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Sakakibara returning to mma

Cbear2011-02-25 19:23:51 +0000 #1
from the main page.

When former Pride FC president Nobuyuki Sakakibara stepped down from his post in response to exposed Japanese mafia ties, it signaled the end of an era in MMA. Now, with Japanese MMA at it's lowest, Sakakibara may be working on starting a new era.

In this edition of Nippon Weekly: Sakakibara may be planning a comeback with some of the biggest players in Japanese MMA, FEG finally gives us a timeframe for its return, fighters flock from Sengoku, Gomi and Gono return to their roots and fat guys fight in Deep.

Former Pride FC president Sakakibara planning a move back to MMA?

Rumors were flying in Japan this week via Japanese outlet Miruhon that former Pride FC President Nobuyuki Sakakibara: , former Pride director and vice president, and the man behind DREAM Hiroyuki Kato: and former Sengoku event producer, Astra and J-Rock boss Takahiro Kokuho: are planning on uniting for a one-off event to be held this spring.

Independent sources have confirmed to MMA Fighting that an event is indeed being discussed and currently it will be an all-Japanese show to be held sometime in the Spring at a venue around the size of the 3,000-seat JCB Hall, although specifics are still quite rough.

If these sources are correct, this event would change the face of Japanese MMA dramatically.

Firstly, it would most likely mean the end of DREAM and that there has been a split between Real Entertainment and FEG. This is not surprising at all and was bound to happen with the poor ratings, poor finances and with K-1 creator Kazuyoshi Ishii (although Ishii may be squeezed out in the current FEG restructuring) out of jail.

It's the return of Nobuyuki Sakakibara to MMA that is simply mind boggling.

Sakakibara's name was well and truly dirtied by Shukan Gendai via Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 promoter and former K-1 yakuza (Japanese mafia) fixer, Seiya Kawamata (a self-admitted former yakuza boss in the Kansai area).

Kawamata claimed that a Yamaguchi-Gumi yakuza and former loan shark of Korean blood by the name of Kim Dok-Soo (commonly known as Mr. I or Ishizaka), was the real power behind Pride and that Sakakibara was now working for the yakuza and was just a puppet.

Kawamata went to the press after Sakakibara criminally extorted Kawamata (confirmed by Kanagawa police) on Dec. 21, 2003 at the Asakasa Tokyu Hotel with Mr. I present.

Few of the charges that Kawamata leveled at Mr. I, Sakakibara or DSE stuck though as the key piece to the puzzle, Mr. I, fled to South Korea (apparently after pulling out most of the assets in Pride). However it was enough to bring down Pride FC as Fuji TV and the promotion's sponsors had no choice but to sever all ties.

Since the end of Pride FC, Sakakibara has been pouring money into FC Ryukyu, a soccer team in Okinawa. FC Ryukyu has repeatedly been denied entry into Japan's premier soccer league, the J. League.

It does not take a genius to figure out why the J. League wouldn't want to be associated with Sakakibara's team. For the exact same reason, one wonders how Sakakibara plans to make his way back into MMA promotion without sending sponsors and broadcasters running for the hills. Japan is in the midst of a major yakuza crackdown so the timing makes very little sense.

The other two characters involved in this rumored one-off event make much more sense.

Sakakibara's second in command in Pride, Hiroyuki Kato, has been running DREAM from behind the scenes and is widely regarded as a positive force in Japanese MMA. Kato came out clean following the Shukan Gendai reports, but due to his position at DSE, was never made into the face of DREAM.

Takahiro Kokuho, the manager of the Yoshida Dojo stable of fighters and the first event producer of Sengoku ran the hugely successful one-off Astra event in April last year. It was widely speculated that Kokuho may continue promoting events under the Astra banner but nothing eventuated.

When questioned about the possible collaboration with Sakakibara and Kato by MMA Fighting, Kokuho flatly denied the rumors and no fighter has admitted that they have been approached about a fight on the event yet.

It is not surprising that lips are tightly sealed though. Time will tell if Sakakibara defies the odds and makes his way back into MMA.

BruceLee2011-02-25 19:30:51 +0000 #2
This guys articles always seem to be opinion pieces served up as news.
Ash2011-02-25 19:42:36 +0000 #3
I don't wanna see him back.
Cbear2011-02-25 20:26:26 +0000 #4

Originally Posted by Ash

I don't wanna see him back.

Are you kidding?

MMA was great when the Yaks were running things.
bhorrrr2011-02-25 19:56:31 +0000 #5
what can he achieve that others can't even if he does come back? it's not as if his name, by itself, is a positive. he's not a multi-billionaire who will bring a ton of money into it.

i don't really see what he can do that others can't.
LiveinTokyo2011-02-25 21:02:24 +0000 #6

Originally Posted by bhorrrr

what can he achieve that others can't even if he does come back? it's not as if his name, by itself, is a positive. he's not a multi-billionaire who will bring a ton of money into it.

i don't really see what he can do that others can't.

Well he has ties to organised crime which means more money and the glory days are back unless the cops.........oh right - that already happened



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