DREAM’s scheduled Light-Heavyweight Grand Prix will not take place according to various reports, notably Josh Gross from Sports Illustrated.
The tournament was set to begin at the May 29 DREAM event, but that no longer seems to be the case.
The tournament was rumored to feature Gegard Mousasi, Renato Sobral, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, and possibly King Mo.
The current story going around is that DREAM wanted TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting Station) to help foot the bill for the light-heavyweight fighters. TBS refused, citing that they would help pay if there would be some big name Japanese fighters on the card.
There is reportedly zero interest in the headlining bout: a Strikeforce vs. DREAM grudge match between Nick Diaz and Hayato “Mach” Sakurai. The promotion has even announced the return of the hexagonal cage that helped draw interest in Dream 12. Rumors have been floating around that FEG, TBS, and Real Entertainment are having a hard-time getting along, due to declining ratings for FEG presented events.
This is coming off of ASTRA promoter Takahiro Kokuho’s claims that the Japanese MMA scene is in bad shape citing the amount of sponsors that both FEG and Sengoku have lost over the last year. FieLDS, the annual sponsor of K-1’s New Years Eve extravaganza has reportedly pulled sponsorship out of FEG events. FieLDS is considered to be on of the bigger sponsors for Dream and K-1 events.
Are dark days coming for Japan MMA?