Japanese MMA: Primary Sponsor Pulls Out, Sengoku Headed For Oblivion-MMA Weekly
Japanese superstore chain Don Quijote the biggest sponsor of World Victory Road the company behind Sengoku had pulled all backing for the company. As a result of this Sengoku is pretty much finished and will shutter soon barring a last-minute rescue deal which is unlikely. Don Quijote reportedly grew tired of Sengoku's constant losses and bad PR surronding the promotion and finally pulled support for Japan's No 2 promotion.
In terms of pending free agents featherweight Hatsu Hioki and lightweight Maximo Blanco have either a standing invitation in the case of Hioki and the UFC or have begun negotiation with US promotions as in the case of Blanco and Bellator. The rest of SRC's roster face's an uncertain future with FEG's problems and the limited amount of space on the roster of the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator.
SRC's full statement (Translation by MMA-Japan.com):
About SRC business from now on...
As we already announced as an immediate report last time (on Feburary 1, 2011) about its background and the reasons, our company is at a turning point and we have to make a tough choice now.
Our mother company, Don Quixote, who also provides sponsorship for us, just officially announced their retreat from the SRC organization. We would like to honestly tell the truth since we are already to the point where we cannot do anything else. Here is what we (Don Quixote) feel:
“ We have been supporting MMA with only our passions and dreams, regardless of our huge deficits. However, our passions and dreams have been misunderstood (by who?) but some heartless media who have picked (our organization) apart in magazines, and we have been suffering from them. We have run out of patience.”
However, the company is not trying to retreat from the world of MMA completely, and they will still continue to sponsor Shooto, Pancrase, and groups which we support now such as amateur wrestling groups.
"We may also sponsor other (small) groups if they ask, although we are not going to change our company's decision; we are retreating from big event businesses like SRC.”
It is a shame to reveal our situation, but the reality is that we have to throw our hands up without the mother company and sponsor companies which we have counted on.
Our only hope is that another company like Don Quixote provides sponsorship for us that has a passion for MMA. The Mother Company has said:
“If there is a company which has passions for MMA and could support (SRC) with a decent amount of money, we would like to give them total support"
However, if there will be no company whom can help us, we have to think about the worst case scenario: the end of SRC.
Anyway, we would like to say sorry to fans of SRC, athletes, and everyone who supported us for this great deal of concern and inconvenience.
-March 11, 2011