Nippon Weekly: Fighters OK After Massive Quake; Sengoku's Future Grim

Given the circumstances in Japan, it's not really possible for me to write. The power is going to be switched off periodically in Tokyo I'm told, Internet is sketchy, there are reports now of trace amounts of radiation in Tokyo and I am ready to get out on a moment's notice.

No fighters that I am aware of have been reported missing. The vast majority of fighters are in Tokyo and that area was not hit as bad as places to the north.

Notably, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Kazuyuki Miyata and Hayato "Mach" Sakurai are all up North in the Saitama and Ibaraki prefectures, but they are fine.

It took FEG President Sadaharu Tanikawa eight hours to get home, but he reports that everyone at FEG is safe.

Jewels were the first promotion to respond to the earthquake as they cancelled their Friday night Jewels 12 event. The event was to be held at Shinjuku Face, which is in Shinjuku, Tokyo, on the seventh floor of an older building. The aftershocks that are continuing even now are quite strong in my ground floor apartment and so a building like that must be badly shaken.

Even after the quake, Shooto made their fighters come in for the weigh-ins (although they did extend the deadline), but they eventually canceled their Saturday event when the ceiling at Korakuen Hall was damaged. As a result of their late cancellation it's likely that fighters were left stranded but I have heard no official reports of this. Deep also canceled their Sunday event.

Sengoku loses major sponsor; future looks grim
Minutes before the quake hit, Sengoku released a statement that signals the end of the promotion. Here is the translated statement.

As we already announced in an immediate report last time (on Feburary 1, 2011), our company is at a turning point and we have to make a tough choice now.

Our mother company, Don Quijote, who is also our primary sponsor, has just officially announced that they will be withdrawing their support. We would like to honestly tell the truth since we are already to the point where we cannot do anything else. Here is what Don Quijote feel:

"We have been supporting MMA with only our passion and dreams, regardless of the huge deficits it caused. However, our passions and dreams have been misunderstood. But some heartless media who have picked our organization apart in magazines, and we have been suffering as a result of this. We have run out of patience."

However, Don Quixote is not trying to retreat from the world of MMA completely, and we will still continue to sponsor Shooto, Pancrase, and groups which we support now such as amateur wrestling groups.

"We may also sponsor other (small) groups if they ask, although we are not going to change our company's decision; we are retreating from big event businesses like SRC."

It is a shame to reveal our situation, but the reality is that we have to throw our hands up without the mother company and sponsor companies which we have counted on.

Our only hope is that another company like Don Quixote provides sponsorship for us that has a passion for MMA. World Victory Road has said:

"If there is a company which has passions for MMA and could support (SRC) with a decent amount of money, we would like to give them total support."

However, if there will be no company whom can help us, we have to think about the worst case scenario: the end of SRC.

In any case, we would like to say sorry to fans of SRC, athletes, and everyone who supported us.

Note that Don Quijote said they are withdrawing from all "big event businesses" so even if there is a new event coming in the Spring, they will likely not be supporting it. Very noteworthy that they are continuing to support Pancrase and Shooto. As I noted a couple weeks ago in Nippon Weekly, if they did pull out entirely, JMMA would be badly crippled. Don Quijote have been the financial lifeblood of JMMA as they effectively ran Sengoku, bought out Pancrase and became a major sponsor of Shooto.

Meanwhile, Kamipro publisher Enterbrain announced that they are ceasing publication of the magazine after March 24's Issue 157. Kamipro is one of the biggest MMA and pro wrestling outlets. Kamipro were also a harsh critic of Sengoku and so it is quite ironic that they are both effectively ceasing operation at the same time.

There obviously is not much focus on MMA here right now, and I expect everything to be canceled for at least a month.

For more on the Japanese MMA scene, Follow Dan Herbertson on Twitter

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