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Don Quijote ends relationship with Sengoku; Enterbrain ends publication of kamipro

By Zach Arnold | March 10, 2011

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A note on the official Sengoku web site labeled as an urgent report claims that the promotion is at a serious crossroads and that the organization is distressed. The note says that Don Quijote has pulled all of their financial support from the company. Don Quijote was backing the company fully, including office headquarters. The note says that a lot of money was lost and that rather than stay in the ball game, Don Quijote left and that the ‘heartless mass media’ comments made about them didn’t help matters.

Sengoku’s note claims that Don Quijote will continue sponsoring other MMA organizations but that everything is under further review.

The company’s note, bizarre in nature, says that if they cannot find a sponsor to replace Don Quijote’s absence, then the fans must prepare for the company to collapse.

Here are the thoughts of Tony Loiseleur on the health of Japanese MMA:

As many of you have noticed, my story on the troubles & changes in the Japan Shooto Assoc went up recently on Sherdog:

There are things I’d like to editorialize a bit on that I couldn’t fit in or just wrote poorly about, though. First, despite the petition and allegations, Taro Wakabayashi has not been wholly detrimental to Shooto. He has done many great things there. Shooto’s success is in raising guys frm amateur ranks to pro. Wakabayashi developed & ran the world’s most comprehensive am system in Shooto. Thus, he’s partly responsible for many of today’s JMMA stars. It was a job he took so seriously, he overworked his way to a stroke last October.

Second, despite the lack of good news from JMMA recently, I didn’t intend my piece to be a “more reasons why JMMA is doomed”-type work. Mostly due to poor writing, I meant to report a recent event (the petition) & its effects (vast structural change), which I found intriguing. Third, re: the changes, what I personally found intriguing was the idea of bringing the Unified Rules of MMA and a cage to Shooto.

Third, re: the changes, what I personally found intriguing was the idea of bringing the Unified Rules of MMA and a cage to Shooto. Some reaction to that has been negative in that bringing either would be a loss of identity by UFC-ifying Shooto. I couldn’t disagree more. While I feel a cage at Korakuen Hall may be a stretch, the abolition of Shooto gloves, 5-rd title bouts, & unif. rules weight divs are great. Thus, Shooto is reshaping its physical pedagogy in a way that future fighters will be ready for entry into promotions like the UFC. This will hopefully lead to advances in training, weight-cutting, & gameplanning often commented on.

To sum up: Wakabayashi helped make & ran the most comprehensive amateur system in the world. It’s why Shooto has produced so many great fighters. That amateur system, together with the intro of unified rules, can only help prep future JMMA fighters for top level international competition. Thus, I think Shooto & JMMA are far from finished. We’ll have much to look forward to as fans in what I think will be a bright future ahead.

Sports Navigator (Yahoo Japan) reports that Enterbrain will end publication of kamipro magazine.

Thoughts and best wishes to all those in Japan and in areas where earthquake/tsunami damage has occurred.

Topics: Japan, Media, MMA, Sengoku, Zach Arnold | 60 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

60 Responses to “Don Quijote ends relationship with Sengoku; Enterbrain ends publication of kamipro”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    Down to 3.1 organizations. The .1 being DREAM on life support.

    It is likely to be down to 2 by the end of the year.

    It’s already nice to see a lot if the Japanese talent being forced to fight stateside.

    • Chromium says:

      I don’t know if it’s nice to see a lot of Japanese fighters “forced” to fight stateside. I like the idea of a less dispersed talent pool, and the upcoming April StrikeForce card looks really good, but this is not the best outcome for MMA imo. JMMA needs a central home promotion for local talent to shoot for.

      I really hope a new promotion is able to rise from the ashes of Sengoku and Dream, something smaller and leaner, that partners with the major Japanese indies, and focuses on smaller weight classes (and women’s fights for that matter), with no LHW or HW divisions (or at least no championships in those divisions). Something like that might be sustainable, and keep JMMA more active. JMMA has produced a lot of great domestic talents, while giving an option to top fighters from abroad who don’t want to be bound to one promotion like in the UFC, and I don’t want to see that die unless the UFC is prepared to truly pick up the ball and go even further to be a global company, and promote regular shows in Japan (like four or more times a year) while promoting fights in all 12 competitive divisions, male and female (I’m not counting Men’s Strawweight or Women’s Minimumweight).

