Bad DREAM: Lackluster ratings could put Japanese promotion to sleep


Japan's Fighting & Entertainment Group (FEG) had everything it needed to make sure its mixed martial arts promotion DREAM was a success.

Well, almost everything.

FEG secured a prime time spot on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), one of Japan's top five TV networks and littered its fight cards with Japanese fan-favorites like Shinya Aoki, Ikuhisa Minowa and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic.

What it didn't have was enough people to actually care about its product.

The rabid fan base that was so desperate for a non-UFC fight promotion since the demise of PRIDE FC was a no-show. Either that, or the fan base was grotesuqely overestimated.

Is mixed martial arts in Japan a thing of the past?

In an attempt to prove its drawing power, DREAM 6 was aiming for a minimum 12.0 rating for its sixth event but had to settle for a much lower 9.0 - a mere .1 above it's 8.9 debut back in March.

DREAM has underperformed in all three of its contracted four television events, prompting FEG's Sadaharu Tanikawahas to consider dissolving the company if they eventually lose their television contract.

With their inability to hit their target numbers, it almost seems like a foregone conclusion.

On paper, DREAM 6 was a can't-miss. Unfortunately the show as a whole was average, with a quick ending to the middleweight grand prix and a dissappointing no-contest between Mirko Cro Cop and Alistair Overeem.

Add to that an abundance of commercials during the TBS broadcast (and a choppy, watered down presentation on HDnet) and fans were left with little reason to come back for more.

And fans aside, why should fighters continue to come back for more?

Several DREAM combatants are still crying foul over back wages, including a very public report by Seoul Sports earlier this month.

I guess there still wasn't enough money to pay the actual fighters after dumping a pallet of cash onto Fedor Emelianenko's yacht for his brief cameo at DREAM 6.

FEG had plans to hold its fourth televised event on New Year's Eve. If you're a fan, I suggest finding a way to watch it. It could be the last time you see mixed martial arts in Japan.

Unless of course the UFC decides to "get it on" in the house that Mothra built.

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