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Thursday, January 27, 2011
Sources: Japan fight being planned

By Josh Gross
ESPN.com

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Dream co-producer Real Entertainment plans on forging ahead in the turbulent Japanese mixed martial arts promotion business with an eight-fighter lightweight tournament starting in May, sources tell ESPN.com.

HDNet confirmed to ESPN.com that they would broadcast the tournament stateside.

The field would consist of Strikeforce and Real Entertainment fighters, possibly but not necessarily under the Dream banner, and likely without FEG, which has been its promotional partner since Pride Fighting Championships was purchased by Zuffa in 2007.

"We're committed to keeping our fighters active, but if we can help Dream and have our fighters go over there and participate in their tournament, why not?" said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, who confirmed ongoing discussions between his promotion and Real Entertainment for the May event. "If things go the way they should, I feel confident we'll send a bunch of guys over."

Strikeforce could provide up to five fighters. Japan's Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Katsunori Kikuno are also expected to participate.

Josh Gross covers MMA for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at JoshGrossESPN.