Posted on Sherdog at 11 p.m. Friday
CSAC Grants FEG License, Saku Status Uncertain
by Josh Gross (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The California State Athletic Commission on Friday announced it has granted FEG USA a temporary promoter's license just eight days before the company is scheduled to hold "Dynamite!! USA" at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Originally billed with a main event featuring the mixed martial arts debut of former WWE star Brock Lesnar (Pictures) against popular South Korean figure Hong-Man Choi (1-0-0), FEG was left scrambling on Tuesday for options after the CSAC denied Choi, 26, a license to fight due to unnamed medical concerns. In the wake of the seven-foot-two Choi's questionable health, FEG opted to look for a second medical opinion while exploring for a replacement fighter.
While Choi's status remains unresolved, Lesnar, who is licensed by the CSAC, is still expected to fight, possibly against another unnamed Korean "star," said FEG representative Mike Kogan.
Weighing more heavily on the minds of MMA fans is the status of Japan's Kazushi Sakuraba (Pictures), who is slated to fight in the co-main event against former nemesis Royce Gracie (Pictures) (13-3-3). Upon arriving in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Sakuraba (21-9-1, 2 NC) has undergone a battery of tests, including having to wear a heart monitor over a 24-hour period, Kogan said.
The Japanese face of the PRIDE Fighting Championships until 2005, Sakuraba moved from PRIDE to Fight Entertainment Group's K-1 HERO'S, where he has two wins in three fights, the lone blemish coming in a controversial No Contest to Yoshihiro Akayama last New Year's Eve.
Sakuraba, 38, should know if he's fighting by Tuesday, just four days before the SHOWTIME pay-per-view televised card.
Choi and Sakuraba were two pieces of a puzzle that FEG hoped would draw from Southern California's substantial Asian community as it attempted to fill the historic 90,000-plus seat building, which was the host venue for the 1932 and 1984 Olympic games.
Kogan said ticket sales have lived up to FEG's lofty expectations.
Calling support from the local Asian communities "overwhelming" and suggesting that MMA fans in the L.A. area have jumped on board as well, Kogan indicated that June 2's card would easily break North American records for attendance and ticket sales, which are both currently held by Zuffa's Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Said Kogan: "We wanted to make a statement that MMA can be bigger than a basketball arena in the U.S. and kind of show people a little more of an entertainment aspect of it by putting on a good card for hardcore fans."