Like Japan, Dream Attempts to Soldier On to an Uncertain Future with Bantamweight Grand Prix

April 15, 2011

Dream LogoJapanese fight promotion Dream may be struggling just to stay afloat in the mixed martial arts world, but on Thursday, the promotion announced plans for its Dream Japan Bantamweight Grand Prix to be held on May 29 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

The country of Japan has been working hard to recover from a massive earthquake and tsunami disaster that reeked havoc across the island nation in early March. Dream’s announcement is part of a combined effort, entitled Fight for Japan, from various combat sports promoters across the country to help aid in relief efforts.

The tournament will feature eight, 135-pound Japanese fighters: Keisuke Fujiwara, Masakazu Imanari, Yoshiro Maeda, Kenji Osawa, Takafumi Otsuka, Hideo Tokoro, Darren Uyenoyama, Atsushi Yamamoto.

Laying out their plans, Dream officials said that the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of the tournament would take place on May 29 with the final taking place at an as yet unannounced event in July. There will also be several non-tournament bouts on the card, featuring the likes of Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki, Joachim Hansen, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Katsunori Kikuno, Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura, and Caol Uno.

Dream executive producer Sasahara Keiiti said that the event would be held in a rather modest environment compared to past Dream events. The Saitama Super Arena will be scaled down to its smallest size configuration, in the neighborhood of 7,000 seats. The production will also utilize “minimal production with minimal lighting” in order to save energy as Japan continues its disaster recovery process.

Current plans call for the winner and runners-up of the Dream Japan Grand Prix to then move on to a Dream World Grand Prix, where they will take on an international field of competitors.