      There might still be a Phoenix that rises from the ashes here, but I doubt it.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Japan has Pancrase, DEEP, and Shooti to create talent. Those are their feeder leagues. But it’s pointless seeing that talent pushed into another Japanese organization when we have seen that it is never taken seriously on a sports level. Even the Japanese fighters have talked about how the UFC treats it more like a sport. On the national Japanese level that just won’t happen.

        So as long as the feeder systems are in place, I’m happy with nobody replacing DREAM or Sengoku. The best talent can fight for the UFC or Strikeforce. Bellator won’t be around long enough to really do much in this category.

  2. Chuck says:

    It was only a matter of time until the “financial backers” (read: money marks) were gonna pull out.

    So, when Sengoku and DREAM die off, what promotion will be number one in Japan? It’s between Pancrase and DEEP at this point, right?

    When it comes to combat sports overall, number one, without a shadow of a doubt, is New Japan Pro Wrestling.

  3. Garret says:

    It’s over. They’re granting any fighter their release if requested.

  4. Mr. Roadblock says:

    Sengoku was so meaningless will Dana even add it to his graveyard?

    • Chromium says:

      He added Bodog to his graveyard, and Sengoku was a hell of a lot more meaningful. Then again the owner of Bodog called Dana White out at one point, and basically threw down the gauntlet.

      • Steve4192 says:

        “He added Bodog to his graveyard, and Sengoku was a hell of a lot more meaningful.”

        Are you kidding?

        Bodog was the first company to stiff-arm the UFC on landing Fedor. They also featured guys like Eddie Alvarez, Chael Sonnen, Roy Nelson, Cain Velasquez, Mike Brown, Matt Lindland and Jorge Santiago. Not to mention they were the first MMA promotion to get a broadcast TV deal (albeit a shitty one) and they ran a PPV in Zuffa’s home market (albeit a failed one).

        They were WAY more significant to Zuffa’s business than Sengoku ever was.

  5. Nottheface says:

    Zach, any thoughts about Sakakibara and Kato putting together a BW tournament April 18th?

    And there were reports that the Strikeforce ppv for Fedor vs Bigfoot did better than they had predicted. What I want to know is what does that even mean? Is it slighly better than a pittance? An actual revenue stream? Any idea?

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Zach, any thoughts about Sakakibara and Kato putting together a BW tournament April 18th?

      As I said before, the cock roaches never go away. But this time, without TV support, it will be hard to see their impact on a large scale.

      And there were reports that the Strikeforce ppv for Fedor vs Bigfoot did better than they had predicted. What I want to know is what does that even mean? Is it slighly better than a pittance? An actual revenue stream? Any idea?

      PPV on SkyPerfecTV Japan has never been big. In past Fedor fights, M-1 got international rights for his fights and they tried the Japanese PPV route.

  6. […] read Japanese, let alone translate it beyond Google’s crummy translator, here’s Fight Opinion’s Zach Arnold with a more detailed summary of the official release. A note on the official Sengoku web site labeled as an urgent report claims that the promotion is […]

  7. Chromium says:

    Zach, about how long would you guess Sengoku has until they officially collapse? I’m just wondering because I have a feeling that Hioki and some of their other few remaining stars and relevant fighters might not leave the organization until that happens.

    Also, I take it that the chances of another sponsor stepping in for Don Quixote are like under 2%, right?

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Zach, about how long would you guess Sengoku has until they officially collapse? I’m just wondering because I have a feeling that Hioki and some of their other few remaining stars and relevant fighters might not leave the organization until that happens.

      They may run some Korakuen Hall or JCB Hall-type events in 3,000 seat buildings, but I say it takes a year before the fumes are completely evaporated. I suspect they may start booking their guys on other shows just to get rid of contracts.

