Top-level MMA has been absent from Japan for some time now with the closing Pride FC and to a lesser extent, DREAM. It’s unfortunate for the many MMA fans who reside there, but today news broke that they may have a glimmer of hope.
World Series of Fighting, headed by kickboxing champion Ray Sefo, has announced that they will be opening up a Japanese leg of WSOF in partnership with longtime Japan-based MMA promotion Pancrase.
The foray into the Japanese market will feature former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin “Thunder” Okami, who was recently cut by the UFC after losing to “Jacare” Souza at UFC Fight Night 28.
Sefo met up with MMA Junkie to discuss his excitement about the announcement:
"Japan has long been a home of top-level martial arts competitions of all types, and I personally have enjoyed some of the best moments of my fighting career there. I'm excited to announce this new division with the launch of World Series of Fighting Japan. I look forward to working with Pancrase CEO Masakazu Sakai and his team, and together we will produce amazing events for the Japanese fight fans, as well as big opportunities for both Asia-based fighters and MMA fighters around the globe."
The promotion doesn’t yet have an exact date and location or their first Japanese event, but speculation has it placed around early 2014. Sefo and his company recently announced a Canadian show with WSOF 7 taking place on December 7 in Vancouver, so it appears the promotion is truly focused on going global.
That could pay big dividends for them, or it could blow up in their face. In any case, it’s good news for MMA-starved Japanese fans looking to attend a show. And now they’ll have one of their favorite fighters to cheer on when they do.