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« | Home | »

Ed Fishman lawsuit being finalized

By Zach Arnold | March 19, 2007

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By Zach Arnold

Update: NHB News (Japanese) points out an article from publication Cyzo in which its writer makes the claim that PRIDE’s debts have increased since running shows in America and that the company could be one billion yen in debt. That would be roughly $8-9 million USD.

UFC Junkie picked up on a news story from Sherdog writer Greg Savage claiming that UFC has bought PRIDE for $65 million USD. (Obviously, this would be interesting timing given that Sakakibara is headed to Las Vegas right now).

Well, a major roadblock in any sort of purchase of PRIDE is about to be finalized. Ed Fishman and his attorneys are expected to finalize their lawsuit against Dream Stage Entertainment either tonight or early tomorrow. The lawsuit will be over breach of contract, and it will include a focus on putting all of PRIDE’s major players past and present (Nobuyuki Sakakibara, Yukino Kanda, Hideki Yamamoto, etc.) under court deposition. What could be revealed under court deposition?

  1. Who is the mystery owner of PRIDE (Shukan Gendai has been claiming all along that it is Mr. I aka Mr. Ishizaka aka Kim Dok-Soo, former loan shark from the Osaka area)?
  2. Where revenue streams from PRIDE-related USA activities specifically went in regards to being sent back home (Japan or South Korea?)
  3. Details or stories regarding police investigations into the company (could we see details about the Kanagawa Police investigation involving Seiya Kawamata and also potentially discussion of related-matters from Tokyo Metropolitan Police?)
  4. The status of fighter contracts (and whether or not those said fighter contracts can be enforceable in the US or if the top fighters are essentially all free agents at this point)
  5. Tax and immigration-related issues (i.e. proper or false tax filings in the US, traveling or working visas, etc.)

Once the Ed Fishman lawsuit is officially filed, we will try to look at the legal claim and analyze it further.

Topics: All Topics, Japan, MMA, Media, PRIDE, Zach Arnold | 57 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

57 Responses to “Ed Fishman lawsuit being finalized”

  1. Zach Arnold says:

    Glad to see a gaijin pro-wrestling fan be able to speak so authoritatively about marketing in Japan. Besides, how many of these defunct pro-wrestling orgs pulled high ratings on NYE? Or regularly packed 40,000 seat arenas? I don’t know the answer, but I’d guess the number is very low. Or zero.

    PRIDE’s past history isn’t helping out their business now in Japan. You asked me what I think about the value of their company assets in Japan right now, and I gave you a totally honest opinion.

    You’ve been using the slam against me for being a Japanese pro-wrestling fan. Well, in order to understand a lot of how the fight game works over there, studying up on Japanese pro-wrestling history and marketing is a pretty damn solid way to understand how business is done in that country on many levels.

    “In the history of the Japanese fight game since Rikidozan (who portrayed a Japanese hero and hid his Korean heritage), how many gaijin Presidents or bosses of fight companies have been successful long-term in Japan?”

    I don’t know and I don’t care.

    Just because there have been none (or all failed) does not mean that the Fertitta’s will fail. They might. They might not. It’s a calculated risk, just as any business deal is.

    Since the ‘modern era’ when Rikidozan started doing business in 1951 (and we’re looking at nearly 60 years of business in the Japanese fight game since then), the answer to the question about foreign bosses or Presidents in the fight game having success long-term in that country is zero. None. Look at the list of important players – Rikidozan, Inoki, Baba, Toyonobori, Choshu (who had success as a matchmaker but a terrible owner/boss of WJ Pro), Sakaguchi, Arai, Onita, The Matsunaga Brothers, Rikidozan’s sons (specifically Mitsuo Momota), Misawa, Mutoh, etc. All native blood.

    The problem is that you’re looking at this situation as a person that wants PRIDE to die, and die soon.

    I hate to break it to you, but it is dying. I don’t have or need it to ‘want’ it to die in order for it to die. It’s just reality right now for PRIDE. They wouldn’t be attempting to sell the company if it was healthy, would they? I’ve seen and wrote about plenty of Japanese fight game companies that have come and gone. PRIDE is likely just another example of a dying company in the Japanese fight business.

  2. Grape Knee High says:

    1. You didn’t anwer my question about how many of the defunct pro wrestling orgs were as popular as PRIDE is. Critical mass does matter.