  8. TheJudge says:

    Any word as to what caused the sponsorship drop? “Don Quijote” lands a lot of hits, what kind of company is it anyway?

    • The Gaijin says:

      I think it’s like a Japanese Target or Wal-Mart…discount shopping store that carries groceries, clothes and electronics, etc.

  9. 45 Huddle says:

    I’m having an issue DVR’ing Bellator this season.

    I set it up to record the entire season but then noticed tomorrow’s show is not listed as a future recording. Took me a few minutes to figure out why….

    Last weeks episode was labeled “Bellator Fighting Championship 35”. This weeks episode is labeled “Bellator Fighting Championship 36”. Because they are being called by their show numbers, it makes it impossible to set it up to record the entire season. I have to do it manually every week. I could record the time slot, but they are changing their times every week so that will fail too.

    I wonder how many other cable companies this will happen in. This can’t be good for Bellator.

  10. Zheroen says:

    Speaking of the earthquake/tsunami, Yoshihiro Akiyama has pulled out of next weekend’s UFC 128 fight against Marquardt.

    Strikeforce’s April 9th card would be in dire straits if Kawajiri and Aoki followed suit.

  11. 45 Huddle says:

    Mma fighting is reporting that Zuffa bought Strikeforce. No joke.

    Time to let Bellator go away and then in about a year when things settle we need a fighters union!

    Good news for the sport. All of the best will now fight each other.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Just read that and came here to see if anyone else heard. Huge news.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Watch White’s interview with Ariel. Weird stuff.

        SF will still be run by Scott Coker. UFC will still try and sign fighters away once their contracts come up.

        I think Showtime wanted Championship Clauses on the fighters. So this is Zuffa’s work around. When fighters contracts come up…. Like Gilbert Melendez, they don’t have to enforce te clause an instead sign him over.

        And Showtime wasn’t in on the deal.

        It’s just a weird interview. They can’t close down SF because of their contracts but I think it’s obvious that they are going to gut it eventually.

        And I wonder if this is why the GP was delayed.

        Alan laughed at me within the last month because I said the wild card is always that Coker doesn’t own the entire company. I bet he got rich off the deal.

        The biggest long term losers are Fedor, Barnett, and Daley.

        • nottheface says:

          The deal implies Strikeforce was doing good and that Zuffa paid them a ton not to topple the model they’d built. Now they don’t have to worry about a competitor airing potential ppv and driving up labor costs.

          I’m of very mixed feeling about this. On one hand it’ll they’ll be some great matchups. On the other had this seems to be a clear were Zuffa is creating a monopsony and for which anti-trust laws are on the books.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          1) Zuffa is still competing with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, movies, concerts and every other form of entertainment. If they can’t give fans what they want, they can’t sell a $45 PPV. Not to mention the point of entry into MMA is still easy. So it’s not a monopoly.

          2) If SF thought they could make money they wouldn’t be selling. Fedor losing killed their PPv dreams for the 3rd time and they wanted out.

          3) I expect Internet traffic to be down as some fans always wanted to route for the underdog. Now that is gone. The fans of the sport will stay.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Absolutely agree that’s the reason they didn’t just merge, it would be contractual hell and require them having to deal with Showtime. I wonder if they’ll keep SF around as a feeder/back to the drawing board promotion. They’ve got a good brand name and nice Tv contract until 2012.

          @Roadie -As for Fedor I have an awful hard time believing M1 would have allowed SF to have the leverage to be able to cut Fedor. They’ll have to have him fight out the contract or I could really see him retiring OR the other wild card would be them taking their ball and going home aka he’ll just fight on M1’s Showtime card.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “1) Zuffa is still competing with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, movies, concerts and every other form of entertainment. If they can’t give fans what they want, they can’t sell a $45 PPV. Not to mention the point of entry into MMA is still easy. So it’s not a monopoly.”

