By Zach Arnold | February 29, 2012
It’s been a miserable two weeks, and frankly full Winter, for the (formerly) major power brokers in the Japanese MMA scene.
First, Spike TV aired edited portions of an interview with former Fedor Emelianenko & Mirko Cro Cop agent Miro Mijatovic about the yakuza scandal that destroyed PRIDE.
(Read our primer here for a full summary of the key players in the story.)
The segment was watched by over 500,000 viewers on Spike TV and shocked people in certain Japanese circles. You won’t hear about that much at all, though, because no one is publicly willing to talking about it. A source described the still-taboo topic as ‘too hot to handle’ — even five years after the death of PRIDE. Dan Herbertson, who conducted the video interview with Miro, posted the following on Twitter:
I e-mailed the producers at Spike to get the Miro & PRIDE segments fixed and hopefully get the [GeoBlock] removed. I know that quite a few members of the media in Japan have seen the MMA Uncensored segment now but no one will comment. Spike [is] aware of the issue with the Miro & PRIDE videos and are already working to restore them. Yakuza hackers maybe?
Spike TV’s MMA Uncensored program site posted three separate clips of their extended interview with Miro. There is still general disbelief about the claims made during the interview despite the fact that none of the accused parties ever filed defamation lawsuits or criminal complaints in Japan against the accusers.
Second, take a look at this DMCA complaint that was filed, resulting in this boilerplate notice. Take one look at who sent out the claim.
I will eventually view all of the audio/video of the extended interview and will make every effort possible to transcribe what was said. I’m not about to exit quietly on this front.
Speaking of exiting quietly, have you heard anything about DREAM these days? Since the New Year’s Eve event at Saitama Super Arena headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Satoshi Ishii, it has been practically silent on the DREAM front outside of some web site updates & the DREAM Twitter account greeting the UFC Japan Twitter account. With Shinya Aoki booked in Bellator & both Tatsuya Kawajiri and Lenne Hardt booked for One FC, the Real Entertainment roster of fighters now resembles more of a booking agency than a singular promotional entity. It’s safe to say that DREAM is currently in hibernation. PR/front man Sasahara says that DREAM will release an event schedule in the next week or two, but that doesn’t change the long-term facts on the ground. What cards do they have in the hole to do anything substantive?
I can’t wait for people online to start up the “Fedor is a promotional killer” talk.
This was not what I think the natives had in mind in 2012 when UFC Japan arrived at Saitama Super Arena and basically splattered the remains of the old players who want to make a come back into the scene.
I can personally assure you that the old cast of characters that got pushed to the sideline for various reasons all want back in the Japanese fight game. The problem is that they either are blocked off from getting back on broadcast television or they have made such powerful enemies that they are (temporarily) on the run. I couldn’t write a better ending to this script if I had made one up.
As for any reported attempts to sabotage Spike for the interview with Miro — quite revealing that old wounds never really heal.
(I talked about the Spike TV/PRIDE segment during my 40-minute radio interview with Jack Encarnacao on Sherdog Rewind last Sunday night. During the interview, I revealed a decade-old secret that few people knew about in regards to the NYE 2003 MMA wars in Japan.)