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Report: New promotion in Japan announced at press conference; Mirko Cro Cop officially done with the UFC

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer is reporting that a press conference was held Wednesday at the Hotel Metropolitan in Tokyo to formally announce the formation of a new promotion featuring the former staff of PRIDE working in conjunction with FEG/K-1.

The name of the new promotion is expected to be “Dream,” although no mention of the promotion’s name is mentioned in Meltzer’s report.

It is believed that “Dream” will feature the former staff of PRIDE running live event production with the K-1 staff handling television production and many key business deals.

As a result of the new promotion, K-1 HERO’s is being discontinued.

The first show for the promotion is scheduled for March 15 at the Saitama Super Arena and will feature the first rounds of lightweight and middleweight tournaments intended to crown champions in both weight classes. A single bout to decide the new heavyweight champion is expected to take place as well.


  • Al says:

    Any word on TV deals?

  • Nick says:

    I am physically ill that they would just casually let Crocop go. Granted he had two bad outings, but his overall record is unbelievable. How could they just let him go? From buying up Pride and systematically dismantling it, to not signing Fedor, Gomi, and others, to headlining the first east coast show in years with two TUFers, this is just another negative in Zuffa’s column this year. I just don’t understand with the HW div as weak as it is why you would let go of him. They are also doing alot of good, but it seems like everytime they make a match like Anderson Silva vs Dan henderson, they follow with things like releasing Crocop. I am very frustrated.

  • Ian says:

    Countdown to “He just couldn’t cut it in the UFC” sound bite from Dana, in 5, 4, 3,..

  • Evan says:

    I am one of biggest CC biggest fans and this is just awful how it all worked out. This is so depressing.

    He just couldn’t cut it in the UFC and it never seemed like he cared to try. Don’t forget he didn’t train with elbows and a cage for awhile.

  • Jay K. says:


    When you wrote

    “According to Meltzer, Cro Cop appeared as the press conference and has officially been released from his UFC contract.”

    Did you mean “at” the press conference? I’m confused. Its a shame he never lived up to the hype as his best days may already be behind him.

    Jay K.

  • Gabber says:

    Yeah, this definetly has me looking at them as definitive competition to the UFC, not M-1, not EliteXC, not IFL.

    I must say, that makes me pretty dam happy. I loved the full on Pride & UFC days. This at least gives someone another option for signing.

    Let’s go Arlovski vs Cro-Cop for the HW title. Winner takes on Fedor in a SuperFight!!!

    Man, I’m so excited. This UFC buying out Pride looks like an even more idiotic move then before. They spent all that cash on videos. 😛 Good call. 😛

  • Evan says:

    And for the record I think this is a mutual decision.

  • samscaff says:

    Interesting to me is that at the press conference were not just Aoki, but Sakurai, Kawajiri and Ishida. I guess they stayed with the DSE guys.

  • Donk says:

    Cop is one of the biggest legends of the sport. In Japan i would say he is the most famous MMA fighter. But Dana will undoubtably slag him off for this as though he is some piece of trash. But seeing the community trash him as well, this is too much to take.

    With Sergei, Fedor, Alex, Barnett, Arona, Randy, Monson, Rizzo and even K1 guys like Schilt and lebanner expressing interest at fighting at heavyweight, the grass is just as green outside of the UFC as in it. With guys like Arlovski in the mix and Sylvia playing hardball, maybe Japan will be the future of the heavies. If Cop is instrumental in helping shape this new landscape i think this move by him is braver than people are giving him credit for. It’s selfless as he is giving his critics the opportunity to sink their teeth in and he’s going to help out the rebirth of the Japanese MMA industry. But he has taken a knock from his credibility by leaving, maybe this isn’t as big as people think. He had a lot to loose by leaving, it would have to have been a big slap in the face to make a guy like him walk away.

