Leading MMA Agent: “Japanese MMA Is Dead” | Steve Rattlesnake
“First of all, PRIDE FC went under with associations of Yakuza (mafia) ties and that has done serious damage to MMA’s image in Japan. More recently, Japan’s economy took a turn for the worse and that means that the sponsors have all but disappeared. They have no money to throw around like they sued to.
Then you’ve got the exodus that happened when PRIDE went under. All the big names went to America, most of them to the UFC. Television ratings have not been good, they have not got many fighters to get casual fans interested. They are making desperate moves.
PUJI has promised K-1 it will find $200 million in investment – well, what if it doesn’t? What if nobody wants to invest? And that is extremely likely, given the state of Japanese MMA at the moment – would you invest your money in it?
Look at the last DREAM show – and DREAM is widely considered to be head and shoulders above Sengoku – who did they have? Aoki, Kawajiri, Mousasi, Manhoef – they were the biggest names on the card. The likes of Fedor and Nogueira have gone and they are never coming back. This has really hurt [Japanese] public interest in MMA.
The top purse on DREAM these days is something like $30,000 in American dollars,”the agent says. Sakuraba might get something like $50,000 or $70,000. They just don’t have the money to bring in the big names and if they can’t do that they will not win the fans back. They just aren’t interested.
Japanese MMA is dead”