I've been meaning to post an update about all the fights that have been added to the upcoming DREAM and Sengoku cards, but I'm going to lead with the dirt -- from FightOpinion:
According to a report at Sports Seoul, there is growing criticism about FEG delaying or not giving fighters money that they owed. "Fighter A" claimed in the article that he didn’t receive money for his last two fights, and "Fighter B" who is preparing for an upcoming fight also is claiming they didn’t get some fight money. "Fighter C" claims that he had to wait three months to get his fight salary.
The article quotes a source as saying, "There’s many fighters who don’t get paid. Especially DREAM fighters, foreigners mostly." The article claims that the reason in the alleged delaying of payments is due to DREAM’s financial situation and the situation regarding Kazuyoshi Ishii.
This adds to the ominous feeling that DREAM is not doing well and we will soon be without major MMA in Japan if something doesn't change for the better. UPDATE: I'm hearing that this is standard operating procedure in the Japanese fight and wrestling world. Yeesh.
Meanwhile World Victory Road has announced that their Sengoku promotion won't be holding their New Year's show on New Year's Eve. That event WILL feature Takanori Gomi vs the winner of their lightweight tournament however. Also they announced they'll be holding Sengoku VI in Saitama Super Arena on Nov. 1st and it will feature the finals of BOTH their lightweight and middleweight tournaments.
Not good news about the non-NYE event from the business side, but they didn't have TV anyway. WVR seems to be limping along, we'll see how long their big money backers keep propping them up.
In other news, World Victory Road has an opponent for Roger Gracie on its Sept 28 Sengoku 5 card, YAMMA champ Travis Wiuff. This is actually a good matchup for Gracie and WVR to make. Wiuff is a skilled and game journeyman, a little small as a heavyweight but still someone who's won fights at that level and is meta-ranked at #25 as a light heavyweight. He's a step up in competition for Gracie, but not a huge leap. Should be a good fight and a good career step for the heavyweight prospect Gracie who will be a huge draw should he prove himself as a legit heavyweight. WVR has hinted that if Gracie can beat Wiuff he'll be taking on Josh Barnett next. Wow, that's a big step.
Meanwhile DREAM has finalized their DREAM.6 card for the 23rd. Controversial star Yoshihiro Akiyama will take on 1-1 karateka Masanori Tonooka to headline the card. This is the second straight can they're feeding to Akiyama this year. He barely escaped a surprisingly tough Katsuyori Shibata in July.
In other fights, Braziliian lightweight Adriano Martins will be making his Japanese debut against UFC vet Keita "K-Taro" Nakamura. Nakamura had been rumored to be considering retirement after losing to Rob Emerson and sustaining an eye injury. Glad to see K-Taro getting back in the ring, he had some close losses in the UFC that impressed me (against welterweights Brock Larson and Drew Fickett). If he figures out how to cut weight right he should be a threat at lightweight.
There's also a very intriguing Hayato Sakurai vs Kuniyoshi Hironaka match. Hironaka is back to his winning ways after washing out of the UFC and Sakurai will be looking to get back on track after a stunning loss to David Baron.
Honestly I'm excited about both cards. The Sengoku middle-weight tournament will kick off and while its not as strong a field as the DREAM tourny now going into its semi-final round, its still good. I'm excited to see Evangelista Cyborg vs. Siyar Bahadurzada, Jorge Santiago and the middleweight debut of Kazuhiro Nakamura.
And the DREAM middleweight tourny speaks for itself with Gegard Mousasi vs. Melvin Manhoef and Ronaldo Jacare vs. Zelg Galesic plus the final round pitting the winners together. I wonder what the possibility of alternates Yoon Dong Sik or Andrews Nakahara coming in as alternates and pulling a Joachim Hansen are?
All that plus Cro Cop vs Alistair Overeem and the return of Sergei Kharitonov. Makes me want HDNet real bad and to keep hoping against hope that DREAM won't be biting the dust at the end of the year.
UPDATE: Sengoku has announced a new deal with TV Tokyo. Any word on how big a network that is? Apparently they will be airing the New Year's event (although not on NY's Eve and not sure it'll be live). This seems like a big step forward for WVR. Well done!