DREAM lives on.
The Japanese organisation has been rescued from demise and a New Year’s Eve show will be hosted at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo this year the same as it has for the last five years.
It is the newly-emerged GLORY organisation which is responsible. It was announced at a press conference in Tokyo today that its parent company Glory Sports International has taken over the DREAM brand and its New Year’s Eve booking for the Saitama Arena.
Whether it presages the return of DREAM as a full time MMA event or is a one-off was unclear but GSI chairman Pierre Andurand told Tokyo media that DREAM “is a great brand. It is loved by many fans in Japan but also worldwide... We also love Japanese and Asian MMA and want to revive it.”
New Year’s Eve is traditionally the high-spot of the Japanese MMA calendar because it is a night where most families, contrary to practice in the West, will stay at home and watch extended special programmes on television. And so DREAM, K-1, PRIDE and other Japanese promotions have always taken part in year-end mega-events to mark the occasion.
“We will not only bring you a great MMA show with epic fights and great production and entertainment, but also the opportunity to see certain fighters compete in both MMA and kickboxing. We'll have some great match-ups! Expect about thirteen fights, ten in MMA and 3 in kickboxing,” Andurand said.
“Japan has a very special place in our heart and our plans. That is why we are holding our best kickboxing event/tournament in Tokyo GLORY 4 on 2nd Dec 2012, and our first MMA event - which will be a very big production - on the key date of NYE 2012 in the amazing and historical Saitama arena.
“We are intending to be very active in Japan with up to ten shows next year. Let us together bring the combat sports entertainment back to its former GLORY!”
So far only three fighters are confirmed for the card - DREAM featherweight champion Hiroyuki Takaya, the 'Crusher' Tatsuya Kawajiri and the lightweight contender Satoru Kitaoka - but various international participants are to be announced soon.
GLORY Sports International, the parent company of the GLORY kickboxing organization, was formed in 2012 with Andurand as the main investor. The company bought out several other entities, including Its Showtime and Golden Glory, to put together the biggest and best roster that it could.
Due to the similar names there has been some confusion expressed in some quarters as to whether GLORY is affiliated to Golden Glory.
A spokesman for GLORY explained that "Golden Glory's extensive athlete roster was bought out, with Golden Glory managers being retained as consultants, but that there is no connection between the two brands. Golden Glory and its United Glory events are entirely separate from GLORY World Series kickboxing league."