A strong source within the Japanese MMA industry has revealed to Sherdog.com that Smackgirl’s recent financial troubles are the result of a prominent sponsor pulling its support of the promotion. According to the source, the undisclosed sponsor, thought to be an Australian-Japanese information technology company, was responsible for the funding that allowed Smackgirl to forge a relationship with BS Fuji, a digital television channel affiliated with Fuji Television, one of Japan’s six major broadcasters.
Although Smackgirl events have aired in the past on J-Sports, Japan’s ESPN affiliate, the Feb. 14 ReMix tournament opener aired on BS Fuji. However, according to the source, the aforementioned sponsor pulled its support immediately following the February card.
As a result, the April 25 Smackgirl card did not get a BS Fuji telecast. Given the costs of production and programming, the source estimates that Smackgirl may have spent in the realm of $100,000 USD to get its February event on BS Fuji, and, without sponsorship to recoup those costs, may be facing much of the bill themselves.
There’s so few avenues for female fighters to compete that the potential loss of even the dumbest of promotions is a cause for much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands. But there is some good news tucked into the bottom of Sherdog’s article: Japanese promotion DEEP is considering putting more emphasis on their female divisions. Which hopefully means they decide to add more weight divisions than the current 99 and 106 pound ones.