          You’re mixing ideas here. No the UFC is not a monopoly on the consumer end, but if the consolidation continues they would likely be considered to be a monopoly in terms of a buyer of high level mma talent. The only reason the NFL, NBA, NHL get away with monopoly is because they have unions to deal with, and a union can’t claim monopoly…look at the NFL, they are sh*tting themselves now that the union has decertified and I think if it ever goes all the way they’ll determine pro sports leagues to be a monopoly. MLB is the only league that’s protected from antitrust if I recall correctly.

        • LOL, you’re taking credit for guessing that Zuffa would buy Strikeforce?

          I’m exceedingly happy. Best possible thing for MMA.

        • nottheface says:

          I didn’t write monopoly, I wrote monopsony. Related, but different principles.

      • mr. roadblock says:

        My first thought is UFC took over the SF deal to get itself onto CBS. I bet that’s the end game of all this.

        I bet they cut and resign Fedor.

        Hope they get rid of the lousy women’s fights.

        SF only has about 8-10 interesting fighters and does a lousy live business. I imagine this deal revolves heavily around UFC getting on broadcast TV. I bet the Versus shows go away because that seemed like a parlay to get onto NBC. The Versus shows don’t rate very well, I bet we see them go bye bye.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Interesting ideas. There are definitly reasons they are doing things that he isn’t saying.

          They might also want to buy Bellator before they dissolve SF. That way Showtime can’t use them once SF’s contract is up.

          I highly doubt Zuffa will stay with Showtime long term. They can’t stand them. Which means Showtime loses MMA unless they want to sign M-1 or some other 3rd tier company and try to build fromthe bottom with no free agents available.

  12. mr. roadblock says:

    The question now is will the anti-UFC crowd drop Werdum and Overeem from their ludicrous spots in the Top 10 rankings?

    I hope I get to see my Nick Diaz dreamfight series:

    Sanchez II
    A Johnson

  13. BuddyRowe says:

    I don’t believe that Dana is claiming that the UFC and SF will still compete for Fighter Contracts. It makes no sense to drive up the price of a fighter by competing with yourself.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      They won’t compete. It’s just his way of gutting SF and getting around their current contractual obligations….

      • mr. roadblock says:

        45 is right.

        Remember when they bought WEC and said the leagues would compete head to head. I forget if it was Reed, but someone from WEC said it was going to become a bigger, better brand than UFC.

        There’s a lot more to this story. Because Showtime has already shown disloyalty to SF and has appeared to be angling to replace Coker for the past six months. I bet the Silicon Valley guys pulled the trigger. Maybe UFC will get that building in San Jose for cheap too.

        UFC obviously gets the SF library which suggests the UFC channel deal could be getting closer.

  14. mr. roadblock says:

    In the Helani interview Dana contradicts himself and it isn’t followed up on.

    Early on Dana says that for Zuffa’s global plans to work they need more fighters and more fights. They’re going to China, India, etc.

    Then he keeps saying SF will run separately from UFC and it’s business as usual.

    That doesn’t jive, because it doesn’t give UFC more fights and more fighters. It maintains the status quo.

    My conclusion is that similar to the WEC deal where Zuffa waited out the WEC TV deal then merged the company, the SF deal will be the same.

    But maybe Zuffa and Showtime make nice and start running some of the foreign shows on Showtime.

    • The Gaijin says:

      It’s probably all just lip service that some lawyer told them they had to say to keep them from getting sued by contractual partners of Strikeforce (or providing ammunition for litigation later – “Hey! We said the whole time we were operating business as usual”.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        I can see it now…. In one year.

        “We tried to run them as seperate entities but we found our business was best served by combining them.”

        White & Fertitta already know that having 2 brands doesn’t work. They have tried it with Pride (epic failure) and WEC (mixed bag at best). They aren’t going to make the same mistake a third time.

        They just don’t have the roster space for the SF guys right now. All that will happen is that they will weed down the SF talent through smart matchmaking and then send the top talent over when they can legally get away with it.

        Hopefully they keep Coker, who can help just like Reed does.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Yup – probably a big part is the relationship with Showtime, can’t say/do anything until the contract is up unless they want to get sued. DW must be grinning from ear to ear that he’ll be able to wave it in the Showtime guys faces that they’ll be paying to make him stars that they’ll have nothing to do with in 18 months.

