Japanese promotion Deep took the MMA world by surprise this week with the announcement that it would be reviving the tradition of holding a New Year’s Eve card at the Saitama Super Arena.
Deep – Dream Impact is set for Dec. 31 and will feature at least four title fights with Yuki Motoya, Kazunori Yokota, Satoru Kitaoka, and Tatsunao Nagakura all defending their belts against as yet unnamed opponents.
The Saitama Super Arena has the capacity to seat 47,000 spectators. Previous New Year’s Eve cards have featured the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Shinya Aoki, and Eddie Alvarez.
Deep normally holds events at the 2,000-capacity Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, but is pulling out all the stops for this event with four of its champions confirmed for the card. The promotion’s head honcho, Shigeru Saeki, is quoted on AD Combat as saying, “Last year there was no NYE event and if there is going to be the same this year then the rights we have on Dec. 31 at that venue would have to go to someone else and that means we may never be able to see NYE MMA event at Saitama Super Arena again. That’s why I’ve decided to do this event.”
He did, however, acknowledge that it would be a race against time to try and put together a high enough caliber card to justify the move to a much bigger venue.
“We have no deal in place with TV and sponsors. In reality, I began working on this event last week, so my plan was to let everyone know that we are looking for sponsors,” said Saeki. “We only have two to three months of preparations, so I am sure we are going to face many problems, however, I thought, losing MMA event on NYE would not be good (for this industry) so I am hoping to support MMA by pushing DEEP.”
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