Most observers of the Japanese scene had given up FEG -- the parent company of K-1 kickboxing and Dream MMA -- up for dead. The last reports out of Japan had written FEG off for dead because their knight-in-shining-armor investor Puji had pulled out, their production partner Real Entertainment (the old Pride team) was claiming FEG owed them millions of dollars, and they supposedly were in hot water with a couple of key Yakuza organizations.
There were rumors that someone would be putting together a Spring MMA event but that it wouldn't be FEG and it wouldn't use the Dream name.
Well yesterday they held a press conference and announced plans for a bantamweight tournament in May as Dream, via Fight Opinion:
The promotion held a presser today to announce the promotion's first 2011 show. May 29th at Saitama Super Arena. They are building it around a charity project theme of "FIGHT FOR JAPAN." It's different than the "Stay Strong Japan" charity project theme that has been more noted in media circles.
The idea is to run the May event and then have a second event in July. The promotion claims that they want to book Bibiano Fernandes & Joe Warren in the future. Tournament matches are expected to be announced next week.
MMA Junkie does a good job of summing up FEG's woes:
MMAjunkie.com in January spoke with longtime Japanese MMA star Bob Sapp, who no-showed the New Year's Eve show and flatly said the promotion is broke.
At the same time, Japanese MMA blog Nightmare of Battle quoted an interview FEG executive Sadaharu Tanikawa gave to Japanese magazine "Sports Graphic Novel," in which the executive gave a dire assessment of FEG's future.
"The current course is that FEG will die," Tanikawa said. "There are probably staff members that will leave as well. The event name will be left but the promotion will change. If the current structure remains as it is it will be impossible to continue. If many investments from companies overseas do not come in we can't survive."
I had really been hoping that FEG would guy given their hapless track record but at the same time I'm glad to see a major event being planned in Japan. Let's hope the fighters get paid this time.