The FEG-owned DREAM organization made a few announcements today, according to Japan-MMA.

The 2009 schedule has been released. The first event is scheduled for March 8, and will feature half of the first round bouts (4) of the Featherweight Grand Prix and the full first round (4) of the Welterweight Grand Prix.

3/8 Saitama Super Arena
4/5 Aichi-ken, Gaishi Hall
May – In Kanto (Tokyo area)
July – In Kanto (Tokyo area)
September – In Kanto (Tokyo area)
October – Outside Kanto (Tokyo) area
12/31 Saitama Super Arena

It was recently reported that “Kid” Yamamoto would not be competing in the FWGP since he needed more time to recover from his knee injury, however, DREAM officials are now saying he will. Which one is it? Who knows, this is Japan we’re talking about, but even if he wasn’t ready to go until the semi-finals, I’m sure they’ll find some way to insert him into the tournament.

Moving on, for those hoping to see Alistair Overeem in the UFC in the near future, myself included, you might not want to get your hopes up any higher just yet. As mentioned before, Alistair still has two fights left on his DREAM contract, and understandably, they aren’t willing to just hand them over to the UFC. Same goes for Schilt, and perhaps Cro Cop (I’m not sure what his contract situation looks like):

Event Producer Sasahara also answered questions relating to the transfer of Alistair Overeem and Semmy Schilt to the UFC. He said that that would not happen.

Regarding the injury to Crocop and Hansen, Sasahara said that for Crocop they are planning a return in May or July depending on his condition. [Ed note: Completely contradicting rumors that he would fight at UFC 99 in Germany]

It will be interesting to see how this plays out between DREAM and the UFC. If DREAM still has legitimate contracts with these guys and aren’t willing to deal, it’s unlikely the UFC would continue to pursue them unless they’re free and clear to sign their exclusive contract.

The brightside in all of this though is DREAM appears to still be alive and kicking. It’s no PRIDE, but it definitely helps quench the thirst for Japanese MMA that so many of us crave.