Frank Trigg grapples with Renato Verissimo. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
DREAM parent company Fight Entertainment Group has announced that collegiate wrestler Ian Murphy will take the place of former UFC welterweight title contender Frank Trigg against renowned grappler Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in a first-round middleweight grand prix bout.
The promotion made the change to the fight card earlier this week through their official website.
Despite being announced as participating at the event, Trigg revealed days later that although he had been in contact with DREAM officials about possibly fighting for the promotion, they had not struck a deal nor signed any sort of contract. The Xtreme Couture member also stated that a last-minute deal would not even be able to work out due to potential visa issues.
Murphy will be making his professional mixed martial arts debut at the event and at the time of publication, MMA on Tap was unable to confirm if he had any amateur experience at all.
Murphy is coming off of his senior wrestling season at Cal State Fullerton where he racked up a 27-9 record before losing in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The Corona, California native is currently ranked as the top wrestler in the Pac-10 Conference and 11th in the country at 184 lbs according to USA Wrestling.
Photo courtesy of FedorMMA.com.
M-1 Global has announced the launching of a mixed martial arts-based reality show that will center around former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
“Fighting Fedor” will involve sixteen heavyweights from all over the world traveling to Russia to live and train with the Red Devil Sport Club. The fighters will apparently compete against each other in a tournament-style format and the winner will have the chance to fight Emelianenko and pretty much face near-death in the process.
Additional details as well as the list of cast members is expected to be announced shortly.
DREAM Dropped by TBS; Picked up by HDNet?
DREAM live events have reportedly been dropped from the Tokyo Broadcasting System’s lineup due to lackluster ratings. The organization’s inaugural event only drew an 8.9 percent rating average in primetime, which is considered dismal by Japanese standards.
The network will air DREAM’s April 29th event on tape delay one week after the event takes place. It will be the last event the network airs. SkyPerfecTV pay-per-view will then assume duties of airing DREAM events for the future.
However what is Japan’s loss might be the United States’ gain according to our friends at MMARated.com, who report that tomorrow night’s episode of “Inside MMA” on HDNet will feature some interesting news regarding the FEG-owned promotion and the digital cable network.
A bout between Dutch strikers Alistair Overeem and Gilbert Yvel scheduled to take place this Saturday at the K-1 European Grand Prix has been scrapped due to Yvel suffering a left calf injury during a recent training session. The fight was the only MMA bout slated to happen on the card, which will pan out at the Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands.
“Last Thursday during a training session with Mirko Cro Cop, I suffered an injury which was diagnosed as torn muscle fiber in the hospital,” Yvel explained Thursday at a news conference according to Sherdog.com. “Even after two days of absolute rest and with lots of ice on the leg, I was barely able to stand on my left foot.”
It is unknown if a replacement opponent will be found in time for Overeem.
Cole Replaces Goodridge at “Anger Management”
IFL veteran Wayne Cole will replace an injured Gary Goodridge against heavyweight Eric Pele at the Maximum Fighting Championship’s upcoming “Anger Management” show on May 9th according to The Fight Network.
Goodridge was forced to pull out of the main event bout due to a recently suffered back injury. Goodridge suffered the injury during a recent training session and will be required to undergo surgery to repair the the sciatic nerve in his lower back.
Yoshihiro Akiyama. Photo courtesy of FEG.
Rising middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama will miss DREAM’s upcoming middleweight grand prix first round after suffering a nasal fracture during training.
DREAM parent company FEG announced the news at a press conference yesterday.
“Akiyama wanted to be in this grand prix by any means, even interrupting his training to fully heal up,” Dream producer Keiichi Sasahara told Sherdog.com. “But at the current state, even a slight blow will cause such heavy bleeding that will have every doctor stop the fight.”
The fracture is said to be the second occurrence of a previous break Akiyama suffered in his fight against Kazuo Misaki at Yarennoka! on New Year’s Eve. According to Sasahara, Akiyama will not be given a first-round bye and an announcement concerning his replacement will be made as soon as possible.
