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Tag: DREAM

Obviously, James Thompson Only Fought Alistair Overeem Because He Was Broke and Desperate


(I know what you’re thinking, Alistair, and yes, that shirt is breathtaking. / Photo via Sherdog)

As we’ve seen so many times before in MMA, some fights only come together out of total desperation. When Alistair Overeem was booked against James Thompson for DREAM’s “White Cage” event in October 2009, we rolled our eyes at the prospect of yet another Japanese squash match. At the time, Overeem was steadily building his reputation as the scariest heavyweight outside of the UFC, while Thompson had suffered stoppage defeats in his last four fights. Why in God’s name would anybody think this was a good idea?

Well, nobody else would fight Overeem, for one thing. Also, Thompson had gambled away all his money and the bank was going to take away his ex-girlfriend’s house. Thompson explains the whole sordid affair in a two-part column with Fightland, which you can (and should) read here and here. Here’s an excerpt:

**********

I was living in London and training at London Shoot fighters. Well, I say “training”; it was more like the idea of training that would quickly dissipate into nothingness at the sight of the bookies (gambling establishment) and that’s were you’d find me surrounded by other hopeless souls — human-ish males all queuing up to feed what little money they have into the never-ending abyss that separates you from much more than the money you feed in, in hope it spits more money (aka “hope”) back out at you. It wasn’t the best of times for me, to say the least, and the phone call I received next wouldn’t be improving said situation

It was from my ex (my fiancée now) Graz Merlino, aka the Merlean. I was in the bookies and winning, so at the time I was in a good mood, so I took the call (small note: Fellas, if you’re in a good mood, the chances of talking to your ex and that mood improving or even maintaining are slim to none). The Merlean started to explain to me that the bank had sent her papers saying they had mistakenly paid me too much money (which I’d gambled away), and since her name was on my account (part of a failed attempt to make it harder for me to gamble), they were now in the process of taking one of her assets, i.e., her house.

I don’t want to go into this too much as there’s no need, and it gets complicated, but the crux of the matter was the Merlean had tried to help me and now might lose her house because if it. We’d split up due to my gambling and I’d really put her though it—and when I say “it,” think about a shitter version of hell.

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Mark Hunt Calls for Alistair Overeem Rematch, Pride Fanboys Around the World Simultaneously Soil Their Keyboards


(The best way to stop Cheick Kongo from kneeing you in the jewels? Turns out, it’s a simple jab. Who woulda thunk it?) 

As is the case for approximately 95% of the UFC’s current roster, Mark Hunt was forced to pull out of his last scheduled fight (against Stefan Struve) due to injury. But while he’s been quietly recuperating his knee and enjoying his current, not to mention improbable 3 fight win streak in the UFC, he’s apparently also been thinking about leveling the score with some of his former foes. Mainly, that of Alistair Overeem, who defeated Hunt by first round keylock when the two clashed back in June of 2008 at DREAM 5. It was Hunt’s third straight loss to come via form of arm-lock, but it certainly wouldn’t be his most painful.

In either case, it appears that Hunt may have heard through the grapevine that Alistair stated he would prefer to fight as soon as he got his license back, title shot or not, and figured he could kill two birds with one stone. Those two birds being a bit of redemption and possibly the next heavyweight title shot. He told The MMA Hour: 

If they’d like to get me a fight I’d like to get a rematch with Alistair Overeem, you know, when he comes back from his injury or from whatever, his hiatus. You know? I’d like to have my rematch with him. I’d be willing to fight next year so it doesn’t matter. If he gets a title shot, that’s good on him.

We hate to sound like a bunch of little schoolgirls but OMG JOE SILVA BOOK THIS FIGHT WE’LL LUV U 4EVER PLZZ!!

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DREAM 18 Announced for New Year’s Eve


(Oh, well hello there.)

Ok, so the good news is that DREAM isn’t actually dead. The bad news is that it is a far cry from what it used to be. It was announced today that the organization will return with another New Year’s Eve show this year AND THERE ISN’T ONE FREAK SHOW FIGHT SCHEDULED ON THE CARD.

