Dream Prez Talks Strikeforce Losing Streak, Diaz Plans

Full transcript below.

I took a couple of things away from the video of Sasahara. The Dream folks are certainly taking the Dream vs Strikeforce angle a lot more serious than their counterparts stateside. This was also evident from the intro video that was shown as the lead-in to Dream 14 action.. juxtaposing the Strikeforce showdown between Aoki-Melendez with WWII footage. With Japan being such a homogenues country, the nationalistic angle plays well, and unlike Steve Cofield, I won’t begrudge them for that for the sake of a few web hits. Whereas SF looks to send guys overseas to Japan to alleviate problem with over-signing and then under-booking fighters, Dream seems to have incorporated it as THE ongoing storyline for the promotion. This comes on the heels of their Dynamite showdown against Sengoku. The Dynamite card drew well for New Year’s, but it is hard to quantify if that owed more to a co-promotional feud or the retirement bout of K-1 fighter Masato. As the Strikeforce angle plays out, the results should bear out whether this is a angle that will draw. I have my doubts that it will but will reserve judgment.

The other thing that interested me were the Nick Diaz comments. Judging from what Sasahara had to say, it looks like they may want to book him in a similar way to Wanderlei Silva during his Pride run. They seem to want to put him forward as the monster gaijin that they will throw the kitchen sink at to get a win, with an especially heavy dose of Japanese challengers. Granted he can get paid by Dream (he’s had problems there before), being booked into such an angle should be really advantageous to Diaz’s pocketbook.

A transcript of Sasahara’s comments:

I don’t really know how I feel about the event just yet, but a lot of questions have been raised about the future of DREAM. Cage or ring? As a sport? We have a lot to think about. This event brought up a lot of points that will help us make the future of MMA in Japan more exciting. Several fights brought up different points, but the most important one was Sakurai vs. Diaz. Of course, it’s too bad about the result, but that result will probably be good for us in the long run. Mach lost, Aoki lost. Zaromsky, Manhoef, Ishida are losing. We have about 5 or 6 losses to Strikeforce, so now we have to recoup those losses. It’s not just about ring or cage, but about us as promoters pulling together and getting back those losses. We lost today, but I’m here to say that DREAM is going to get those losses back.

Step one is the Aoki vs. Kawajiri title match. If you know the background, there’s a lot of history and drama behind this match. Of course the fans have special feelings about it, too, but I can’t wait to show them what the new DREAM is all about in DREAM 15. DREAM vs. Strikeforce is another thing as well. Whether it will be ring or cage is another thing, but DREAM 15 will be even more than what you saw today. I can say that with pride.

──Was the cage one of the reasons for all the split decisions?

I don’t think so. It was because either fighter could have won. Nothing to do with the cage.

──So what about the process for split decisions?

It’s difficult. In the Miyata fight I thought Otsuka fared a little better, but the Judge called it and that’s how it goes. A 2-1 split. Either one could have won.

──And what about KID?

KID is like the sun for both DREAM and all of Japanese MMA. When he wins, it’s bright and cheery. He won’t be fighting a championship match all of a sudden. He will fight strong fighters and work his way toward the title.

──Nick Diaz said if the money is right he would fight Aoki.

Does he mean he’d lose weight? He’s crazy! The weight is too different. He won this time, but we won’t let him get away easily. We will have him back in the ring. I don’t know if it be the Zaromsky title match or another fight, but he has become kind of a goal for us. Everyone near his weight should be gunning for him. I think now Japanese fans have a better idea of the power of Strikeforce what with the Nashville Melendez/Aoki match and Nick here.

──Diaz said he wants to fight in a ring next.

He said a few days ago that Japan fights should be in a ring. I think he really wants to be in the ring and that doesn’t bother me.

──He said he doesn’t want to fight in a cage. He said you could get stuck in one of the holes.

Of course the Dreamcage is different than the Strikeforce cage so we are listening to all the fighters’ opinions to make it better. Of course the most interesting fighters are good anywhere. Cage or ring. Nick will probably be good in either one.

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