(Aoki’s fancy flying guard-pull against Calvancante.)
Are you sitting down? Sherdog is reporting that Shinya Aoki suffered a facial injury in his fight against Gesias Calvancante yesterday, and will not be able to participate in the second round of DREAM’s lightweight grand prix (May 11th; Saitama, Japan). UPDATE: Sherdog amends their story: “Calvancante was approached about replacing the Japanese fighter, but the 24-year-old American Top Team representative could not come to terms with the promotion and has since left Japan.”
Aoki always seemed to have misgivings about continuing in the tournament. Here’s what he said in an interview on DREAM’s website a couple weeks ago:
Are you thinking about fighting on May 11 in DREAM 3?
I win on Apr 29, but not fight on May 11. That’s their business and not me. I’m not well-considered person to agree with fighting on May 11. I’m not thinking about a fight after Apr 29. I may fight if I had an easy fight on Apr 29.
Don’t you want a belt?
Not interested in. My next fight has more meaning than a belt.
And in another interview…
“I have no schedule after April 29 so far. I don’t even think about the 2R. I will have a good result on April 29 and clean up my past.”
So, it’s safe to say that Aoki’s heart wasn’t in DREAM’s lightweight GP past the marquee matchup of him vs. Calvancante, and now this so-called “facial injury” is sounding a little too convenient. But hey, he’s in good company: Kazushi Sakuraba wants nothing to do with DREAM’s middleweight tournament. Good lord, is it too much to ask for DREAM to book fighters that actually want to be involved with them?