Some news/notes from a recent interview with DREAM President Sasahara regarding DREAM 14 (from MMAfighting via Nightmare Of Battle):
LHWGP has been POSTPONED, not cancelled. It MIGHT be at DREAM 15 but that hasn't been decided.
Now it could be a 4-man tournament or even just 3 matches and the 2 fighters who did best in those fights advance.
Likely confirmed participants when it does happen: Gegard Mousasi, Sokoudjou, Renato Sobral, Tetsuya Mizuno, Muhammad Lawal.
If the GP happens at DREAM 15, there could be a Mousasi-Lawal rematch as a tourney match. If they go with the 3 match scenario, no guarantees.
No Shinya Aoki.
Tatsuya Kawajiri is confirmed, opponent TBA. Should Kawajiri win they'll probably start building towards the long-rumored (and put off) Aoki fight for the DREAM LW Title. Also confirmed is that Kawajiri will face Katsunori Kikuno at some point, just not this month.
Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto is confirmed. Opponent TBA.
No Marius Zaromskis. He'll probably be back at DREAM 15 in July.
He'd like some Heavyweights for the 2 events. Nothing announced but he'd "ideally" like to do Josh Barnett vs. Alistair Overeem. Seriously.
On pushing 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."
On Aoki in SF: Says that according to Satoru Kitaoka, not getting timing right was the biggest reason he lost. (I still think it was not having the pants)
On Aoki's pre-fight "MMA Colony" comments: Promo. Didn't really mean it.
On switching permanently to a cage: Still thinking about it. It's their tradition (the ring). They'll probably start alternating but want to talk to everyone-fighters, fans, sponsors, etc.
On PRIDE rules coming back to DREAM: Undecided.
On sponsors: "To be honest with you, we are in a really difficult situation. There are some sponsors that are interested but it is difficult as the whole country is in recession. Look at Toyota, even they are having a difficult time."
On Don Quijote sponsoring or purchasing DREAM (they now own or sponsor Sengoku, Pancrase and Shooto): "Don Quijote sponsored Dynamite!! because we got together with SRC but they are not a sponsor of DREAM. Don Quijote is a company that Japanese MMA must hang on to but for us to enter a relationship with them is a completely different thing than those other companies. Of course, we have our relationships with the TV networks to consider too. Even though we have a good relationship with them, we are completely different story than those other promotions."
On TV, specifically relations with TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System): "I think you will see DREAM on TBS in 2011 too. We have a yearly contract with them so if we keep holding great events and getting good ratings, we will get an extension next year. People are watching DREAM nationwide on TBS. They just give their opinion to us on what the nation wants to see and nothing more."
Says FEG & DREAM are fine, "really, really OK".
DREAM 15 will be this summer, DREAM 16 in fall. Undecided where, could be Japan or Korea.
On what to expect: "Let's keep it a secret. But please look forward to it."