RingSide Report

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By Sean Farrell

IT HAS ARRIVED…The UFC will return to Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, sooner than everyone thinks. UFC President Dana White revealed today that the promotion is close to holding an event in Japan before year’s end. Little is known about the event, but it seems the rumors surrounding the possibility of a Japanese UFC show were very valid.

The UFC has not visited Japan since Zuffa purchased the promotion in 2001, though its previous owners, Semaphore Entertainment Group, put on four Japanese events, with the last one being UFC 29 in December 2000, since then the UFC has held over a hundred events without returning to Japan.

As the popularity of Japanese MMA has seen a significant decline since Zuffa acquired Pride Fighting Championships in 2007, more of Japan’s top fighters have begun to sign with the UFC, including Michihiro Omigawa Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto and Hatsu Hioki. Japan’s two largest MMA promotions, Sengoku and Dream, are both undergoing financial hardships. Sengoku has not yet held an event in 2011, while Dream recently held its first show of the year on May 29.




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