According to recent reports, The Fight & Entertainment Group (FEG), the minds behind PRIDE Fighting Championships, Sengoku, and DREAM, have been put in a bit of a financial predicament.
MMA Junkie reports that the compny's assets and liabilities are under review as an internal review has been conducted by PUJI Capital, an investment bank in Shanghai that has funded the operations of FEG.
To briefly summarize why they've struggled financially, income has decreased in a multitude of ways while expenses have increased, and thus it's been difficult for the company to pay its fighters for their performances in the cage.
The general consensus is that should PUJI be unable to raise the $230 million necessary to keep the company alive at least through 2011, the FEG could crumble before our very eyes.
What this would mean is that with the FEG on the verge of collapsing, K-1 and DREAM would also fold, while World Victory Road, the company responsible for the Sengoku Raiden Championship, and others could pick up the pieces.
Who's to say the UFC would be an exception?
Think about it for a second, in hypothetical terms:
Let's pretend you're Dana White, the man who not only picked the UFC back up when there was debate over MMA as a sport, but also turned it into the first thing people talk about when they think of MMA.
You're the reason why people unfamiliar with the sport of Mixed Martial Arts see the sport and automatically think UFC, and your company is a global phenomenon.
Abu Dhabi, Ireland, England, Texas, California, Canada, Massachusetts, Nevada, Australia—any place in the modern era that gives even a blunt penny's worth a damn about a big-fight atmosphere—you've been there and you've made yourself an impact by putting on a hell of a show.
After making such an impact in all those places, you figure still that global expansion is the way to keep the company and the sport growing, and obviously you know about PRIDE, and you know about DREAM.
Most of all, you not only know that FEG needs a bankroll on your level in order to even survive the next year, but you also remember that the crowds in Japan are some of the most reverent crowds in all of MMA.
So the question is, if you're Dana White or one of the Fertita Brothers, and you're aware of what might happen if that nine-figure amount isn't raised by PUJI by the end of the first quarter of 2011, why wouldn't you want to jump on it?
I mean, Dana white has talked about expanding outside of the U.S. to other countries, and he's already making progress with it, what with all the events he's had in the UK, plus UFC 99 in Germany, UFC 110 in Australia, and UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, not to mention the events he's had in Canada.
Of course, the UFC has not lost its feel for its American crowds either, considering that some of its most memorable events were held in Las Vegas or California.
Plus the company has had two events in Texas, its has made its mark in Memphis, touched on Ohio, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
So why not try to make Japan a regular spot for the UFC's most solid action?
The UFC has not been to the Land of the Rising Sun since the third Saturday in December of 1997, so this would actually be a return to Japan for them.
Obviously, a place like this where guys like Yoshihiro Akiyama and Yushin Okami first started off their careers would be a great area in which to expand the UFC's territory. I'm sure the fights Joe Silva could come up with for an event in Japan would make the event a must-see in UFC history.
One other reason White might consider jumping on a situation like this should FEG's troubles worsen is the K-1 and DREAM rosters.
Yeah, on the surface, it may seem like their only big name is Shinya Aoki, as everyone else is either not as established as Aoki or they're on loan to DREAM from Strikeforce, but that's not necessarily a flaw.
The UFC doesn't just take guys who have built a reputation as a big deal in other organizations like PRIDE, Affliction, and Strikeforce.
The organization realizes like we do that as talented as the top five guys in a division are, it's usually the new face we know nothing about that winds up making the biggest impact.
Sure, Aoki is one of the three best lightweights in the world right now, and the UFC would capitalize on this as much as they did on Shogun, Anderson Silva, or Rampage Jackson, but Aoki isn't all of DREAM.
There's also guys like Melvin Manhoef, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and others in DREAM now that could make waves in the UFC if White wants them.
As for the Featherweights and would've-been Bantamweights, including DREAM's Featherweight Champion Bibiano Fernandes, the WEC could have a field day with some of these guys if Reed Harris could sign a former DREAM Featherweight or Bantamweight.
Case in point: Bellator's Joe Warren, who will fight at DREAM 16 regardless of whether or not he beats Joe Soto for the Bellator Featherweight Title tomorrow night.
As for K-1, the UFC would have a good time with some of the guys from lightweight and up, because K-1 fighters usually have some pretty sick standup skills and thus would only need to incorporate some more of the ground game for MMA.
Keep in mind, while you rarely ever see wrestlers and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu aces in K-1, they do make their way to the K-1 ring and actually don't do too badly.
The other incorporation the new fighters would need, is the use of the cage in their game plan. But some fighters may not be very acquainted to the cage, so that may take time.
The bottom line here is that should FEG have to fold by the end of Dynamite! 2010, K-1 and DREAM go down with it, and thus both promotions' fighters are on the market for any organization in the world.
Unquestionably, some of these guys have left no doubt that they are the best on the Japanese circuit, and they've proven themselves to be among the best fighters in the world.
That is what you're looking for, right Dana?
You are looking for the best fights in MMA featuring the best fighters in MMA, yes?
Some of those talents you can find in DREAM, but let's not jump the gun here.
DREAM hasn't folded, nor has the FEG made it public that their last show will be the next Dynamite! show.
The FEG is still with Strikeforce, and is still holding some of that tough, top-tier talent that could leave the fans of the sport talking for a long, long time.
Don't call it a run until we get past DREAM 16, because by then the FEG could be on its way to showing hope for a run in 2011.
Should it not, however, Dana White had better pick some of these guys up, and fast.
Some of these guys are still young, and there's no telling how big they might become if they signed with MMA's biggest organization.
If FEG folds and Dana misses out, however, he could be missing out on a talent that could have been one of his future UFC Champions.
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