By MATT BOONE
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
Gegard Mousasi vs. Jake O'Brien is back on for tonight's DREAM 15 event, which airs live on HDNet beginning at 3:00 a.m. ET.
Mousasi-O'Brien will likely still be an opening round match of the light heavyweight grand prix, opposite Melvin Manhoef vs. Tatsuya Mizuno, despite O'Brien reportedly failing to make the 205-pound weight limit at any point today. According to reports, O'Brien only made it as low as 226 pounds as his lowest recorded unofficial weigh-in.
As covered in-depth earlier today, former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez was waiting in the wings to possibly take the fight with Mousasi, as he was already in Japan for a fight he thought he had lined up with current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. That fight fell apart and Rodriguez was stuck in Japan hoping for DREAM to find him an opponent so he could still compete on the show.
When it seemed O'Brien was out of the Mousasi fight earlier today, Rodriguez was asked by DREAM officials if he would be willing to attempt a very short-notice cut to 205-pounds to fill in. Rodriguez explained in a recent web interview that he agreed to attempt the cut to 205 from his walk-around weight of 230 pounds, but when DREAM officials made the proposal to the Mousasi camp, they allegedly turned it down and claimed they would prefer to take the O'Brien fight regardless of his inability to weigh-in anywhere near the 205-pound limit.
As of this article, DREAM has yet to release O'Brien's official weight for tonight's match. The last known weight O'Brien reached that is officially on the record was 226 pounds, yet somehow the Mousasi-O'Brien fight has been green lit, which is odd considering it's part of an actual weight-specific tournament to crown a light heavyweight champion. On the other hand, DREAM is “the new PRIDE” and this is a Japanese event, so pretty much anything is possible.
One thing is for sure, Ricco Rodriguez should be commended for his willingness to do whatever it takes to get a fight on this show, as he flew to Japan thinking he was fighting the Strikeforce heavyweight champion and without batting an eye was willing to attempt a drop to light heavyweight to fight one of the best 205 pounders in the world. What is the common denominator in both of those fights failing to materialize? The opposing fighters' camp refusing to take the challenge of a fight against Ricco Rodriguez on short notice.
Rodriguez did note that throughout all of this chaos, DREAM has treated him with complete respect and promised to take care of him financially in full, as per their initial agreement.
DREAM 15 emanates from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and can be seen live on HDNet television in the United States tonight starting at 3:00 a.m. ET. Those who won't be watching the show, make sure to stop back by MMANEWS.COM early Saturday morning for a complete DREAM 15 report.
What are your thoughts on this whole mess? Did Alistair Overeem wimp out, making all of today's happenings unnecessary? Is Jake O'Brien simply so unprofessional that his inability to make a weight he signed to compete at led to others (Mousasi, Rodriguez) being put in what turned out to be unfair situations? Is all of this too confusing and you just want to turn on HDNet tonight and watch the fights – screw how they get in the ring? Share your opinion now in the MMANEWS.COM Forums.