Home PromotionsBellator RIZIN’s Nobuyuki Sakakibara Reflects on Future Collaborations Following Bellator’s Acquisition by PFL, Doesn’t View ONE as a Rival in Japan

RIZIN’s Nobuyuki Sakakibara Reflects on Future Collaborations Following Bellator’s Acquisition by PFL, Doesn’t View ONE as a Rival in Japan

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RIZIN Collaboration

RIZIN’s history of teaming up with Bellator has been a highlight in the MMA world, notably enabling Kyoji Horiguchi to become a champion across two promotions. However, with Bellator’s recent takeover by the Professional Fighters League in 2023, and its transformation into an eight-event global series, this partnership’s future seems uncertain.

RIZIN’s head, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, shared with MMA Hook his thoughts on this evolving landscape. He reminisced about the strong bond with Bellator’s ex-leader Scott Coker, a relationship fostered over many years, which was crucial for their successful co-promotions. Sakakibara believes in the power of collaboration between promoters, emphasizing that it’s essential for the sport’s evolution and for satisfying fans’ curiosity about the best fighters.

The collaboration between Bellator and RIZIN culminated in a grand two-night event on New Year’s Eve 2022 in Japan, showcasing a thrilling mix of fighters from both promotions. For such events to continue, Sakakibara says, it’s vital that he and PFL’s Donn Davis align in their promotional philosophies.

Sakakibara expressed openness to working with Davis, provided their visions for the sport align. He sees RIZIN as a ‘fight federation’ eager to collaborate with like-minded promoters. As for the upcoming traditional New Year’s Eve event in Saitama, fans can anticipate two title fights, featuring Juan Archuleta vs. Kai Asakura and Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Makoto Shinryu.

Addressing ONE Championship’s entry into Japan on January 28, Sakakibara doesn’t see it as a threat but rather as a positive development. He believes in the benefits of having various MMA promotions in Japan, as it not only educates and entertains fans but also fosters a healthy competitive environment. Sakakibara is keen on offering Japanese fans diverse experiences within the realm of combat sports, right in their backyard.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about RIZIN Collaboration

What is the future of RIZIN’s co-promotions after Bellator’s sale to PFL?

RIZIN may face changes in co-promotional activities following Bellator’s acquisition by PFL. Nobuyuki Sakakibara, RIZIN’s president, emphasizes the need for a strong relationship with PFL’s Donn Davis to continue such events. Sakakibara values past collaborations with Bellator and looks forward to exploring similar opportunities under the new ownership.

How does Nobuyuki Sakakibara view ONE Championship’s presence in Japan?

Sakakibara does not consider ONE Championship’s expansion into Japan as a threat to RIZIN. Instead, he welcomes it, believing that having various MMA promotions in Japan is beneficial. It not only offers diverse combat sports content to the fans but also fosters a healthy competitive market.

What significant events are upcoming for RIZIN?

RIZIN is set to host its traditional New Year’s Eve show on December 31, featuring two championship bouts: Juan Archuleta vs. Kai Askura and Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Makoto Shinryu. These events are a staple of RIZIN’s annual schedule and are highly anticipated by MMA fans.

More about RIZIN Collaboration

  • RIZIN Fighting Federation Official Website
  • Professional Fighters League (PFL) Official Site
  • ONE Championship Official Site
  • MMA Hook Interview with Nobuyuki Sakakibara

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FightNightJunkie December 27, 2023 - 4:51 am

those New Year’s Eve fights sound epic, RIZIN always puts on a show! can’t wait to see Horiguchi in action again

MMAFanatic89 December 27, 2023 - 3:56 pm

wow, really didn’t see that coming with Bellator and PFL, wonder how RIZIN’s gonna handle all this. big changes ahead huh?

TokyoJoe December 27, 2023 - 5:44 pm

Sakakibara seems pretty chill about ONE coming to Japan, guess competition is good but still, RIZIN’s gotta step up their game now

GrapplingGal December 27, 2023 - 5:52 pm

kinda sad to see the old Bellator-RIZIN days go, those were some great matchups, hope they still manage to pull off something cool with PFL. fingers crossed!


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