later into the show it was announced that Alvarez would not be able to continue. The doctors had decided that a cut under his eye was too serious for him to continue.
It would be really nice to believe that the decision to pull Alvarez was made from a completely medical point of view. And when they brought Alvarez out to announce the decision, his eye did look pretty swollen and terrible. But he was still able to see out of it, and the cut was below his eye. His opponent isn’t exactly known for his striking skills, so the chances of more damage were low. So was DREAM justified in pulling Alvarez out of the tournament? Or were they trying to make it easier for Shinya Aoki to win in the finals?
If that was their plan, it didn’t work out the way they’d hoped for. Joachim Hansen, who lost to Eddie Alvarez in the last round of the tournament but won a reserve match earlier that night, came out and landed a solid shot right to Aoki’s face that caused him to roll over and give up. So once again we have a guy who already lost the tournament … winning the tournament. A similar situation occurred during PRIDE’s last Bushido tournament, where Kazuo Misaki lost in the semi-finals but was allowed to advance to the finals anyways and ended up winning the whole thing. Personally, that just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.