After announcing that the promotion would cease further operations and would essentially be out of business, the Japanese MMA promotion Dream has been revived and is under new management. Announced in an unexpected press conference, Dream will now be managed under Dutch company Glory Sports International, the same company that owns kickboxing promotion Golden Glory, and recently acquired It’s Showtime. Also announced with news of the promotion’s revival, they are planning to put on their annual New Year’s Eve event in their home venue the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
After the purchase of the renowned Japanese MMA promotion Pride Fighting Championship under Zuffa, LLC and its closure, the promotion’s previous management decided to create stay in the business of promoting combat sports by founding a new promotion called Dream. Founded in February 2008, the promotion put on twenty-three events all the way to December 2011 when they last held their annual New Year’s Eve card.
After their founding in 2008, the promotion made a deal with American television channel HDNet (now AXS TV) in order to be broadcasted to the American fan base that was loyal to the now defunct PrideFC.
Throughout the promotion’s existence under the previous management, they played home to some of the country’s top talents such as submission ace and Lightweight champion Shinya Aoki, longtime veteran and former Shooto champion Tatsuya Kawajiri, and renowned veteran Kazushi Sakuraba. With the Japanese MMA scene looked at as kind of a “minor league” level compared to the major MMA scene in North America, the promotion has also been home to some European based fighters like Light Heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi, Welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis, Dutch kickboxer Melvin Manhoef, former Lightweight champion Joachim Hansen, former Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, and longtime consensus #1 Heavyweight in the sport’s history Fedor Emelianenko.
While known little in the North American MMA scene, Dream did have some connections in North America as the promotion entered agreements with San Jose based promotion Strikeforce to share fighters between the two promotions. Because of this agreement notable Strikeforce names Gegard Mousasi, Nick Diaz, Josh Thomson, Alistair Overeem, and Jason Miller were able to stay active between fights in Strikeforce by fighting for Dream. In exchange notable Dream fighters Shinya Aoki, Melvin Manhoef, and Marius Zaromskis were also able to compete in Strikeforce.
Announced in November 2011, Dream formed an alliance with the newly founded Singapore based promotion One Fighting Championship. With this agreement Dream agreed to copromote events and exchange fighters from each other’s rosters. Also announced earlier in this year they made similar agreements with American promotions ProElite and Bellator Fighting Championship.
Towards the end of the promotion there was controversy as fighters would complain that they had yet to be paid after their performances. Under the management of the Fighting and Entertainment Group, the same parent company also owned renowned kickboxing promotion K-1 where more fighters complained that they also awaited payment following their bouts. With financial troubles apparent and being unable to afford putting on events for which the fighters can compete on to get paid for, the promotion decided to cease operations in June earlier this year. Now picked up by Glory Sports International, the Dutch based company will keep Dream based in its homeland of Japan. With the promotion previously ceasing operations however, much of their talent has already moved on to sign with other promotions. Champions Bibiano Fernandes and Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Melvin Manhoef are notable names to have already signed with Singapore based promotion One Fighting Championship; and Welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis has remained with American based promotion Bellator Fighting Championship where he was competing when Dream announced it was closing.
At this time the New Year’s Eve card Dream 18 will feature 10 MMA bouts with 3 kickboxing bouts as well, and currently at this time the only fighters confirmed for this card are Tatsuya Kawajiri, Satoru Kitaoka, and Hiroyuki Takaya. Also the promotion’s events are still going to be broadcasted on AXS TV (previously HD Net) in the United States.
Written by @MMAFANHQ