At yesterday’s press conference Maeda said that right now in Japanese MMA there are some promoters (any guesses?) who don’t operate properly so he has to do something. In The Outsider there are currently around 10 pro level fighters which means that The Outsider has a solid influence on the foundation of fighters.
So if I understand correctly he wants to capitalize on that and make The Outsider a professional producing promotion and for the sake of Japanese MMA he’s considering the revival of the RINGS Network (where the pro level fighters of The Outsider could fight). Or he means that he wants to create a new event instead of The Outsider (foundation for fighters) and professionalize The Outsider as the revival of the RINGS Network. Either way he’s considering the revival of the RINGS Network (which has been out since February of 2002).
Don’t get too excited though. There’s a couple of small problems with the idea of Maeda returning Japanese MMA to it’s former glory … mainly the fact that his current project The Outsider is quite literally a gangster fight promotion. When you’re in a country where other promotions have been sunk due to Yakuza ties and Enson Inoue can’t even get into several evacuee centers due to tattoos, what are the chances that a guy who’s current endeavor doesn’t just flirt but flaunts it’s affiliations will be the one to save Japanese MMA?
JMMA needs a sketch free promotion that knows how to create stars and can wrangle a television deal. Maeda may be able to do some cool stuff and could even turn out some new names in an increasingly old and busted scene, but his Outsider events are a scandal waiting to happen. Even if he scrapped that concept and revived RINGS, the TV networks aren’t going to touch him with a ten foot pole.
Still, when you factor in the idea that maybe it’s going to be a few years before a new A league emerges in Japan (or the UFC finally gets there), it’s exciting to hear that Maeda is going to put efforts into organizing events for new fighters to flourish. That’s the glass half full way of seeing this and aside from the previous reality check, I’m happy to subscribe to that school of thought.