The writing was on the wall when Dream had to cancel its planned July mixed martial arts event in Japan, but it has become more and more evident that the follow-up to Pride is all but officially out of business.
Pretty much all of the Real Entertainment (the company that operated Dream) staff have moved on to other endeavors, and the company has apparently stopped returning calls to nearly all of its fighters and their representatives, ceasing day-to-day operations.
Dream had fallen on hard times over the past few years with attendance down and TV deals falling to the wayside. About the only viable product left was the annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza’s that had become a staple of the holiday in Japan.
Real Entertainment had wanted to continue with that tradition, but needed Saitama Super Arena to make it viable.
Saitama, however, wanted Dream to do a two-event deal, the first event being the July show. When Dream couldn’t pull off a July event, Saitama backed out and will instead give the New Year’s Eve slot to someone else.
Without Saitama Super Arena on board, Dream really doesn’t have any viable options left for New Year’s Eve, which really was a last gasp for survival in the first place.
Even though the UFC finally returned to Japan earlier this year, there aren’t many viable options left on home soil now for Japanese fighters, at least not many at the highest levels of the sport.
One FC has begun to spread its wings in Asia and will likely become a home for many of the fighters, while several others will probably bolt for the greener pastures of North America, where several fighters could land in promotions like the UFC, Strikeforce, or Bellator.