The struggling Japanese MMA scene took another hit over the
weekend, as word emerged that the country’s last remaining major
promotion is no longer.
Multiple sources close to the situation Sunday confirmed to
Sherdog.com that Dream, the
spiritual successor to
Pride Fighting Championships, has ceased day-to-day operations.
The news comes just weeks after former parent company Fighting and
Entertainment Group (FEG) declared bankruptcy in Tokyo District
Court. MMA-Japan.com first reported the news.
Since its 2008 founding by FEG and former Pride staff from Dream
Stage Entertainment, the magnitude and frequency of Dream events
had declined, as had the general interest in MMA amongst the
Japanese fan base. Rumors of the company’s impending demise had
circulated for the better part of two years due to waning ratings
and reported financial difficulties, and only increased with
Dream’s conspicuous absence in the first half of 2012.
Real Entertainment, the company which operated Dream, last month
told Sherdog that they were still in the process of planning Dream
18, which had been tentatively set for July at Saitama Super Arena.
Last week, however, news broke that several of Real’s top employees
had resigned from the organization. According to a report from
MMAWeekly.com, Dream had hoped to stage its annual New Year’s Eve
show at Saitama Super Arena, but that date was contingent on the
now-canceled July event taking place.
Despite the loss of staff and apparent death of Dream, Real
Entertainment may not be finished with MMA altogether. One source
informed Sherdog that the company is eying a summer 2013 return to
Saitama and has offered some of Dream’s top talent purses upwards
of $40,000 to fight on the card.
Another organization looking to run shows at Saitama Super Arena is
One Fighting Championship, the Singapore-based upstart which
last fall formed an alliance with Dream. Several Dream fighters --
Manhoef and Masakazu
Imanari -- appeared on One FC’s March card, and a source close
to One FC tells Sherdog that the promotion will likely sign much of
Dream’s remaining talent.
Dream representatives attended the 2012 One Asia MMA Summit in
Singapore this weekend and reportedly discussed the possibility of
One FC staging events at Saitama Super Arena.
Real Entertainment has yet to issue a public statement regarding
the state of Dream.