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DREAM 6 event fallout

By Zach Arnold | September 23, 2008

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The claimed attendance for the DREAM 9/23 Saitama show was 20,929.

Update: Sports Navigator is reporting that DREAM 6 drew a 9.0% rating on TBS, with the high QH (quarter-hour) mark showing Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Masanori Tonooka drawing a 13.4% rating. Bad numbers, as expected.

Personal commentary: If you had to ask me what the odds of Fedor fighting on NYE are as opposed to working for Affliction, I give it an 80% chance that we’ll see him on NYE in Japan as opposed to fighting in the States.

Additionally speaking, it’s becoming clear that K-1 (Ishii) wants all the major MMA players in Japan working through him or his intermediaries. The prospects of Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Hidehiko Yoshida happening makes a lot of sense, as you can clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel where WVR, Pancrase, etc. end up cooperating with whatever consolidation business move Ishii wants to happen.

I still stick by my prediction that DREAM as an MMA concept is on its last legs, if not dead, because it’s not something that Ishii built on his own accord (he was in prison, after all). I do believe K-1 will modify the DREAM concept and reshape it into an MMA promotion with Ishii’s vision and creative direction.

Topics: DREAM, Japan, MMA, Media, Zach Arnold | 19 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

19 Responses to “DREAM 6 event fallout”

  1. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    That should be close to a sellout based on the way that they normally lay out the arena for MMA…I couldn’t see it on TV, but that doesn’t sound that bad, unless it was 90% paper.

  2. Zach Arnold says:

    20,000… that’s not close to a sell-out. SSA can be configured to many different event layouts. The building can legitimately seat 35,000-40,000 max (even if more has been claimed for past events).

  3. David says:

    Dream looked packed last night. Zach, give us some predictions man, I hope MMA grows in Japan man!!!

  4. Zach Arnold says:

    K-1’s fighting for their long-term future on NYE. If they don’t pull in a strong number, they won’t get strong TV support in the future to develop any MMA projects. A lot is riding on the line on NYE. A lot.

  5. 45 huddle says:

    And with a lot riding on NYE, it will only increase their incentive to get Fedor. I almost feel bad for Affliction as without Couture or Fedor they are a sitting duck!

  6. Matt says:

    With the atrocious luck they have with their main events, and their frankly murderous matchmaking, I won’t actually be sad to see the end of them.

  7. Rollo the Cat says:

    Why would Ishii put money and effort into a failed sport like MMA when he needs to concentrate his efforts on kickboxing. Its seems that MMA was only draining talent away from kickboxing anyway, so why not just let it die?

  8. D.Capitated says:

    I just want to be clear on this. If DREAM is dead, and likely WVR will be to, given this scenario, you’re basically giving Fedor a 80% chance of fighting for K-1 on New Year’s, correct?

  9. Bryan says:

    Zach, what do you think Ishii’s plan would be? Since MMA is on such a downswing now in Japan, how would he go about getting those fans back? Huge match-ups, freak fights, and bigger promotion?

    I read on Bloody Elbow that DREAM was trying to run a show in Korea before NYE. Would this even be economically feesable?

  10. liger05 says:

    Is it a surprise to see MMA in Japan going through a downturn? Ever since I started watching pro-wrestling/MMA from Japan things have gone like swings and roundabouts. When I first started watching, New Japan was hot and filling out the Tokoyo Dome on a regular basis and it never looked like they would suddenly hit a downturn. UWFI was the hottest thing around fo a brief time and making serious money and then they hit the bad times. Pro-wrestling Noah was selling out the Dome not to long ago. The MMA boom was great and Pride and K-1 was doing serious numbers but as with other promotions that come before them in Japan it wasnt going to last for ever.

  11. Zach Arnold says:

    I just want to be clear on this. If DREAM is dead, and likely WVR will be to, given this scenario, you’re basically giving Fedor a 80% chance of fighting for K-1 on New Year’s, correct?

    In this decade, Dynamite has always been a mixed MMA & kickboxing product. Therefore, the chances of K-1 going after Fedor are pretty high. Doesn’t mean he can be their ‘ace’ on the show, but he never lost the PRIDE title.

