So Pride, the greatest MMA show was finally sold after limping along for the last year. DSE, the parent company in Japan lost the Fuji TV deal after alleged Yakuza connections in Japanese newspapers and never recovered. While these allegations were undoubtedly true, the entire Japanese economy is also open to that charge!!
So after much negotiation, Zuffa, owned by Las Vegas casino owners the Fertittas brothers (Lorenzo left, shaking hands with Sakikabara, have bought Pride, lock and stock. They also own the UFC, Pride’s main rival but will run the the companies as separate entities. It could be seen as a sad day for Pride who have brought us the best MMA shows in the history of the sport but the Fertittas brother have been keen to emphasise that nothing will change, they haven’t bought Pride for merely making money and are in fact interested in pitting the worlds best martial artists against each other.
“Bottomline, I’m a huge fan of MMA. This is not about business, this is not about making money. This is about putting together the dream fights that me and you as a fan have always wanted to see.” Continuing, Lorenzo Fertitta said, “The UFC is obviously like my baby, and now I have another and I love both just the same.”
<– the epic battle between Shogun v Lil Nog 2005.
As Jake Rossen on Sherdog stated, its a mixed day for MMA fans. Excited by the financial security and new match ups, yet we all feel sad and worried that we may no longer see shows like Bushido 7 & 9 or the great MW and OW GPs that made Pride great.
“If this indeed the end of an era, PRIDE’s contributions, while often haphazard, cannot be undervalued.
When the sport was marinating in the tobacco juices of backwoods arenas, PRIDE brought in a sense of tremendous dignity and pageantry. The current of blood feuds — Sakuraba vs. the Gracies; Silva vs. the Japanese; Fedor vs. everyone — cannot be revisited.
DSE successfully married a sense of showmanship with gore. It was almost operatic. And whatever the Fertittas or any other potential suitors might devise, it won’t be quite the same.”
UFC President Dana White still came across like a moron, completely hitting the wrong tone of triumphalism. He comes across as a guy who was bullied at school and belittled. I imagine he is masturbating right now in his office over the purchase, telling himself he is now a big man, screaming at his school picture, asking each person “where are you now hey?” In sort, he is a wanker.
UFC President, Dana White (above), then took the stage saying,“Today is a great day for me. I’m very excited today.” Mentioning how over the years he has been “challenging Pride and Pride fighters to fight in the UFC.” And saying that he disagreed with Sakikabara about the competition from the other MMA organizations climbing up the ladder saying, “I laugh at that, I think they are all a joke. The only two companies in this world that matter are the UFC and Pride.”
The good news is the match-ups we will see in the coming years. Some of the great fighters in their respective organisations will match up to truly decide the world’s best. I can’t wait. Wanderlei Silva will face off with Chuck Liddell while Mauricio Rua waits in the wings, Randy Couture, the UFC HW champion is gonna have a hard few months. First he must face Mirko Filipovic, followed by match-ups with Brazil’s BJJ master Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira followed by a match-up with the greatest mixed-martial artist in the world, Fedor Emelianenko (left). At the lower weights the fights are equally intriguing, Gomi v GSP BJ Penn v Aoki.
The whole of MMA world has opened up here. Its time to be positive about it. Along as the GPs and the production values stay the same, I will be happy.
Dana White’s comments would have been felt hard in Japan who are proud people. His promise that the UFC would be coming to Pride to crush them was met in typical Fujita style. As his match up was announced, he promised Japanese fans the personally would crush the UFC.
You gotta love the guy and hopefully the Crusher Tatsyua Kawajiri (left of picture) and Mach Sakurai (right) will be able to restore some pride in the ring.
Before leaving the podium Pres. Sakikabara left the words to everyone, “Please take good care of Pride.”
We’ll see to it.
Some Pride HLs, from last year here.
and Akihiro Gono’s crazy entrance from last year.