MMA returns to Japan as Bellator and Rizin join forces for an epic showdown. Read about the collaboration, the growth of MMA in Japan, and the upcoming event.
Bellator president Scott Coker witnessed something truly special on New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. Bellator and Japanese promotion Rizin collaborated to host a unique event that pitted fighters from each organization against each other. Surrounded by 23,000 fans, including UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, Coker describes the production value in Japan as unlike anything he’s ever experienced.
Coker, who has been involved in martial arts for decades, believes that Japan is the birthplace of martial arts and that the country has a deep-rooted fighting culture. He explains that martial arts is engrained in the Japanese DNA, making it a unique and exciting place for MMA. After a successful event six months ago, Bellator and Rizin have once again teamed up to host another show at the Saitama Super Arena.
The upcoming event will feature a 13-fight card headlined by a lightweight bout between Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire and Roberto de Souza. Coker reflects on his first introduction to martial arts in Japan during the 1990s when he attended a kickboxing show hosted by promotion K-1. He was amazed by the massive crowd of 55,000 people and the spectacular fights put on by Pride, the biggest MMA promotion at the time.
However, the popularity of MMA in Japan declined after the UFC purchased Pride in 2007, causing a lull in the country’s martial arts scene. Coker is thrilled to see the resurgence of MMA in Japan and believes that the relationship between Bellator and Rizin is crucial for the growth of the sport in the country. He sees it as a way of giving back to Japan for its role in the development of MMA.
Coker and Rizin promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara have had a long-standing relationship since 2006 when Coker was in charge of Strikeforce. They have worked together to promote MMA and believe that competing against other leagues is beneficial for the sport. Coker even envisions a future where all combat leagues come together for a World Cup of MMA fights.
While the UFC’s business model may not align with this idea at the moment, Coker hopes that one day they will be involved. He believes that if everyone signs up, a World Cup of MMA fights could become a reality. Bellator is open to the idea and is willing to put their fighters on the line for such an event.
In conclusion, the collaboration between Bellator and Rizin has brought MMA back to Japan in a big way. The upcoming event at the Saitama Super Arena promises to be an epic showdown between top fighters from both organizations. MMA fans around the world eagerly await this historic event.
|Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire
- Bellator and Rizin collaborated for a unique event in Japan
- Martial arts is deeply rooted in Japanese culture
- MMA popularity declined in Japan after the UFC purchased Pride
- Bellator and Rizin’s partnership is crucial for the growth of MMA in Japan
- Scott Coker envisions a World Cup of MMA fights involving all combat leagues