“Glory Sports International (GSI), owner and operator of the Glory World Series…will be responsible for presenting ‘DREAM 18 – Special NYE 2012’, a New Year’s Eve MMA mega-event taking place at the Saitama Super Arena on December 31,” a press release reads.

The press release also says that the card will have ten MMA bouts and three kickboxing ones. Featherweight champion Hiroyuki TakayaTatsuya Kawajiri and lightweight contender Satoru Kitaoka are the only three fighters confirmed for the event. Great fighters all, sure, but we had better see a Giant Silva or Zulu Jr. thrown into the mix before things are done or we will be incredibly disappointed. Does Minowaman have anything scheduled these days?

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Video Tribute: The Eight Most Insane Moments in DREAM History


(“You’ll never get me Lucky Charms!”)

For nearly four years, the Japanese MMA promotion DREAM did its best to carry the mantle of PRIDE, presenting the same mix of top international talent and freak-show comic relief, all inside of a traditional ring, rather than a filthy American cage. But we were hit with some sad news this weekend as multiple sources reported that DREAM has ceased day-to-day operations, and will no longer be producing events. So as we like to do when great MMA traditions die, let’s take a look back at some of the fights that made this promotion so unique, so entertaining, and so balls-out insane…

#8: Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Melvin Manhoef
DREAM.4, 6/15/08 

Though Kazushi Sakuraba’s fame was partly based on his willingness to absorb damage from larger fighters, the level of savagery that Melvin Manhoef inflicted on him during their meeting at the Yokohama Arena probably should have convinced Saku to walk away from the sport. The moment when Manhoef drags Saku away from the ropes by his leg so he can dive in to continue the assault (see the 2:43 mark above) remains one of DREAM’s most indelible and brutal moments.

#7: Shinya Aoki vs. dumb-ass gaijin
DREAM.7, 3/8/09

Another tradition that DREAM inherited from PRIDE? Absurd mismatches. At the time of this fight, Aoki was widely considered to be a top-3 lightweight, while Gardner was an obscure 13-7 journeyman who was coming off a loss to Brian Cobb. Aoki’s domination on the mat was no surprise, but the fight became legendary for how it ended. Stuck with Aoki on his back, Gardner took advantage of a brief pause in the action — and the near-silence in the Saitama Super Arena — to wave to the crowd and shout “Hello Japan!” Aoki immediately wrapped up Gardner’s neck and choked him out, causing the crowd to break out in laughter and Bas Rutten to cry “Oh my God it is so dumb! So dumb! Why?!” Some things just can’t be explained, Bas.

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K-1/DREAM Parent Company FEG Files for Bankruptcy


(Behold: The most fabulous bounced-check in combat sports history.)

The writing was on the wall when they couldn’t pay their fighters anymore, but it looks like Japanese kickboxing and MMA promoter FEG might be one step closer to officially closing up shop. Sherdog is reporting that the combat sports promoter best known for K-1, DREAM, and the now-defunct Hero’s brand has declared bankruptcy after eight-and-a-half years of operation:

“Long-beleaguered combat sports giant Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG) has officially declared bankruptcy, according to a report by private credit research firm Teikoku Databank. First published Wednesday by Yahoo.co.jp, the Databank report claims that FEG began the process of declaring bankruptcy on May 7 in Tokyo District Court. No figures indicating the extent of FEG’s debts were revealed,” Sherdog‘s Tony Loiseleur writes.

“Though K-1’s brand rights were transferred to Japanese real estate firm Barbizon, Inc. in January 2006, FEG continued to promote the event under their banner. After the purchase and closure of Pride Fighting Championships by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta in 2007, FEG partnered with former Pride production staff in the form of Real Entertainment to produce the Dream series.”

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Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Shinya Aoki Reportedly Booked for Next DREAM Event

Kazushi Sakuraba Ricardo Arona photo eye face bloody MMA photos gallery
(Kazushi Sakuraba during his PRIDE glory days in 2005.)

