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DREAM EP Keiichi Sasahara Reveals Details on DREAM 14 & 15

DREAM 14 appears to be cursed.

Originally scheduled for South Korea in April it was was shifted back to Japan in May after a Korean TV deal could not be secured. Then this week, DREAM Executive Producer Keiichi Sasahara announced that DREAM 14 was to be held in a cage for only the second time in the promotion's history. Now we hear that 2010's Light-Heavyweight Grand Prix is canceled, then rescheduled and now changed to a four-man tournament.

Prior to an MMA Fighting exclusive interview with Sasahara, we attempted to sort through the rumors and speculation to get back to the facts regarding DREAM 14 and 15.

Daniel Herbertson: It came out in the media this week that the light-heavyweight GP that was scheduled for DREAM 14 has been postponed. Is that correct?
Keiichi Sasahara: After Shinya Aoki lost in Strikeforce, we decided to have DREAM 14 in the cage. Then we thought, is it proper to have the opening round of the Light-Heavyweight GP in the cage? We decided it wasn't so we postponed the fights until the near future but the date has not been decided yet.

So you haven't decided if the Light-Heavyweight GP will be on for DREAM 15 yet?
No. We may not have the tournament.

It was rumored that there would be a four-man tournament. This is not true?
That is one idea that we had. Another idea is that we may have three light heavyweight matches and the two fighters who did the best in those matches will go into a title match.

So who will be involved in these matches or perhaps the tournament?
[Gegard] Mousasi, [Rameau Thierry] Sokoudjou, [Tatsuya] Mizuno, [Renato Sobral] "Babalu", [Muhammed Lawal] "King Mo". When I first thought about the Light-Heavyweight GP, I thought that this tournament was going to be for Mousasi to shine. But unfortunately he was defeated by King Mo. This will give Mousasi an opportunity at revenge.

King Mo vs. Mousasi will be one of the fights at DREAM 15?
That depends on how things are going to be done. If it is a tournament, than probably yes. If we are just going to have three matches and then choose candidates for a title match, then it would probably be a different story.

Aoki recently posted on Twitter that he would like to fight again in May. Will we see him at Dream 14?
(Laughs) I ignored that. Aoki is the kind of fighter that wants to fight a lot. He probably wants to get back into the ring because he got defeated but is physically ok. But he will not be fighting.

How about Tatsuya Kawajiri? He posted on his blog last night a photo and said that he is ready to fight. A lot of people want to see him in a cage.
When I think about DREAM 14, he is more likely to fight than Aoki. If Kawajiri will fight, it will be his first ever match in a cage so when he is victorious he will probably challenge Aoki and then they will create a story that people can relate to and he will fight Aoki at a later date.

You can confirm that Kawajiri will fight in DREAM 14?
Yes, but we don't have an opponent. Who do you think he should fight?

Well, a lot of people have been saying that perhaps he should fight Katsunori Kikuno in a title eliminator if he can't fight Aoki.
They are going to fight at some point but not in May.

Will Kikuno be fighting at DREAM 14?
That is possible but it is difficult to find an opponent, so we are not sure at this moment.

KID Yamamoto was recently pulled from the May 15 Strikeforce card. He will be fighting in DREAM 14, is that correct?
Yes, he will. He also doesn't have an opponent.

Marius Zaromskis was rumoured to be fighting at DREAM 14 when it was to be held in South Korea. Will he be fighting still?
No, he won't be fighting in May. He will probably be fighting in DREAM 15 in July.

Are there any other fights that you can announce for Dream 14 or 15?
Well of course Aoki vs. Kawajiri should be happening in the near future. Nothing has been decided yet but we would like some Heavyweights. Josh Barnett, Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski. All of those kinds of fighters, I would like to make those guys fight. Ideally Josh Barnett vs. Alistair Overeem would be something I can do. These are just names however.

Until now, DREAM was focused on the lighter weight classes. Are we going to be seeing a push towards the heavier weight classes?
We need heavier weight divisions because it is easier to understand for the people who are not familiar with MMA. But unfortunately, Japanese people are not capable of winning at the heavier weight division, even at middleweight or welterweight. At the moment, we have to work on the lighter weight divisions so that events can continue in Japan.

In our exclusive interview with DREAM Executive Producer Keiichi Sasahara to be posted in the coming week, we discuss the recent performances of Japanese fighters in the America, the decision to hold DREAM 14 in a cage and the future of DREAM and Japanese MMA.

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