Despite Japanese MMA bing on a downward spiral since the fall of PRIDE, Japanese MMA promotion DREAM has promised to bring fighting back to the East. With the recent announcement of a some strong new Investment from Chinese company Puji Capital, DREAM are aiming to gain a foothold on the current Mixed Martial Arts audience. Originally, it appeared as though DREAM were in the process of a sale, but thankfully for Eastern MMA fans this isn't the case.
Speaking at the press conference to announce the partnership, K-1 President Sadaharu Tanikawa took the oppurtunity to declare a war on WWE and UFC, aiming for a spot in the lucrative western market:
"This is a declaration of war against the WWE and UFC. From Asia, we will take the world," Tanikawa stated.
"When K-1 and PRIDE were competing against each other, 80% of the martial arts market was in Japan. It is now the opposite and Japan is only 20%. We were worried that Japan would be left behind if we let this continue, it is unacceptable. We needed to change our business model... We've let Dana White get a lead on us. Before (Shinya) Aoki beats (Gilbert) Melendez, we must win as promoters."
A possible rematch between Gilbert Melendez and Shinya Aoki is off the radar for now, with the Strikeforce Lightweight Champ Melendez sidelined with a broken hand, so it seems the Japanese will have to wait a little while.
Shortly after this, SRC PR & Director Mukai tweeted; describing the approach they would take, saying:
“We’ll always take the “kenjitsu (steady, sound) kenzen (health)” (slowly but surely I guess) route."
Exactly how this new plan of attack will go remains to be seen, but with PRIDE attendace figures still higher than UFC's highest, it proves just how lucrative the Eastern market really is.
Props: MMA Fighting