The DREAM is Over

A few weeks back I opined that World Victory Road and their SENGOKU promotion would probably surpass DREAM as the premier MMA organization in Japan.

Well that day has gotten much much closer. DREAM has lost their network TV deal.

Is this it for big-time MMA in Japan? According to Zack Arnold a lot was riding on DREAM's success:

There's no question that the DREAM project is a big story to pay attention to. There are a lot of positive and negatives that will come with the rise and/or fall of this league. For all intents and purposes, this is Japan's last great hope for trying to restore glory and return to the salad days of the MMA boom that was thriving a few years ago in the country.

With the death of PRIDE and K-1 struggling to grab a share of the Japanese MMA market, DSE staffers and K-1 aligned together under the auspices of the Ishii-Kawamata connection. The idea on paper is simple - take K-1's brand power on Japanese television and combine it with DSE-style live-show promoting capabilities. Combine this with DSE-style repetitive GP tournaments and K-1's PR machine and hope that you can create a modified version of PRIDE, with K-1 essentially running the purse strings.

Where DREAM plunged ahead as if the Yakuza scandals that killed PRIDE had never happened, World Victory Road took a different approach:
A cast of national sports heroes, legitimate businessmen and former state officials like former Tokyo Police Chief, Yukihiko Inoue, lend the new MMA entity both credibility and financing in their official capacities.

World Victory Road presents a friendly face to the public, making sure to keep any controversial individuals involved out of the public spotlight. Much of this new organization's success will be determined by how well they are able to continue to do so over the long term.

We'll see if WVR's slow but steady approach allows them to become a truly first tier organization on the world MMA scene, but its clear that DREAM won't be.
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