        • Michaelthebox says:

          PRIDE isn’t a fair comparison; that organization was dead when they bought it, there was no chance of success with the brand. The WEC brand, in all honesty, was never a good brand, and Versus is a terrible channel for MMA (I honestly don’t understand Zuffa’s obsession with it).

          The WEC being absorbed was basically a given from minute one. Strikeforce, on the other hand, is a much better brand name, a more interesting brand, on a network that actually pays money. Although the smart money is still on the UFC absorbing Strikeforce, I think there is a real chance of Strikeforce sticking around for the long run.

    • Michaelthebox says:

      Nothing contradictory. If Strikeforce goes all around the world holding cards, that furthers Zuffa’s goal of world domination.

  15. bluerosekiller says:

    I learned the news a little over an hour ago & I still haven’t picked my jaw up off the floor.
    Damn. What a shocker, huh?
    Well, congrats 45 Huddle. You FINALLY got your wish you f**ker.

    OK, I’m joking with the malice.
    Honestly though, it will be interesting to see how your attitude toward Strikeforce changes now that it’s Zuffa owned.
    As for Dana’s assertion that things will remain “business as usual” though & that he & Coker will actually be bidding against one another for fighter’s contracts etc., like you, I don’t believe it for a minute.
    Dana & the boys haven’t spent the past decade plus building the UFC brand in order to suddenly have it share the billing with Strikeforce under the Zuffa banner.
    Zuffa IS the UFC & IMO Strikeforce will become exstinct somewhere down the line just like Pride & the WEC did.
    Like you said, probably as soon as the current TV deals & contracts are up.
    As for there being no “superfights” in the future…
    Once the ink on the paperwork is dry & everyone has an opportunity to digest the deal & think, plot & plan the direction of this thing, I believe we’ll begin to hear Dana contradict himself on a lot of what he had to say today. Probably even sooner than we think.

    Now normally, I think Halwani does an excellent job, but I really wish he’d have asked about the Heavyweight Grand Prix. I’m hoping that it falls under the “business as usual” heading that Dana kept repeating, but still, it would have been nice to hear it addressed.
    Not that I’m too worried about it, Coker & company must be under some contractual obligation to Showtime to complete it.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      It’s not over yet but it’s getting closer. Bellator needs to go away. DREAM needs to admit defeat. SF needs to be fully gone (which is just a formality at this point).

      And then MOST importantly…. Once the dust clears and the UFC has full power in the sport and has worked out their kinks…. It’s time for the fans, media, and fighters to push for a UFC Fighters Union….. It will allow the best to fight each other but still give the fighters some power.

  16. 45 Huddle says:

    According to Josh Gross:

    “The UFC/Strikeforce split is all about contracts. Once they’re fulfilled with Showtime, I’m told a WEC type merger is planned.”

    According to mmalogic…. Who a month ago said SF was shopping around for buyers….

    Mayhem Miller is likely the first guy to go to the UFC. Roger Gracie is the 2nd and they want him in time for the Brazil show.

    And Henderson has said he has one fight left on his contract and is open to going back to the UFC.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And Paul Daley is threatening to pull out of the Diaz fight now that Zuffa owns it.

      Which will cement his complete demise. If he keeps on winning he has a chance at getting back into the UFc as the SF champion. If he pulls this, he is forever blackballed.

      Pure speculation on my part. I wonder if Barnett will be dropped from the GP now….

      • Tomer says:

        Does Daley seriously think he’s getting a better payday elsewhere by pulling out vs. Diaz? He’s a fool and what better way to go ‘F you!’ than to batter everyone in StrikeForce to try and force Zuffa’s hand in bringing him back despite his sucker punch which got him canned to begin with?

  17. Jeff says:

    If EA Sports still wanted to make a sequel to their MMA game despite the poor sales, I think this may have just killed those aspirations.

