Monday, April 5, 2010

DREAM's irrelevant Grand Prix

At the end of May, DREAM will begin it's Light-heavyweight Grand Prix. In PRIDE, which DREAM is the spiritual successor of, the Light-heavyweight Grand Prix were the sources of some of the best fights ever in the promotion. The 2003 GP had Rampage manhandle the UFC's poster boy, Chuck Liddell, and then his devastating KO loss to Wanderlei Silva in the finals. All in the same night. The 2005 GP had Wanderlei Silva's first loss in the light-heavyweight division in just about four years to Ricardo Arona. It also was the birth of the legend known as "Shogun." Mauricio Rua defeated Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem, and Ricardo Arona all in about an eight month span. Rua was a relative unknown at the time, and all the men he beat were top 10 205ers at the time. Those memorable fights and moments are what made PRIDE (in my opinion of course) the greatest organization of all-time.

However, DREAM is not doing well to follow the legacy of PRIDE's past success. The only announced fighters for the GP this year are Strikeforce Light-heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi, UFC and Strikeforce veteran Renato Sobral, PRIDE and UFC veteran Sokoudjou, and serviceable journeyman Chris M'Pumbu. Aside from them, the only options left outside the UFC are "King Mo" Lawal, Ricardo Arona, and Rafael "Feijao" Calvancante. Sadly, only one of them, Mousasi, is a top 10 heavyweight. Sobral is losing his luster, Lawal may still be too green, and Arona has fought once in the past two and a half years. None of those fighters, sans Mousasi, are even close to the top 10 at this point. They might as well have called it the Mousasi Grand Prix. In my opinion, this GP is pointless, unless they find a way to mix in promising new blood, like a Mauricio Rua. The only problem is, the UFC has ALL the talent at light-heavyweight. In my opinion, DREAM should have never done this GP. Just give Mousasi the belt and let him defend it against whoever can earn it.

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