PLENTY of news and rumors in Japan, so lets get started. First, Head Kick Legend reports that DREAM's Tanigawa recently stated that Sengoku/DREAM/K-1 Voltron Co-Promotion is now official for the Japanese NYE event.
We all knew it was coming, Sengoku was set up to fail and had no choice to but hit eject. K-1's Tanigawa went in front of the press today and announced that on New Year's Eve K-1 and World Victory Road would co-promote a giant, 19-bout card featuring stars like Shinya Aoki, Kazushi Sakuraba, Kiyoshi Tamura and so forth. We already know that the main event of this card is slated to be a 5-round war between Andy Souwer and the retiring Masato, and the assumption is now the supporting fight will be the debut of Japanese Olympic Gold Medalist Judoka Satoshi Ishii against 1992 Gold Medalist Judoka Hidehiko Yoshida.
I have also heard a STRONG rumor that the reason why Sengoku may be done is that Don Quijote, its HUGE Japanese sponsor is pulling the plug on them. This is equivalent to PRIDE losing their TV deal, which absolutely crushed them before being purchased by the UFC. The other part of the rumor is that Don Quijote would NOW become a DREAM sponsor, which would be absolutely HUGE for DREAM and K-1. Now, I am not positive about that part of the rumor. According to NOB, Don Quijote has ALWAYS been a huge supporter of Pancrase and Shooto. So much, that they saved Pancrase from dying and was working with Shooto and Sengoku to hold joint events next year. According to his sources, FEG and Don Quijote have been secretly meeting for the past couple of months.
Apparently, the president of Don Quijote, WVR’s main sponsor, and FEG president Tanigawa have since October had numerous ultra secret meetings. They might have come to an agreement on November 6th.
Lets not forget all of those random Japanese reports of Sengoku fighters challenging DREAM fighters. It may be that Sengoku fighters are now starting to look to fight for DREAM and Strikeforce. I have also heard that there are some Sengoku fighters already signed to EA Sports MMA and the alliance trio.
It will also be interesting to see what DREAM would do with Sengoku's roster. It doesn't look likely they will be able to take on everyone of Sengoku's fighters, so it likes like there will be more info coming out from now until NYE. Either way you look at it, this is a huge blow to the the Japanese MMA fans who were hoping that Sengoku would prevail with their no-freakshow attitude towards legitimizing MMA in Japan. On the other hand, this would seem to be a huge gain for Strikeforce and fighters who want to fight in Japan and stateside. Fighters like Antonio Silva, Roger Gracie, King Mo and a group of others appear to have seen the writing on the wall and have since been able to sign with Strikeforce. Other fighters like Gomi and Josh Barnett are trying to find fights stateside at the moment. One this is fore sure, Sengoku's inability to capture the Japanese audience, make money off of their events, and get a TV deal was more than enough evidence that they wouldn't be promoting too many shows in the near future.
Aside from the grim news regarding Sengoku, you have to be pretty excited about a near 20 fight NYE event between Sengoku, DREAM, and K-1 with Masato vs Souwer and Ishii vs Yoshida serving as gigantic Japanese main events. To top it all off, it will more than likely be brought to us stateside on glorious HD. Thank you HDNet!