    Zach, what do you think Ishii’s plan would be? Since MMA is on such a downswing now in Japan, how would he go about getting those fans back? Huge match-ups, freak fights, and bigger promotion?

    I would not be surprised to see Ishii consider dabbling a little bit into pro-wrestling, but through middlemen. The key to the Japanese scene is that the star-power for PRIDE came from pro-wrestling. Without pro-wrestling churning out stars now, the Japanese MMA groups have a lack of star-power. Ishii has to basically rebuild an entire industry from scratch. It will be fascinating to see how he does this — think of it like you would rebuilding an entire baseball organization from scratch (from the minors to the major league club).

    I read on Bloody Elbow that DREAM was trying to run a show in Korea before NYE. Would this even be economically feesable?

    Perhaps it is if the boys don’t get paid on time or paid at all…

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    The other problem is the advancement of the sport of MMA. Back when Pride first started, the skill level difference between a Japanese Pro Wrestler and a MMA fighter wasn’t as big as it is today.

    With MMA fighters being much more well rounded and skilled, it is much harder to just place one of the Wrestling stars into the sport and expect any sort of success.

  13. D.Capitated says:

    The other problem is the advancement of the sport of MMA. Back when Pride first started, the skill level difference between a Japanese Pro Wrestler and a MMA fighter wasn’t as big as it is today.

    Shootstyle wrestling was alive and well in Japan prior to vale tudo style rules becoming the norm, and that was the basis of many of the early fighter’s skills. The key difference is that as MMA became bigger, it totally annhilated the market for shootstyle wresting and basically forced pro wrestling to move to a more “sports entertainment” style product to survive. Since then, guys who’ve wanted to train in shoot wrestling went straight to MMA rather than making the stop in pro wrestling, as it was no longer necessary.

  14. Michael says:

    First of all DREAM 6 wasn\’t even live in Japan. So people probably new the outcome and watched it anyway. Plus DREAM is having their own NYE event its going to be called Yarennoka 2008. If you watched the whole Japanese broadcast you would of heard this.

    By the way Zach I think you have something against Japanese MMA. Every article is negative.

  15. IceMuncher says:

    It’s negative because it’s honest. It’s a real stretch to spin the current situation of Japanese MMA into something positive.

  16. Joseph says:

    I was at the event. It was configured for about 20,000 and there was about 18,000 there. I’ve been to several hundred sporting events in arenas and those visual estimates are solid.

    DREAM is still a spectacle. All the pyro, video packages, 22 fighters needing to get paid…it’s clear that DREAM is being propped up financially by people who have money to burn…or are able to get their money back thru sketchy reasons. There is no way their model is financially viable unless there have a great TV deal and are selling 20-30K seats.

    The whole operation is very disconcerting. It seems clear to me that the Yaks are still heavily involved, that they are blowing a ton of money on these shows, but since they have no interest in losing millions on each show, they are probably recouping it thru fixed fights and complicated gambling arrangements. You watch.

  17. liger05 says:

    I wouldnt say Pro-wrestling in Japan had to more more and more away from the ’shoot’ style to survive as even when the UWFI was hot, Pancrase was doing well and Rings was doing alright New Japan Pro-wrestling was still the #1 promotion and selling out the dome with Hashimoto as there star. What the MMA boom did do was it took away many of the Amatuer stars away from the pro-wrestling. K-1 and Pride could offer these guys more money than the likes of New Japan and potential stars never came through the usual route of pro-wrestling. The potential dome show on NYE could be interesting as it looks like New Japan will be working with ther promotions and Noah could be part of it as well. If this draws big then maybe that will be a sign of things changing in Japan with pro-wrestling seeing an upturn.

  18. A Bad DREAM says:

    [...] put that number in perspective, DREAM.6’s 9.0% rating was considered terrible, so I suppose somewhere between rock-bottom and atrocious would be an [...]

  19. [...] shitty late night time slot. When DREAM has it’s own primetime slot, it usually pulls between 9 and 13 percent (with numbers nearer to 9 being considered not good enough). Still, the fact that [...]

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