Frank Trigg grapples with Renato Verissimo. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Update 3:30 PM ET: Frank Trigg revealed through his TAGG Radio show today and The Underground Forum that he has not signed with DREAM and not will be fighting Ronaldo Souza, who happens to be a training partner of his at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.
DREAM parent company Fight Entertainment Group has announced four more bouts for the first round of the organization’s upcoming middleweight grand prix, which will currently take place on April 29th at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Former UFC welterweight title contender Frank Trigg will take on renowned grappler Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in a first round bout. Addtional matchups include Zelg Galesic vs. Magomed Sultanakhmadov, Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Taiei Kin, and Dong Sik Yoon vs. Shungo Oyama.
Also, current EliteXC lightweight Nick Diaz has apparently verbally accepted a bout against Marcelo Garcia according to manager Cesar Gracie.
Nick Diaz has verbally accepted to fight Marcelo Garcia at the next Dream show. (April 29th) Although Garcia inititially accepted the fight, there has been talk that the match will now be scrubbed. According to Dream promoters, Marcelo has now decided that he does not want the fight and it is unclear if Dream will be able to find an opponent in time for Nick to participate. Stay tuned.
The card for the event now looks like this:
DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix
Denis Kang vs. Gegard Mousasi
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Andrews Nakahara
Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Masakatsu Funaki
Frank Trigg vs. Ronaldo Souza
Zelg Galesic vs. Magomed Sultanakhmadov
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Taiei Kin
Dong Sik Yoon vs. Shungo Oyama
DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix
Shinya Aoki vs. Gesias Calvancante
Yoshiro Maeda. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Less than 24 hours after it was announced that Manny Tapia would be forced out of his scheduled WEC featherweight title bout against Miguel Torres due to a knee injury, Pancrase veteran Yoshiro Maeda has confirmed to Sherdog.com that he will indeed come in as an injury replacement and take on Torres in his first title defense.
Maeda, the current featherweight King of Pancrase, knocked out Charlie Valencia with a body kick in February and has not lost since being submitted by former WEC title contender Joe Pearson at a PRIDE event in November 2006.
HCF Postpones May 10th Event
From a press release sent out today:
Due to the fact that the due diligence process has been extended on our impending re-structuring, we are officially postponing our May 10 fight card. We hope our exclusive fighters will understand. We are confident this new corporate structure will be in every athlete’s best interest.
The event was slated to be Hardcore Championship Fighting’s biggest yet. A light heavyweight bout between Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Mauricio Alonso has been signed. Assuerio Silva, David Loiseau, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira were also rumored as possible participants at the event.
CBS Announced Next CBS Event Date
Adam Swift of MMA Payout points out that CBS has announced July 26th as the date for the second Elite Xtreme Combat televised show on the network. No additional information was revealed concerning the event however. A list of possible fighters or a potential venue for the show are still unknown at this time. The event will be the second on a current four-show contract over the next twelve months with CBS.
Kang Talks Discussions With UFC
From our friends at MMA Junkie:
“Yes, we were negotiating with the UFC,” Kang said. “I would have loved to fight in the UFC. I would love to fight in North America and not have to travel 12 hours for a change. At the end of the day, it came down to where I want to be represented at the moment and who was offering the best contract.”
The best contract, it seems, was one that would allow the half-Korean fighter to compete in South Korea’s SpiritMC organization on an annual basis. Kang has fought 10 times in the organization since 2004, winning all 10 fights, and is still the SpiritMC heavyweight champion.
“SpiritMC was only asking that I fight for them once a year,” Kang said. “That’s one of the things that I really, really wanted to do—to keep my SpiritMC title and keep my fan base in Korea, which is really important to me.”
Forrest Griffin was always crazy, even in high school.
Props to frankiscool at the UG for the find.
Sakakibara, DSE Sue Fertittas, Zuffa
Two months after Zuffa, under the name PRIDE FC Worldwide, filed a lawsuit against former PRIDE parent company Dream Stage Entertainment claiming that they were defrauded during their purchase of PRIDE in March of last year, DSE and Nobuyuki Sakakibara have countered with a lawsuit of their own.
