By Zach Arnold | June 7, 2006
Yahoo Japan HP: “DSE interview about PRIDE broadcasting cancellation”
By Zach Arnold
The Nippon TV is a 4+ minute clip, and the second clip is 30 seconds. The Nippon TV clip covered the press conference, Fuji TV’s cancellation of the PRIDE contract, and had video of Antonio Inoki talking about the situation. The TV-Tokyo clip was a very brief highlight package of the PRIDE press conference, and the narrator spent the entire time talking about the Kanagawa police investigation into Sakakibara and the allegations of being affiliated with the boryokudan (yakuza violence group). No punches were pulled on it.
Burning Spirit notes that SkyPerfecTV does not have the Hustle Aid 6/17 Saitama Super Arena show listed on their various PPV telecasts.
A very mixed, but big crowd showed up at the press conference. Normal fans, fighter supporters, hardcore types, and many other various types of groups showed up. Livedoor reports that when Sakakibara first entered the room, the fans cheered him. The press conference took place at the Tokyo Prince Hotel (2F – Sunflower Hall) and that it was divided into three parts: The Fuji TV situation, the 7/1 Saitama Super Arena card line-up, and fan questions.
This Sports Navigator photo shows 54 PRIDE fighters & main employees in a show of unity at the press conference. PRIDE management stated that they would continue running a full schedule, including an October 21st show in Las Vegas, NV.
Sports Navigator reports that over 600 people showed up at the Prince Hotel and that it was an overflowing, tense scene. Nobuyuki Sakakibara discussed the role of Shukan Gendai’s negative campaign against DSE, alleging ties to the yakuza. Sakakibara said the content of the articles was groundless. He reiterated that claims of him being associated with criminal activity are not true and that no laws were violated or crimes committed. He said that PRIDE would continue to survive as long as the fans kept supporting the promotion. Sakakibara also stated that he was ready to request compensation for damages against Kodansha (the publisher of Shukan Gendai), the editor of Gendai, and Seiya Kawamata for the cancelation of the TV deal (because of Gendai’s negative campaign).
DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara went into an explanation about how Fuji TV canceled the contract with PRIDE. He stated that on Monday, he was busy with Nobuhiko Takada and Fuji TV (sports producer Kunio Kiyohara) to announce the launch of the “Dreamers” dojo in Tokyo that would be open to the public. At 4 PM that day, Fuji TV brought their lawyer for an meeting with Sakakibara. Fuji TV handed a termination notice to him. Sakakibara was shocked at this.
Sakakibara made several strong denials about being affiliated with the yakuza. He said that if he was working with the yakuza, that he would have already been arrested. He said that the fact he was there at the press conference today showed that he had no relation to the yakuza (or organized crime).
DSE did not take any questions from the press or the fans about the Fuji TV/yakuza situation.
The rest of the press conference was focused on the 7/1 Saitama Super Arena card line-up. Yoshida and Fujita were there, with Mirko & Silva having video messages played. Silva said that Fujita has a big heart, but that he would win the fight. Mirko said that he didn’t understand why Fuji TV wouldn’t broadcast PRIDE and that he would make sure Fuji TV regretted their decision by putting on an amazing fight with Yoshida which would rival the World Cup. Mirko’s statements in support of PRIDE and against Fuji TV were the strongest statements made by anyone associated with PRIDE at the press conference. He stated that the fight against Yoshida would become a fight of Japan vs. Croatia.
When the Fuji TV discussion/part of the press conference was over, about half of the people in attendance who were not affiliated with the media left.
Inoki comments on PRIDE/Fuji TV situation
Yesterday, Antonio Inoki made comments to the mass media about the PRIDE/Fuji TV situation. He stated that he would help PRIDE fighters find new places of work if PRIDE could not survive. He said that without Fuji TV’s money that he expected the scale of PRIDE’s show sizes to decrease in nature. Inoki said that the guaranteed money for fighters got too expensive to sustain in the PRIDE business model. He mentioned his role in the IFL.