When Dream made the decision to introduce a hexagonal cage into their promotion, there was a lot of speculation about the impact it would have on their draw. Some of the pieces touched on the potential marketing possibilities of bringing Dream into the United States
, which is a distinct possibility, given their new relationship with Strikeforce. That said, the potential impacts of that kind of a move havenít really been gauged or speculated on.
Itís generally presumed that the draw in the Japan is based on the name value of the individual fighters. Fighters like Eddie Alvarez (18-2 MMA, #3 IWMMAR)
and Katsunori Kikuno (12-1-1 MMA)
, who will meet on the event where the cage will be debuted on October 26th, do a lot to draw the attention of the Japanese audience. Still, looking at the history of mixed martial arts in Japan, itís worth making a few notes about the potential damage Dream might do to their own numbers by bringing a cage in.
While Leland Rolling (whoís article is linked above) notes that Cage Force has done well in Japan by building a niche community, one of the reasons why they havenít bridged over into the mainstream has to do with an issue of perception by the public. Of course, itís also worth noting, as Rolling does, that Cage Force has been a minor league organization feeding directly into the UFC, but the failure to build a solid promotional base in Japan isnít just about the quality of talent their sacrificing, itís about a long history of ring fighting that an organization using a cage canít cling to.