Cage to Hold Dream 14 on May 29

By Tony Loiseleur Apr 27, 2010
TOKYO -- Dream Event Producer Keiichi Sasahara on Tuesday revealed via Internet press conference that Dream 14 will be contested inside a cage on May 29 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

According to the Real Entertainment spokesman, the impetus to switch to the cage came as the result of a personal request by Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, who will face Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz in a non-title bout at the upcoming event. A video clip of Sakurai making the request played before Sasahara’s announcement. The UFC veteran and former Shooto 167-pound champion made clear his desire to meet Diaz in the cage, in light of the growing sentiment surrounding Japanese MMA’s shortcomings in comparison to its stateside counterpart.

“After Shinya Aoki’s unsuccessful fight in Strikeforce ‘Nashville,’ we will have one more chance,” Sasahara said. “Since Mach directly appealed to me to fight the ‘cage fighting champion’ [Diaz] in a cage, I have decided to hold Dream 14 in a cage.”

Rumors leading up to the announcement hinted at potential rules changes for Dream 14, particularly the implementation of Pride Fighting Championships rules, including an added five-minute round, soccer kicks and stomps to the head of a grounded opponent. In a Q&A session with fans on Dream’s official Web site following the announcement, Sasahara claimed that no significant rules changes would be made for Dream 14, other than fights will be contested over three five-minute rounds, mirroring Dream 12 -- the promotion’s first experimental cage event.

Sasahara also claimed to be open to fan suggestions regarding the promotion’s future use of the cage and potential rules changes. On the topic of elbows, he was quick to state that he personally had no problem with their inclusion but wanted to further evaluate them and the various opinions surrounding their use.

“I want to try out the cage first and see how people like it,” Sasahara said. “After that, we will think about including elbows and stomps.”

Meanwhile, Sasahara claimed to be open to opinions on whether Dream should use the cage beyond its initial promise of “once per year” in 2009. He also indicated the Dream 14 cage would be further improved over the “White Cage” used at Dream 12 but made no specific claims regarding those upgrades.

Sasahara did not comment on additional fights for the May show or on how the promotion’s planned light heavyweight tournament was developing. Rather, a vague Sasahara indicated the grand prix would need to be reevaluated since Dream 14 was now being held in a cage.
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