Nick Diaz vs. Katsuya Inoue’>
(Diaz rocks Inoue at DREAM.3 on Sunday.)
Though the participation of Nick Diaz and Eddie Alvarez at DREAM.3 already suggested that relations between ProElite and DREAM were friendly, the two organizations made it official during a press conference held on Saturday, announcing that they’ve formed a partnership that would have the fight clubs sharing fighters and working on co-promoted events.
Speaking for ProElite, executive William Kelly revealed the company’s goal of presenting EliteXC and Dream co-promoted shows on CBS and Showtime; he also announced ProElite’s intention of opening offices in Japan with the hopes of putting on an EliteXC show there at some point, as well as hosting co-promoted Dream/EliteXC events in places like England and Korea. ProElite executive and former ICON Sport owner T. Jay Thompson named Kimbo Slice, Jake Shields, and Robbie Lawler as other U.S. stars that the promotion wants to present to Japanese audiences in the future.
As long as the first installment of CBS/EliteXC’s Saturday Night Fights doesn’t tank, this could be a major development for the still-struggling ProElite. An ongoing network TV deal and access to some of the most exciting lightweights, welterweights, and middleweights in MMA could help establish the company as just as legitimate as the UFC — and it removes one more obstacle to the world’s best fighters facing each other. Plus, if Bob Sapp was popular enough in Japan to warrant an entire store in Tokyo devoted to his memorabilia, they’ll probably give Kimbo his own town…