[UPDATE] FEG held a press conference this afternoon to announce Masato's opponent (Andy Souwer) and the official addition of Minowa vs. Sokoudjou, but CEO Tanigawa repeatedly skirted questions about the FEG-WVR merger for New Year's Eve.
Late Tuesday night, multiple sources informed BloodyElbow.com that World Victory Road has decided to cancel its New Year's Eve "Sengoku Raiden Championship" show at Tokyo's Ariake Coliseum.
The news comes after rumors of the card being in serious peril began to mount this week, when WVR called off a press conference related to the event and had not yet released details for its television broadcast. The show's headliner - the only bout to be made official by the promotion - would have seen Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii in his MMA debut against fellow judoka Hidehiko Yoshida.
As Sherdog's Jordan Breen discussed on his show yesterday and Sports Illustrated's Josh Gross now reports, WVR may now be looking to team with rival Japanese promoter Fighting and Entertainment Group for FEG's "Dynamite!!" show:
Also, just got wind that Dream and Sengoku will likely join forces for one NYE card. So, no competing MMA cards Dec. 31 in Japan.
The only bouts officially announced for this year's iteration of the annual K-1/MMA marathon are the 2009 K-1 Koshien (Under 18) tournament finals and kickboxer Masato's retirement bout against
an as-yet-unnamed opponent Andy Souwer. It's expected that the final match in DREAM's "Super Hulk Tournament" - Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Sokoudjou - and a lightweight title bout will also find their way onto the slate.
With a five-hour slot on the Tokyo Broadcast System already in place and solid ratings needed, the extra juice that a match like Ishii-Yoshida could bring to the table may be too tempting for FEG to resist.
Stay tuned as we await official word from both promotions in the coming days.