An “emergency” press conference set for Wednesday in Tokyo is expected to announce Bellator’s debut in Japan.
Rizin FF CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara broke the news of the gathering on Monday, touting a “historical” cross-promotional event between the Japanese promotion and its American counterpart on Dec. 29 at a location to be announced.
Sakakibara will, of course, be in attendance at the presser, as will former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and Bellator president Scott Coker.
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Bellator will be coming to Japan to put on a historical event on December 29th! We will host an emergency press conference with Bellator president Scott Coker and Fedor Emelianenko! We hope to be able to deliver exciting news so please make sure to come out and experience the press conference! ーーーーーーー ついに決まりました！BellatorとRIZINが今年の年末にお互いの威信を賭けて全面対抗戦で激突する事が正式決定しました！10/9(水)にBellator代表スコット・コーカー氏とヒョードル選手が緊急来日して共に記者会見に臨みます！皆さんの胸躍る発表が出来ると思いますので、是非楽しみにお待ちください！
A Rizin FF official confirmed Sakakibara’s announcement to MMA Fighting. Coker could not immediately be reached for comment. The Bellator executive has long teased a trip overseas to the promotional home of its partner, with whom it shares talent.
Over the summer, Coker said the promotion was working on a major show with Rizin and teased the possibility of a heavyweight fight between Emelianenko and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, both of whom who once served under Sakikibara in the now-defunct PRIDE FC as major company stars.
Twelve years after Pride folded, Emelianenko and Jackson are now colleagues under the Bellator banner, and Jackson, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, is now firmly committed to the big-man division.
Coker also presented the possibility of rekindling a long-dormant rivalry between Emelianenko and veteran heavyweight Josh Barnett, who recently signed with Bellator. The standouts were set to meet at Affliction: Trilogy in 2009 when a positive drug test scratched Barnett from the card, leading to the promotion’s rapid implosion.
Rizin and Pride are known for promoting blowout events on New Year’s Eve. Emelianenko has been a regular fixture of the year-end shows throughout his decorated career.