    But maybe this is just me trying to paint a rosy picture…

  • Jason Brewer says:

    I love it…Cro-Cop was wasted in the UFC. He deserves spectators that understand his past accomplishments and understand the sport. Not the dumb-shit fans that boo every other minute and grab their girlfriends breasts when the camera comes by during a pay-per view. I could not be happier with this result…

  • Matt says:

    Looks as if this org has some promise to it.

  • Gabber says:

    Man, I love Cro Cop, I hate to see him leave. I hated it even more to see him lose to Gonzaga & Kongo.

    Simple fact of the matter is, he lost. He should have dropped to LHW in my opinion, he always looked undersized @ HW.

    To say that the best HW’s are outside of the UFC is not really that true. Randy is out but unavailable, Barnett is out but unsigned, Alex & Fedor good luck getting a crack at either of those guys….

    Arona hasn’t had a legit fight in a long time either. So, you have alot of heavies, they’re just a hodge-podge of dudes all over the place. I think Cro Cop fits in with the group though. It’s a bunch of dudes that are living off nostalgia.

    Past accomplishments only go so far at some point fans have to ask “What have you done for me lately?”

  • brutus says:

    Apparently it’s “DREAM”.
    Not to bad a name.

  • gg says:

    HEIWA DREAM.1 Lightweight GP 2008 Opener
    Date: March 15th, 2008
    Place: Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan

    LW GP 1st Round Fights:
    J.Z. Calvan vs. Shinya Aoki

    LW GP Participants:
    Andre Dida
    Mitsuhiro Ishida
    Tatsuya Kawajiri
    Caol Uno
    Joachim Hansen
    Gilbert Melendez
    Luiz Azeredo
    Artur Oumakhanov
    Koutetsu Boku
    Jung Bu-Kyung
    Kazuyuki Miyata
    Luiz Firmino

    Also can’t wait for the Middleweight GP

  • Zack says:

    Given that it’s a Japanese event, I’ll believe the card when I see it happening in front of my eyes.

  • Evan says:

    I am starting to think that following MMA news too closely is a surefire way to drive yourself insane. hahaha

  • Sergio says:

    “I love it…Cro-Cop was wasted in the UFC. He deserves spectators that understand his past accomplishments and understand the sport.”

    Those same spectators also deserve a fighter who takes his profession seriously and adapts his training to complement his new surroundings.

    For all this talk about how either CroCop couldn’t cut it or how Dana is a dumbass for letting his go… we won’t be sure until we see CroCop fight again.

    Maybe his best days ARE behind him. Or maybe he just wasn’t motivated in the cage.

    We will see.

  • Daveykb says:

    Im so dissapointed to see CroCop leave the UFC. I honestly beleive after suffering back-to-back losses he would have put on one helluva show in his next Octagon appearence to justify his $350,000 per fight.

    I live in the UK and we get to see all the UFC events on UK TV but definately not the Japanese shows so its a shame i wont get to see CroCop fight live again.

    I have a ton of respect for Dana White and what he has achieved in building the UFC and MMA in general but i am starting to loose faith in him a little bit. I think his man-management skills are deteriating and i hope in the future we are all not reading about “The RISE and FALL of the UFC”

  • jj says:

    This is great news!

    Lots of people think the UFC dumped Mirko, but maybe thats what he wanted. Look at everyone else that has tried to make an exit from the UFC…they either got sued or put on the back burner or give the UFC would give them a crappy opponent. Vera, Couture, Tito, Arlovski, etc. Maybe Mirko was dragging his feet for so long so the UFC would terminate his contract. (checkmate?)

    I’m sad to see K-1 Hero’s go, but if that means stomps and knee’s on the ground have a chance of returning I’m all for it. They say soccer kicks and knees are too dangerous. Yet Muay Thai clinch knee’s can be twice as brutal if you bring the opponents head down with your arms into the knee. Slams and standing head kicks can be just as devastating. If the strikes are more dangerous then the fight should be stopped sooner. I’m glad the Japanese promotions have never allowed elbows.

