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DREAM 2011 Bantamweight Japan tournament

By Zach Arnold | April 15, 2011

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The promotion held a presser today to announce the promotion’s first 2011 show. May 29th at Saitama Super Arena. They are building it around a charity project theme of “FIGHT FOR JAPAN.” It’s different than the “Stay Strong Japan” charity project theme that has been more noted in media circles.

The plan is for a 61 kg Bantamweight tournament featuring: Masakazu Imanari, Kenji Osawa, Takafumi Otsuka, Darren Uyenoyama, Hideo Tokoro, Keisuke Fujiwara, Yoshihiro Maeda, & Atsushi Yamamoto.

There will be other fights on the card as well, featuring: Shinya Aoki, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Joachim Hansen, Kaoru Uno, Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura, & Katsunori Kikuno.

The idea is to run the May event and then have a second event in July. The promotion claims that they want to book Bibiano Fernandes & Joe Warren in the future. Tournament matches are expected to be announced next week.

Speaking of Mr. Warren, he fights on the Bellator card Saturday night in Yuma, Arizona against Marcos Galvao. During a recent Sherdog interview, he stated that he has been recently training in Boise, Idaho with Scott Jorgensen & Kit Cope. His upcoming plans for the next two years: Saturday’s fight, wrestling in June, defend his belt in August, fight in 135 pound tournament in October, and then take time off from fighting in 2012 to make one more run at the Olympics. It was interesting that he said that he found training for MMA to be much more fun than training for wrestling. “I feel more like a fighter than a wrestler. … Wrestling is a job for me.”

The “Fight for Japan” charity project is being spearheaded/supported by K-1, Martial Arts Japan Kickboxing, New Japan Kickboxing, J-NETWORK, RISE, Krush, BIG BANG, DREAM, Sustain, Pancrase, DEEP, ZST, & Jewels.

Sadaharu Tanigawa said that K-1 would run an event towards the end of June and that there is discussion of running events in Europe and China. A World MAX event (Japanese tournament) will happen in June. Krush will have a 70 kg tournament. There will also be a 63 kg tournament. There is no word on what K-1’s future on Japanese TV is.

Topics: DREAM, Japan, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 26 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

26 Responses to “DREAM 2011 Bantamweight Japan tournament”

  1. Jonathan says:

    A good article from Tatame (if you skip past the typos) regarding JZ Calvancante and DREAM, to a larger extend, JMMA as a whole.

    In short, Dream has not paid him for a fight he fought over a year ago.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    That tournament is more on the level of a DEEP card then a Pride/DREAM card.

    • Jonathan says:

      I guess the question is, with the state of JMMA and the country as a whole, what would you have them do?

      If the answer is “go out of business”, then do not fault them for at least putting on a show, especially one for such a worthy cause.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        I don’t care what they do. I was just commenting on how there is no depth to that tournament.

        But I don’t think Japan needs Shooto, Pancrase, DEEP, and DREAM all basically serving the same function which is building talent with no real place to go unless they come to America.

        2 or 3 organizations could do that just fine.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          The other thing is that each time JMMA comes back, it’s a shell of itself. So if it’s going to die off, I would rather it just happen sooner then later.

          Pride featured many of the best Heavyweights, Light Heavyweights, Middleweights, and Lightweights.

          DREAM 1.0 featured some top talent at Lightweight and below.

          DREAM 2.0 is featuring marginal talent at Bantamweight.

          See where this is going? It’s not a good direction. They continue to go for the smaller and smaller weight classes with less and less talent.

          If DREAM does another comeback, it’s going to be featuring midgets……

        • Jonathan says:

          I have not heard anyone claiming that JMMA is the best or that it has the top fighters. I think everyone who is slightly knowledgeable in the world of MMA can see that JMMA has some major shortcomings and some major problems facing it right now.

          You seem to be upset that they are running cards at all, like how dare they have to gall to put on an event, even one that benefits the recovery effort in Japan. You throw criticism after criticism at them for merely existing. I don’t think that they are going to come out and say that they are the best organization or have the best fighters.

          Obviously, it is a fight benefiting a good cause, and if you do not like it, then do not watch it. But in all honesty, don’t knock an organization for putting on fights.

          As for you “Dream 1.0 and 2.0” comments, again, what exactly would have them do? They are creating fights in weight classes that are not totally dominated by the UFC, probably because that is all that they have available to them.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          It’s annoying that the talent in Japan will be spread out over so many organizations.

          Look, they have no more top talent. But if they are going to build up talent for Zuffa or Bellator to use, it will be most effective to happen in fewer organizations, not 4….

          So I would say this many organizations hurts the sport more then it helps.

        • Jonathan says:

          That is your opinion, and you are entitled to it as is the next person. Myself, personally, I like the idea of there being more venues for people to hold fights and for fighters to fight in. More fights = good in my book.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          What talent has Japan really produced lately? They have basically nobody in the Top 10.

          So I would say their current system of many organizations is failing. Guys aren’t getting the tougher fights they need early on to build up their skills.

          The rankings are proof of how bad Japan is doing right now in building talent. The system needs to change. And fewer organizations forcing the bad talent out and the better talent to compete against each other would make it stronger in the long run.

        • Jonathan says:

          No one is saying that Japan is tops in the MMA world, and I think most Japanese fighters realizing that they are not performing very well compared to their American and Brazilian comrades.

