Jose Canseco to Collide with Choi in Super Hulk Tournament
By: Jordan Breen Apr 30, 2009
Although the featherweights were thought to be the center of
attention for Dream 9, parent company Fighting and Entertainment
Group has added another tournament focal point on the other side of
In a true Japanese mixed martial arts-style spectacle, FEG has
announced its second tournament series of 2009: an eight-man
open-weight competition that includes Major League Baseball bad boy
Jose Canseco and has been christened the Super Hulk Tournament.
Four quarter-final bouts are slated for Dream 9 on May 26 at the
Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan, pitting fighters of all shapes
and sizes against one another.
Minowa (41-30-8) is coming off of a disappointing decision loss to
professional wrestling convert Katsuyori
Shibata at Dream 8, while Sapp (10-3-1) has not seen action
since he stopped amateur wrestling convert Akihito
Tanaka -- under his now-infamous Kinniku Mantaro costume -- on
New Year’s Eve. Sokoudjou (5-4), loser of three of his last four,
was submitted in the second stanza by Renato "Babalu"
Sobral at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” in January. The
6-foot-11 Nortje (2-5), despite being stopped in consecutive K-1
bouts by Peter Aerts
and Bjorn Bregy, was victorious in his last MMA venture in February
2008, as he stopped fellow tournament competitor Sapp in 55 seconds
inside the Strikeforce promotion.
The 23-year-old Mousasi (24-2-1) -- one of MMA’s hottest prospects
after his 6-0 blitz in 2008 that saw him take Dream’s middleweight
grand prix by storm -- recently vacated his Dream 183-pound throne
in order to move up to 205 pounds and beyond. He has not fought
since winning the crown by polishing off Melvin
Manhoef and Ronaldo "Jacare"
Souza in September. Hunt (5-5), 35, has lost his last four MMA
bouts. He was shockingly knocked out by the aforementioned Manhoef
in just 18 seconds on Dec. 31.
New Year’s Eve also marked the last action for the 7-foot-2 Choi
(1-2), who was chopped down with leg kicks by Mirko "Cro Cop"
Filipovic in the first round. Canseco, 44, has never competed
in MMA, despite reported backgrounds in tae kwon do and muay Thai.
The steroid whistleblower’s most prominent combat sports forays
have come in celebrity boxing exhibitions. Canseco was knocked out
in the first round of his bout with former NFL special teams maven
Vai Sikahema in July and fought to a three-round majority draw with
former child star Danny Bonaduce in January. He played for seven
teams in his 17-year career in the major leagues and ranks 32nd on
the all-time list with 463 home runs.
Dream event producer Keiichi Sasahara did not reveal any additional
details on the tournament’s structure and scheduling for future
rounds. However, Sasahara did promise a 15.0-percent television
rating for Dream 9, the promotion’s first primetime broadcast of
2009 on the Tokyo Broadcasting System. In the promotion’s inaugural
year, Dream garnered only paltry ratings in a flagging Japanese MMA
market, pulling ratings of 8.9, 10.0 and 9.0 for its three
primetime broadcasts. The strongest ratings star of Dream’s last
two primetime broadcasts was Yoshihiro
Akiyama, who has since left the promotion and signed with the
The Dream 9 telecast will be supported by a boxing lead-in, which
will feature Japan’s most popular combat sports commodity, Daisuke
Naito, defending his WBC 112-pound title against China’s Xiong Zhao
Zhong. Naito has routinely drawn in the 25.0 rating range since he
took his title from Thai rival Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in July 2007.
Naito’s last defense, an 11th-round stoppage of countryman Shingo
Yamaguchi in December, drew a 25.6 rating on TBS.