Overall, I was generally happy with the first DREAM show. Initially I thought the production values were pretty low until I realized I was watching a shitty fight by fight rip of the Korean broadcast. I decided to re-watch a crystal clear Japanese version so I could get a proper feel for the event and it really made a difference. So for those of you claiming the ‘budo’ was gone from the event, perhaps you should try watching the entire event and not just the bouts on the youtubes?
There were a few things that left bad tastes in my mouth. Minowaman and Mirko Crocop both got ultra-cans and the fights didn’t last long enough to be entertaining. There’s something to be said for mismatches and freakshows where the underdog has a chance of winning. But in this case the outcomes were so painfully obvious there was no real enjoyment in watching the fights.
But the worst thing to come out of this weekend’s show was the No Contest between JZ Calvancante and Shinya Aoki, which was basically being marketed as the main event. For those of you who didn’t see it, JZ blasted Aoki in the neck with elbows, and Aoki was unable to continue. While that seems like it should be a clear cut case of disqualification, this is Japan we’re talking about. The fight was ruled a no contest and now DREAM officials are trying to figure out what the fuck this means in regards to the tournament.
Again, this is a pretty clear cut case of JZ getting a DQ loss and Aoki moving forward to the next round. But here’s the possibilities as floated by Sherdog’s very detailed report on the situation:
- No contest is upheld and ‘the physically able fighter will proceed in the tournament’, aka JZ.
- Fight is ruled a DQ loss for JZ, Aoki continues
- JZ and Aoki face off again in the second round (only 7 of the 8 tournament fights were held at DREAM.1, leaving room for this to happen)
- JZ and Aoki face off again at DREAM.2 in a first round ‘retry’
There’s 1001 complications going into all this relating to ratings and executives and sponsors and DREAM’s plans for the future of their lightweight division. Basically this whole situation has become a total cock-up, which is never what you want to hear regarding the main event for your first rebranded show.