          You say that the system needs to change, and I guess I am saying is that if you do not like JMMA, do not like their talent, or their organizations, then simply write them off and don’t watch them. Your idea of there being too many MMA organizations that spread out of the talent is flawed because there is no dominant, super-organization like the UFC in Japan for everyone to filter into, like the UFC in the United States.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          There doesn’t have to be a dominant promotion in Japan anymore. They can export there top talent to the UFC.

          The problem is that it’s hard to determine who their top talent is because they have so many organizations with the talent spread across them that they don’t fight each other enough.

          And just like how amateur wrestling in America has hotbed spots because the talent is constantly testing themselves more…. The same needs to happen in Japan. It will actually improve the talent. But that can’t happen with 4 companies basically operating doing the same thing.

        • Fightlinker says:

          Don’t forget DREAM has also been screwing fighters over for over a year now. Takes a lot of the luster off them coming back. Everyone pretends the Japanese are oh so honorable, well how about someone demands the heads eff off over non-payment to so many of the athletes? I agree with huddle – other promotions are doing it better right now and *gasp* actually paying their fighters.

  3. Hikaru says:

    It’s is a Japan GP as the name clearly suggests
    Per NightmareofBattle: “The 1st round and semifinals of the tournament will take place on the May event and the final and 3rd place fight will take place in July. The winner and loser of the final and the winner of the 3rd place fight will advance to the DREAM World Bantamweight Tournament.”
    I don’t think they are missing many significant names that qualify to take part in this GP (being Japanese or part Japanese obviously)

    • 45 Huddle says:

      They don’t have the talent to do a World Grand Prix. All of the talent is over in the states except for a select for a select few fighters. And Bellator is going to have a really hard time loaning out fighters with their current schedule. Perhaps for one fight, but not for an entire tournament.

      • Hikaru says:

        I suggest to wait and see who they will get for a World GP before stating that they don’t have anyone to book. You was quite certain not that long ago that K-1 and DREAM are dead so your prophet powers aren’t that good.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          A card like this is about as close to dead as a company can get.

        • Chris says:

          They really dont have any top talent.

          The world GP will be

          Bibiano, Ueda, Tamura, Katsumura, then the three guys from the Japan GP, and then they probably look for someone else.

          They would probably love to get Warren but with the Bellator tournament he cant do it.

          This is why I think they should just do a world GP and not do a Japan and then world GP.

          Bibiano, Ueda, Imanari, Katsumura, Maeda, Tamura, Otsuka, Darren or Osawa and that could be the world gp.

    • Chris says:

      what about Ueda, Tamura, Katsumura?

      Add them, Bibiano, the three from the Japan GP and then look for another BW, maybe someone like Cullum from KOTC or someone like that and thats probably your world GP.

      But Ueda, Tamura, Katsumura could be in this. I’m sure they are are probably gonna be in the world GP though.

  4. Chris says:

    Dont understand this.

    They say they will do this Japan BW GP and the top three guys move to the Dream world BW GP?


    With the state of mma in japan there is a good chance that they dont complete this.

    Why do two tournaments? Why not just do the Dream BW world GP?

    Get Bibiano and Ueda with Otsuka, Imanari etc and do it.

    Dont see the point of this, taking two guys who lose and then having three guys qualify for the Dream World GP. Not when JMMA is in the shape its in. Dont know if they will be able to do this then the world gp and have it run without a hitch.

    I’d say just do the world GP right now.

    Dream is dead, lets just be honest about it. All there top fighters are in SF now, Reem, Jacare, Miller, Aoki, Crusher etc, they are left with basically nothing. They have no challengers for Aoki at LW, Takaya the Dream FW champ just lost to a complete unknown in a prelim fight in SF. What does that say about Dream and JMMA?

    Its a last ditch effort and I dont think it will work. They really dont have much to offer. They dont have the top fighters in the world.

    I hope this GP happens caue I want to see it but its not a high level GP.

    This isnt

    Mighty Mouse

    Then pick a final BW, Kid, McDonald, Barao, Page, Mizugaki, Pickett.

    That would be a world BW GP.

  5. Mr.T says:

    What about the Japan Cup event?

  6. Fightlinker says:

    This might be an attempt by FEG to block the Japan Cup event that Sakakibara and his partner were thinking of doing. If that’s the case, it’s pretty smart / evil

  7. Chromium says:

    @Zach: is there much chance of this event turning a profit, in your opinion?

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Without heavy television support… I don’t know, maybe if some fighters don’t get paid and ‘donate’ their checks to charity?

      • Chromium says:

        By “charity” you mean Dream/FEG/Real Entertainment?

        Out of curiosity, what would you say the point of this event is? Is it just to put Dream in a holding pattern while hopefully breaking even so they can hold onto some of their core talent lay some groundwork for a potential comeback? Like maybe they’re hoping they can still get some outside investors?

        Smaller scale shows focusing mostly on domestic talent, without any freakshows, is certainly a step in the right direction. The die-hard MMA fans in Japan (who I’d think are a much larger part of the remaining audience these days) are probably more into the sporting aspect of it anyway, so freakshows are probably a waste of money.

        • Zach Arnold says:

          What’s the old saying, keep your friends but your enemies closer? Only reason to run a show at this point is for image, to look relevant and stay active.

  8. Chromium says:

    I’m just thinking, if they can make profits off smaller, lower-key shows, maybe they could slowly eat away their debt and remain a viable promotion. They’d have a hard time holding on to their few remaining higher-end fighters above Bantamweight, and particularly above Lightweight, but they could continue to exist, and continue to be a place for grass roots JMMA fighters to aim for. They could also still use a smattering of foreign talent (although I would hope any fighter who isn’t personal friends with management would ask that at least half of their paycheck be held in escrow prior to the event).


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