By Elias Cepeda

When does a person not eagerly anticipate the next time one of his favorite fighters competes? When that fighter should have retired years ago due to the damage he’s endured over the years. That’s the way I’ve feel each time Kazushi Sakuraba gets a new match — not excited, but filled with genuine concern for his well-being. The legendary “Gracie Hunter” may be the best MMA fighter the warrior-nation of Japan has ever produced, but he’s lost four fights in a row, hasn’t won a bout since 2009, and has suffered enough beatings for 12 lifetimes. (This guy knows what I’m talking about.)

What makes Saku’s situation worse is that so many of his early losses were the result of savage abuse at the hands of much larger opponents (Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop, Ricardo Arona, etc.), leaving him completely broken down at the age of 42. Sakuraba competed just once in 2011 — getting choked out at Dream 17 by unheralded Brazilian prospect Yan Cabral — and has yet to fight this year, while venturing back into pro wrestling just to stay active.

It is now being reported that Sakuraba will return to the ring at Dream’s next event, for a welterweight match against Shinya Aoki. If there’s a silver lining to rolling out Saku for another pay day, it’s that Aoki is foremost a grappler like Sakuraba, so it’s possible that we could see a technical wrestling and Jiu Jitsu match with minimal blunt strikes hitting the legend. Also, Bloody Elbow’s Anton Tabuena is reporting that the fight, now signed according to him, could be Sakuraba’s final MMA appearance.

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Bibiano Fernandes: I Never Turned Down the UFC; I Don’t Know Where the Future Will Take Me


(The future is wide open for “The Flash.”)

Bibiano Fernandes contacted us today via email to clear up any controversy that may have arisen from a mistranslated quote from TATAME that we reported on this morning.

According to the Brazilian website,  the DREAM bantamweight champ allegedly revealed during a recent interview that he had turned down the UFC in favor of re-signing with the struggling Japanese promotion after his contract expired following his 2011 DREAM Bantamweight tournament final win over Antonio Banuelos on New Year’s Eve.

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And In Karma News… Brett Rogers Denied Travel Visa; NYE DREAM Bout With Tim Sylvia Cancelled


(Penny for your thoughts, Brett.)

Heavy.com is reporting that the planned heavyweight bout between Brett Rogers and Tim Sylvia has been scrapped because “Da’ Grim” was denied a travel visa to Japan due to his recent dust-up with his wife that landed him behind bars and on trial for domestic assault.

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Fedor Emelianenko to Face Satoshi Ishii in Japan on New Years Eve

Fedor Emelianenko Strikeforce eye MMA photos
(What? Was Zuluzinho not ready for a rematch?) 

Fresh off a unanimous decision victory over Jeff Monson that snapped the only multiple fight losing streak of his career, word has just broke that Fedor Emelianenko will be fighting in Japan for the first time since his armbar victory over Hong Man Choi at Yarennoka – New Years Eve 2007. As luck would have it, “The Last Emperor” will be fighting on New Years Eve once again, this time under the DREAM banner and against 2008 Olympic gold medal winning Judo practitioner Satoshi Ishii.

Not exactly the freak show bout that Japan (and Fedor) have been known to dabble in, but to call it a mismatch would be somewhat of an understatement. After winning the gold medal in Beijing, China over three years ago, Ishii has built up a 4-1-1 MMA record, with wins over the likes of Ikuhisa Minowa and former K1 great Jerome Le Banner, but has not fought since his draw with pill popper and occasional fighter Paulo Filho back in September. Ishii’s lone loss came in his MMA debut at the hands of fellow Judoka gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida.

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Smack Talk is Against Brett Rogers’ Probation Conditions


(“Well old sport, I look forward to matching skills with you in the chain link-enclosed competition area.”)

According to a report from the Apple Valley Patch, Brett Rogers could land himself back in the clink if he breaches any one of his several probation requirements when he is released from jail later this month.

Most notably, “Da Grim” is forbidden from participating in “assaultive or intimidating behavior toward anyone,” which means that telling his upcoming DREAM opponent Tim Sylvia that he was going to “hurt, maim, or kill” him would be contrary to the terms of his release.

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