More from Swift:
The suit filed by the former owners of Pride in federal court, under diversity jurisdiction, seeks damages for breach of the asset purchase and consulting agreements that were part of the Pride transaction, as well as fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
The complaint alleges that Pride was sold to the owners of the UFC with the promise that the Pride brand would be maintained as a “global top-level brand.” This promise allegedly resulted in the former owners’ decision to sell to the Fertittas despite more lucrative financial offers from other suitors.
DREAM Planning Events on U.S. Soil?
DREAM could potentially hold shows in the United States if the promotion eventually gains the popularity that PRIDE once had as well as a television deal according to Fight Entertainment Group figurehead Sadaharu Tanikawa.
From MMA Weekly:
FEG executive, Sadaharu Tanikawa stated that their hopes are to first establish a brand name in Japan before trying their hand in the United States. Tanikawa went on the record saying that it would take “maybe a year or two” for the new Dream promotion to gain the same strength among fans that the former Pride brand did before their demise.
With DREAM and HDNet already in talks about a possible deal, Tanikawa’s idea could become a reality sooner than later, especially if they could come to some sort of a deal with EliteXC or HDNet Fights to get some notable American names on the card.
Sakurai-Baron Set for Shooto Fight in May
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai will attempt to keep his current five-fight winning streak intact when he takes on fellow PRIDE veteran David Baron at a Shooto event in May according to a report from Sports Navi.
Sakurai stopped Hidetaka Monma with strikes at DREAM’s inaugural event last month. Baron, who is mostly known for his loss to Takanori Gomi at PRIDE Bushido 12 in the summer of 2006, has won his last three fights since then.
Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for the find.
Emerson Replaces Stephens at UFC 84
Update 2:30 PM ET: Our friends at MMA Junkie have learned that a possible “minor legal situation” may be preventing Stephens from fighting on the card but he expects to return to action this summer.
Sam Cupitt over at Five Ounces of Pain has noticed that Rob Emerson, a contestant on the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, has replaced Iowa native Jeremy Stephens in a scheduled lightweight bout against Terry Etim at UFC 84: Ill Will according to the UFC’s official website.
It was reported back in February that Etim and Stephens had signed bout agreements, making the fight good to go. No word as of yet on why Stephens was forced out of the bout.
Gesias Calvancante and Shinya Aoki weigh-in for DREAM 1. Photo courtesy of FEG.
Less than a month after fans were left with a disappointing ending to a much-anticipated matchup between Gesias Calvancante and Shinya Aoki, Fight Entertainment Group has announced that the two lightweights will rematch at DREAM’s next upcoming event on April 29th.
The show, which will take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, will also feature the opening round of DREAM’s first middleweight grand prix. Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba will return to action against Karate practitioner Andrews Nakahara in a quarterfinal bout. Additional scheduled fights include Masakatsu Funaki vs. Kiyoshi Tamura and Denis Kang vs. Gegard Mousasi.
Aoki and Calvancante’s bout last month was ruled a no-contest after Calvancante struck Aoki with illegal elbows to the back of Aoki’s neck. Calvancante was warned and Aoki given time to recover, but after a few moments the esteemed grappler wasn’t able to continue.
The two were originally set to face off at Yarennoka! on New Year’s Eve but Calvancante was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering a knee injury during training. The injury occurred on the same knee that he had surgery on this past fall.
FEG officials also revealed the next set of matchups for DREAM’s lightweight grand prix in May: Joachim Hansen will challenge Philadelphia Fight Factory product Eddie Alvarez, Tatsuya Kawajiri will meet Luiz Firmino, and Mitsuhiro Ishida will go up against Caol Uno, who has been added to the bracket as a late entrant.
The winner of Aoki-Calvancante will have no time to rest as they will go on to face Katsuhiko Nagata just twelve days later at the May 11th show.
Takanori Gomi celebrates after his win over Mitsuhiro Ishida at PRIDE Shockwave 2006. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
Former PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi and pound for pound phenom Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto have both reportedly informed the Japanese media of their respective intentions to return to action this summer.