    The UFC always says “We’d hate to see this end on a cut”. Bullshit–the UFC loves blood. Not only do fights have lame stoppages because of cuts, but the fighter has irrepairable damage from scar tissue that doom him for fights to come.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Interesting point is that UFC released Cro Cop from his contract, according to the piece. He wanted out, and the UFC let him go with no known strings attached. Not consistent with the suggestions that UFC/Dana White are evil exploiters.

    Absent a contractual obligation, Cro Cop has the right to do as he pleases, and fighting in the UFC wasn’t where he wanted to be. His UFC fights left me with the impression that the sport is passing him by, and he either cannot or will not adapt. Moving to another org. is an admission that he’s not competitive in UFC, even though the heavyweight division is not well regarded.

  • Bdavis says:

    This just goes to show everyone that the UFC is no longer the only game in town. Mirko’s lost two fights in a row and so has a lot of other stars in the UFC. This may be an indication to things to come. With other players in the game now, the UFC doesn’t have the market cornered anymore.

    I’m looking forward to some great fights in these other orgs.

  • Davey D says:

    Well said #10. Mirko would’ve done good @205 in the UFC. I also think he should’ve fought Randy Couture last year when he had the chance.

    Win or lose, things would’ve worked out a lot better for him had he took that bout IMO.

  • Evan says:

    From Cindy Ortiz on the UG

    From: CindyO
    Date: 02/13/08 06:02 AM
    Member Since: 02/10/2006
    4234 Total Posts Ignore User

    I just talked to DW and this is what he had to say:
    The split was amicable and the terms were decided on in advance. Cro Cops $350k (plus bonuses) contract had a clause in it stating that if he lost two consecutive fights Zuffa had the right to void the existing agreement and negotiate a new one.

    CC never dreamed that he would be so overwhelmed by the level of competition he has faced in the UFC so far and and the losses have impacted him mentally.

    The UFC did NOT cut Cro Cop from the roster nor did they threaten to make him sit out until his contract expired if he didn’t take the pay cut deal.

    Rather than negotiate a new contract with the UFC right now (and risk racking up more losses), Cro Cop wants to get a couple of tune up fights (and wins) in some of the smaller shows (no more tune up matches for him in the UFC) in hopes of rebuilding his confidence and getting himself back on track.

    DW understood completely and supported Cro Cop in his decision. The last thing DW wants to do is shell out a six-figure purse to a fighter that isn’t fighting worth a dayum. Even though it would have been lower than the original figure, it would still be a waste of money and resources.

    Cro Cops ultimate goal is to win the UFC HW championship belt and DW believes he still has the potential to accomplish that goal. CC’s plan when he signed with the UFC was, “I will become Champion after three matches. I will need two and a half or three months off between each match. I expect to hold the UFC belt by the Summer. Then I want Pride Champion Fedor Emelianenko, Vs Me the UFC Heavyweight Champion on New Years Eve.”

  • Echolocating says:

    Yeah, if Mirko would have lost a 3rd time in the UFC… well, I think this is just a smart business decision on his part.

  • As I’ve been saying, the deal with Cro Cop and Zuffa is that Cro Cop wouldn’t agree to Zuffa’s insistence that he take a pay cut — below the amount gauranteed in his contract — and Zuffa subsequently decided that they’d rather release him than pay him that much anymore.

  • THORAZINE says:

    ” Thanks for that info from Cindy O, 23 Evan. Kind of puts things in perspective, there’s so many fans turning against Cro-Cop… I for one have never been a big fan of his, I think he made some big mistakes coming into the UFC and not training in the Octogon for his first 2 fights, and not improving on his wrestling and ground game as much as he should. With that Said, Good Luck to Cro-Cop hope he can turn it around.

  • michael says:

    How on earth do we watch this? I am a huge cro cop fan and want to watch him fight in Dream!! Please let me know. My e-mail is [email protected].


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