Fronted by Luke Thomas.
One notable name missing from an official list of possible participants released for the New Year’s Eve extravaganza was Dream's biggest rating draw, Yoshihiro Akiyama. Akiyama is reportedly no longer under contract to FEG, while fighter and promotion are rumored to not be on good terms.
A move to rival outlet Sengoku is likely, as Akiyama has expressed interest in facing fellow judoka, Hidehiko Yoshida, in what would be a huge money match. Akiyama is also believed to be in talks with the UFC, as Zuffa is said to be building their ranks for a possible Korean invasion.
After living in South Korea for a few months and being exposed to the nation's sport channels, I can honestly say whenever a Korean athlete does well in America it's covered like an event in their home country. Simply by watching the commercials, you would think the Colorado Rockies needed to be renamed Byung Hyun Kim and the Other American Dudes.
An event with Akiyama and "Stun Gun" Kim on the same card would do wonders for the UFC's popularity in South Korea. Of course, the judoka vs. judoka battle of Yoshida/Akiyama would do the same for WVR. But what does this mean for DREAM? From data in the past, it's easy to tell that Akiyama is their best ratings draw. FEG's executives have promised that DREAM will still be around for a while but without the heel "Micheal Jackson" on their cards who will bring in the viewers?