Pancrase is legendary in the world of MMA for producing numerous superstars such as Bas Rutten, Frank Shamrock, Guy Mezger, and Ken Shamrock. Now it has been bought by World Victory Road, sponsor of up and coming Japanese MMA promotion Sengoku. This may have serious repercussions on MMA in the future.
Pancrase will still be somewhat independent. Its relationship to Sengoku will be much like the relation between the WEC and the UFC. World Victory Road may soon become the Zuffa of the East. First it has some obstacles in its way.
Sengoku may be the next heir to the PRIDE throne, in effect assasinating crown prince Dream. This may put a monopoly on Japanese MMA, the likes of which have not been seen since the untimely demise of Pride. There stand no challengers once Dream is gone. Shooto and DEEP would most likely follow after Dream died because of the high pay they could receive from the big show. K-1 will soon fear WVR also. Pancrase has produced K-1 champs like Semmy Schilt also. One may want to go back to one's beginning. This could be catastrophic for them. This is the basic math of a dog eat dog world of MMA.
Pancrase is the longest standing organization in MMA, even before the UFC. I discount Abu Dhabi, because it is classified as submission fighting. It began in early 1993, a few months before the UFC and gave a good view into what was to come.
Some of the most famous among those stars produced were Bas Rutten and Ken Shamrock. THese two both became UFC champs, along with Frank Shamrock and Josh Barnett who also were champions.
The current stars of Pancrase are Yuki Kondo, Yoshiro Maeda, and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. Also, recent champs include UFC stars Nate Marquardt, Assuerio Silva, and Ricardo Almeida. This may not be the case in the future as pancrase champs may be persuaded to join Sengoku. This may be a more comfortable change.
With all of the talent Sengoku will receive from Pancrase and the profits that will still flow in from the TV deals and ticket sales from both Pancrase and its own cards, fighters will be easier to afford and more attention will be shined on it. Lucrative contracts in front of Japanese fans are a Dream for any fighter, (pun intended).
As much as Sengoku has been doubted, the rise of this once lowly organization is inevitable. Say hello to the next PRIDE. Affliction vs. UFC? Keep your eye on the third man in the fight.
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