DEEP JEWELS lost three fighters and ended up with only 6 fights for tomorrow's show. Not only that. Two of them are grappling bouts, and three of them are tournament semi-finals and final. This means, the winners of semi-final are fighting twice in one day. Therefore, only 10 fighters needed to step on a scale at today's weigh-in, and, everyone made the weight.
For the promoter Shigeru Saeki, this eighth installment of DEEP JEWELS must have been extremely rough to get to today's weigh-in.
First, they lost Shizuka Sugiyama due to injury. Sugiyama is one of the most popular fighters in their roster. Then, they lost Ayaka Miura due to the sickness. Miura is a prodigy of Ryo Chonan and one of the good looking up and comers in DEEP JEWELS. On top of this, earlier this week, Amiba suffered injury during the training so Saeki had to look for her replacement that is willing to fight Misaki Takimoto on a super short notice.
Luckily, Tee Vee from Canada was happened to be available but if Saeki couldn't find the replacement this show may have ended up with only five fights.
Compared to, about, a decade ago, the population of the Japanese female MMA fighters diminished tremendously, because, simply, the Japanese MMA in general went through a big time downfall.
No MMA on national TV for nearly ten years now (TV Tokyo is not technically completely "national"), and that resulted is, the majority of general public in Japan, especially younger generations, now have no idea what MMA is. That is the reason why not many young talents are developing in this sport. For the future of this sport, this is a serious problem. Needless to say, no younger talents means no future. In addition, all top girls like Ayaka Hamasaki, Mizuki Inoue (MIZUKI), Takayo Hashi, Emi Fujino, and Yamaguchi really has no competitive opponents left in Japan. Hard to maintain motivations if they have to fight same opponent, like, three or four times. They will be forced to seek opportunities outside Japan. And that is what has been happening for the last few years.
However, even under these difficulties, DEEP JEWELS is doing well at the box office. Even for tomorrow's show, second most expensive seats are all sold out. In fact, out of 7 shows they did so far, all of them did very well at the gate. Obviously, the fan base is still there. But hard to attract major sponsors without any TV coverage.
Not just women's MMA but also, the entire Japanese MMA needs to solve this problem.
DEEP JEWELS 8
Sunday, May 31st, 2015
At Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
Doors Open – 17:30
Fight Starts – 18:00
Confirmed Cards (Subject to Change):
The Main Event – DEEP JEWELS Featherweight (105 lbs) GP Final Bout 5 min / 2R
The winner of Semi Final #1 vs The Winner of Semi Final #2
Co-main – Lightweight (115 lbs) Bout 5 min / 2R
Misaki Takimoto (Zendo-kai) vs Tee Vee (Canada / AACC – Shao Franco Martial Arts)
4th Match – Grappling Bout 4 min / 2R
Ayaka Hamasaki (Japan / AACC) vs MIZUKI (Japan / Karate-do Hakushin-kai)
3rd Match – DEEP JEWELS Featherweight (105 lbs) GP Semi-Final Bout 5 min / 2R
Mei "V.V." Yamaguchi (Japan / Riki Gym / Butoku-kai) vs Mina Kurobe (Japan / Master Japan)
2nd Match – DEEP JEWELS Featherweight (105 lbs) GP Semi-Final Bout 5 min / 2R
SARAMI (Japan / Club Barbarian) vs Tomo Maezawa (Japan / Paraestra Hachinohe)
1st Match – Grappling Bout 4 min / 2R
Kocho Ishizuka (Japan / AACC) vs Yukari Nabe (Japan / Paraestra Kashiwa)
VIP – 10,000 yen
Counter (bar) seats – 8,000 yen (sold out)
A – 6,000 yen
B – 5,000 yen
*500 yen more at the door.
**Must purchase 500 yen drink coupon
Report by Shu Hirata
Photo courtesy of DEEP FC facebook page –