The news comes from Sherdog’s Jordan Breen in his latest edition of the Koubousen Companion.
Gomi stated that he planned to compete at World Victory Road’s upcoming third “Sengoku” event on June 8th while in attendance at this past weekend’s All Japan Combat Wrestling National Championships and plans to begin training again later this month.
The 29 year-old returned to action after a year of inactivity, stopping Duane Ludwig at WVR’s inaugural event last month. Ludwig suffered a cut on the bridge of his nose that forced ringside doctors to prevent him from continuing.
Meanwhile Yamamoto informed the media that he hoped to return to the ring in June or July. His contract with Fight Entertainment Group will have “Kid” competing inside the confines of DREAM. He remains unsure of which weight he will fight at.
Yamamoto last stopped World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Rani Yahya with strikes at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! on New Year’s Eve.
Kazushi Sakuraba. Photo courtesy of Fight Entertainment Group.
Fight Entertainment Group has announced the first three bouts for the organization’s upcoming middleweight grand prix first round, which will currently take place on April 29th at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Despite recent rumors that a healing cut on his leg would prevent him from competing at the event, Japanese mixed martial arts legend Kazushi Sakuraba will return to action against Karate practitioner Andrews Nakahara.
Sakuraba bounced back from a unanimous decision loss to Royce Gracie in June with consecutive wins over Masakatsu Funaki and Katsuyori Shibata. Nakahara will be making his professional debut.
Funaki will also be competing in the tournament, taking on fellow veteran Kiyoshi Tamura. While Funaki’s loss to Sakuraba on New Year’s Eve was his first fight in over seven years, Tamura has remained fairly active in recent years. He was last victorious over Hideo Tokoro on December 31st as well.
Former PRIDE middleweight grand prix runner-up Denis Kang has been confirmed as fighting in the tourney. He will take on Hardcore Championship Fighting veteran Gegard Mousasi.
Mousasi is currently riding a seven-fight winning streak, which has saw him finish his last six opponents. Kang has struggled as of late, losing two out of his last three bouts, including a brutal knockout at the hands of Yoshihiro Akiyama in October.
Additional fighters confirmed as participating include Akiyama, Ikuhisa Minowa, Dong Sik Yoon, Shungo Oyama, and Taiei Kin.
Photo courtesy of World Victory Road.
As if poor television ratings for DREAM’s recent show weren’t already a good sign for World Victory Road, it appears that the promotion has secured a television deal with Fuji TV.
The news comes from MMA News, which reports that the station will broadcast tape-delayed segments from the organization’s debut show on March 5th on a program entitled “Special Ring Side”, which will feature highlights from kickboxing and mixed martial arts events around the country.
It will be the first time that Fuji TV has broadcast any type of MMA since the network broke off ties with the now-defunct PRIDE Fighting Championships, which enjoyed a long-run of ratings success until June 2006 when the channel dropped PRIDE from it’s lineup, citing a breach of contract.
However most believe that there were concerns with PRIDE parent company Dream Stage Entertainment’s rumored ties with the Yakuza, a Japan-based organized crime ring.
Zach Arnold has pointed out that Seiya Kawamata, a close confidant of K-1 creator Kazuyoshi Ishii, seems to be running the show these days when it comes to DREAM, which is promoted by Fight Entertainment Group and many former employees of DSE. The promotion’s debut show last weekend only scored a 8.9% share on the Tokyo Broadcasting System, a number that is considered to be sub-par.
It’s been said that Kawamata was the driving force behind the media getting ahold of the the DSE-Yakuza story and eventually causing Fuji TV officials to drop PRIDE programming, likely in order to help K-1 gain an advantage in the ratings war.
Ironically Kawamata’s strategy didn’t work and he’s now working with some of the same staff that he once attempted to bring down. Could we see Kawamata try something similar when it comes to J-ROCK and World Victory Road in an attempt to get his product back on Fuji TV once again? Time will tell.