  18. EJ says:

    And here I thought that this was joint going to be a pretty slow mma news day with only Bellator running a show then boom Zuffa drops another bomb.

    Showtime must be pissed, basically the UFC is going to use them to pay for fighters contracts then when they are done they will fold the company and leave them SOL. It once again shows how far ahead The Fertittas and Dana are when it comes to running a business.

    Things just got a whole lot more interesting I expect alot of angry fighters and executives over the next few days, because they know they don’t have a future in the new SF for too much longer.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Yeah but Showtime is taking over the combat sports world!! Lol.

      They just got beat by the UFC in MMA. They are about to feel the wrath of HBO for stealing Manny for a fight. Showtime will be back exactly where they started. With marginal boxing that nobody cares about.

  19. PizzaChef says:

    I checked Dan Henderson’s twitter. He channeled the spirit of Charlie Sheen in response to reuniting with Dana.

  20. bluerosekiller says:

    Another thing that’s going to have to be discussed & SOON, is the differences in the cage shape & size, as well as the rules.
    Even in the off chance that Zuffa does keep Strikeforce alive for any longer than they’re contractually obligated to ( which, again, I seriously doubt ), I strongly believe that they should adjust the rules accordingly with the UFC’s. To NOT do so makes no sense in my book.
    While I’m not of the same opinion as Dave Melzer & 45, that the differences are so extreme that they’re basically two different sports ( though to be fair to him, if I remember correctly, 45’s point was with regard to the level of comp. & the way in which fights were made “on the fly” which I’m assuming shouldn’t be such an issue with the influx of Zuffa bucks ), I think they should begin to operate under unified rules ASAP.
    The cage issues can be worked out later, though the adoption of the octagon only makes sense too.
    Anyone disagree?

  21. bluerosekiller says:

    45, hate Showtime much? LOL

    Seriously though, what happens if while having to do business with Zuffa over the next couple of years, they decide all of a sudden that Dana’s the new Sexy Beast & they want to turn this hot sheet fling into a virtual marriage bed?
    Think about it, if they go “all in” with Zuffa & manage to score the long awaited premium cable rights to the UFC, they might just finally become the top dog in combat sports that HBO has claimed to be for so long.
    Maybe. Maybe not.
    Stranger things have happened.

    Besides, though HBO may still have many of the biggest names in boxing, IMO ( & in the opinion of many fans & most of the boxing press ) Showtime has been putting on the better fights for a couple/three years now.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      HBO & Showtime are not good channels for the UFC. Ive always thought this. Not enough potential eyeballs.

      Besides, with the football strike…. If it continues into the season…. The UFC will be on Network TV. A far better avenue.

  22. I don’t know how many times I said it, but I’ve long said that Strikeforce only existed because the UFC was willing to let them through their business model. I also said, god knows how many times, that if the UFC were willing to take out Strikeforce, they could do it in the snap of Dana’s fingers. They did, and we’ll all be better off for it. Best possible news the sport could have ever seen.

    Also, its obvious why the UFC isn’t going to do cross promotion: If they start doing cross promotion, it ties their hands with the ability of Showtime to make demands on the booking of fight cards. Will Showtime be able to force Zuffa to cross promote by vetoing lesser cards? I guess we’ll find out the answer to that soon. Its not like the UFC hasn’t screwed up doing due diligence in the past.

    • EJ says:

      The idea of Showtime forcing Zuffa to do anything is pretty funny. Like Dana said it’s business as usual for about 2 years then it’s time to say bye bye to SF and everything Showtime did to prop them up will be for nothing. What it will mean is that the booking of fights will be better, SF will have less one sided match ups and protected champions like Diaz which will be good.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        The UFC has an incentive to have zero squash fights. If they can devalue a lot of fighters it means they either don’t have to sign them to the UFC or get them on the cheap b

      • It shouldn’t even be 2 years. The contract runs out early next year. But Showtime likely has veto rights to cards and matchmaking. Only thing is that it probably can’t force Strikeforce to do co-promotional bouts. Even then, what happens? Contract is rendered null and void?


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