Finally, Marlon Sandro relinquished King of Pancrase featherweight title.
A veteran from team Nova Uniao in Brazil captured this title back in October 2008 by defeating J-taro Takita but since then Marlon never defended this title yet he was able to hold onto this belt for over three years.
According to the most updated Pancrase official rules released on March 3rd, 2012, the King of Pancrase basically must defend the title within a year from the day he became a champion. In fact if "King of Pancrase fought in other promotion and did not perform well", then Pancrase has the right to order King of Pancrase to defend the title within four months.
However, for some reason, Sandro was able to keep this title for a very long time.
After he won King of Pancrase title Sandro signed with Sengoku. Fought seven time for the promotion operated by World Victory Road then went on to sign worldwide exclusive contract with Bellator in early 2011. Then after fighting seven times for Bellator finally Pancrase realized Sandro is not coming back to defend this title.
Sure Bellator could have given Sandro a permission to go and fight for Pancrase but it was highly unlikely to begin with considering how Pancrase purse is much lower than what Sandro was making in Bellator. Besides, Sandro is doing well in Bellator so there is no reason for him to not concentrate on winning Bellator tourney.
But none of these were explained at the press conference held on August 9th at Pancrase office.
The new owner Masakazu Sakai basically told the reporters that Pancrase placed the offer to Sandro to do a title fight in September and Sandro consulted with his trainer and family and decided to fight in the Bellator tourney starting in September.
But this is very odd.
First Sandro probably had to get a permission from Bellator to fight for Pancrase to begin with. Also Sandro was a runner-up of Bellator featherweight tourney and that means he was already basically confirmed to fight for the featherweight tourney starting in September anyways.
Therefore, probably, there wasn't much choice for Sandro from the beginning.
According to the Sandro's statement released by Pancrase, "I still like to continue fighting for Pancrase and defend title" but signing with Bellator means he is committed with Bellator.
Then maybe Pancrase should have taken the title away sooner? is what everyone must be wondering in Japan.
Also, what is the reason behind Sandro getting this special treatment?
After fourteen fights, three years at other promotions, why did he had a right to hold onto this title?
That is the question no one asked at this press conference.
Maybe, because, not many cares about King of Pancrase any more or simply reporters were not allowed to ask this question.
Report by Shu Hirata
Photo by GBR (www.gbring.com)