Kato and Sakakibara Open Up Shop. Japan Cup – Bantamweight GP?

By Daniel Herbertson

The new promotion spearheaded by former Pride FC president Nobuyuki Sakakibara and former Pride FC vice president Hiroyuki Kato is gaining momentum as the pair have moved into an office in Shibuya, Tokyo and have started to flesh out the details of their Spring event.

It has been decided that Kato will be the face of the promotion while Sakakibara will be working behind the scenes due to Sakakibara’s past legal issues and the plan at this stage is to have the event at either JCB Hall or Yoyogi No. 2 Gymnasium.

The event will be called something along the lines of “Japan Cup – Bantamweight GP” and will include several fighters that fought under the DREAM banner and obviously a bantamweight tournament. DREAM champions Shinya Aoki and Hiroyuki Takaya and top lightweight Tatsuya Kawajiri were being targeted, but have since been lost to Strikeforce. The loss of Aoki is quite surprising as Kato has personally been paying Aoki for his fights in DREAM.

The event will not be a major production or a replacement for DREAM or Pride FC, but will be around the size of Shooto’s Vale Tudo Japan. DREAM was planning on holding a bantamweight GP in 2011, but it now seems unlikely.


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