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.