"Kid" Yamamoto off Strikeforce St. Louis card, may fight at DREAM.14 | MMAjunkie.com
Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto (17-3) will not fight at "Strikeforce St. Louis: Heavy Artillery" on May 15, though he may fight later in the month at DREAM.14 on May 29. |
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker informed reporters of the change today during a conference call promoting the May 15 event, which takes place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis and airs live on Showtime.
Yamamoto was scheduled to take on Federico Lopez on the non-televised portion of "Heavy Artillery." However, Coker said the Japanese featherweight could help plug a talent gap at DREAM.14, an event which recently lost a planned 8-man light heavyweight tournament.
Coker said DREAM's promoters asked him to place Yamamoto on the May 15 card but changed their minds in the shake-up.
The 33-year-old Yamamoto fought most recently at Dynamite!! 2009 and lost to Masanori Kanehara by unanimous decision in his second consecutive defeat. Once regarded as the world's top featherweight, he was defeated by MMA neophyte Joe Warren in the quarterfinals of DREAM's featherweight grand prix this past summer. The loss was a huge upset and snapped a five-year, 14-fight win streak.
A source today told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
) that DREAM's television partner, Tokyo Broadcasting System, did not show interest in the light heavyweight tournament and nixed the idea of airing it May 29. It is unknown whether the promotion will attempt to reschedule the contest.
According to several reports, rumors of the cancellation circulated when DREAM announced the May 29 event would feature the return of a white cage used at DREAM.12 this past October.
The tournament was expected to feature several Strikeforce fighters, including former light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi, Rameau Thierry Sokodjou and Renato "Babalu" Sobral.
Coker said the marooned Strikeforce fighters could fight for his promotion in June, when there are two events in the works, or in non-tournament bouts on the May 29 card.
For more on the "Strikeforce St. Louis: Heavy Artillery" event, check out the MMA Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.