It’s been on the cards for some time, but it’s now finally been confirmed that Japanese MMA promotion DREAM is no more.
The news comes from MMA-Japan.com who cite multiple sources who have informed them that the organization has shut it’s doors for good.
There had been very little word out of the promotion since their end of year show in 2011, though recently it had emerged that they wre planning an event in July featuring Shinya Aoki Vs Sakuraba.
The DREAM organization rose to prominence after the fall of the famous PRIDE promotion in Japan, launching their first show in March of 2008.
In total they put on 23 shows (including the co-hosted Dynamite!! events) and provided a platform for homegrown stars such as the aforementioned Aoki and Sakuraba merged with overseas stars like Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Mirko Cro-Cop and Gegard Mousasi, and the occasional gimmick-based fighter like Bob Sapp, Hong-Man Choi and Minowaman.
While never reaching the heights of the PRIDE era, DREAM did find some success in it’s native land and was broadcast overseas, but as time passed it’s ratings began to falter and they ran into financial issues which led to more sporadic events and stories of fighters not being paid.
It therefore comes as no real surprise that it’s four year run in the sport has now come to a close, but it’s still disappointing to hear as it offered something distinctly different from the major U.S based promotions.
It doesn’t necessarily sound a death knell for MMA in Japan however as up and coming promotion ONE FC have set their stall out to be the next big thing in Asia and are certainly one to watch, while the UFC recently returned to the market with the relatively successful UFC 144 show in February.