    2. Just because something has never happened yet, doesn’t mean that it will *never* happen in the future.

    3. I think part of the reason why the Fertittas buying PRIDE offends you so much is because there’s now a chance that PRIDE brand could survive, instead of floating into the oblivion like you so obviously are waiting for. No one is disputing that PRIDE under DSE is in bad shape.

  3. Dan Bliss says:

    [quote]Since the ‘modern era’ when Rikidozan started doing business in 1951 (and we’re looking at nearly 60 years of business in the Japanese fight game since then), the answer to the question about foreign bosses or Presidents in the fight game having success long-term in that country is zero. None. Look at the list of important players – Rikidozan, Inoki, Baba, Toyonobori, Choshu (who had success as a matchmaker but a terrible owner/boss of WJ Pro), Sakaguchi, Arai, Onita, The Matsunaga Brothers, Rikidozan’s sons (specifically Mitsuo Momota), Misawa, Mutoh, etc. All native blood.[/quote]

    Have foreigners even really run a major company? If I’m not mistaken, Antonio Pena had a hand in FMW at one point. Other than that, nothing comes to mind. Recently, at least.

  4. Zach Arnold says:

    1. You didn’t anwer my question about how many of the defunct pro wrestling orgs were as popular as PRIDE is. Critical mass does matter.

    FMW did big gates at places like Kawasaki Stadium with no TV. UWF-International, which had their Budokan shows air on Tokyo Broadcasting System, did good business. So did WAR with Tenryu. PRIDE was basically a spinoff of UWF-Inter once UWF-Inter got crushed by New Japan in their interpromotional series. Remember, PRIDE’s roots stem from UWF-Inter and at the time of the interpromotional war from late ‘95-mid ‘96 for the three big Tokyo Dome shows, they did huge business.

    I think part of the reason why the Fertittas buying PRIDE offends you so much is because there’s now a chance that PRIDE brand could survive, instead of floating into the oblivion like you so obviously are waiting for.

    If Zuffa LLC does an asset purchase and simply wants to absorb PRIDE into UFC, fine by me. If they want to actually try to prop PRIDE up and run it, they’re going to run into a big money pit. A big financial sinkhole. And it’s going to create some fires with K-1 in Japan. It’s more trouble than its worth at this point to keep PRIDE going as a business entity given the current atmosphere in Japan.

  5. Grape Knee High says:

    “Remember, PRIDE’s roots stem from UWF-Inter and at the time of the interpromotional war from late ‘95-mid ‘96 for the three big Tokyo Dome shows, they did huge business.”

    Here’s a simpler question: Have any of these defunct pro wrestling orgs whose assets you claim could not be sold ever had the consistently high mainstream TV ratings and consistently high attendance that PRIDE has had? And were these assets put up for sale at a time when attendance and popularity were still high?

    “A big financial sinkhole. And it’s going to create some fires with K-1 in Japan. It’s more trouble than its worth at this point to keep PRIDE going as a business entity given the current atmosphere in Japan.”

    Could be. But it also might not be. Zuffa turned around the UFC, which was also hemorraging money before TUF. If the Fertittas manage to get PRIDE back on TV, I have no doubt they’ll succeed. If they cannot, they’ll either streamline PRIDE into a much smaller operation or close up shop entirely.

    I don’t think we disagree on the facts; what we do disagree on is their chance of success. If the Fertittas actually end up buying PRIDE for the rumored $65MM, I have no doubt it’ll be more than an asset grab and that their plan is to get back on Japanese TV (and that they are confident they can do so). I guess we’ll see in a few years whether its you or the Fertittas that are right; or a few months to see whether the deal is ever finalized.

  6. jpdanner says:

    I just wanted to say that I have been to many other MMA related forums and this by far had the most mature and informed arguements I’ve seen yet. Thanks for making me feel like I wasn’t reading ten year olds debating whose toys were better

  7. Liger05 says:

    Forget boards such as sherdog where idiots there who dont even understand why Pride is in trouble in the 1st place.

    Isnt all this business with Pride just another part of the cycle? The fight game history in Japan shows that promotions can be hot for a period of time and then take a downturn to make way for another promotion. Nobody would of thought New Japan could of destroyed there Tokoyo dome business after drawing so much money there in the 90’s. Would anybody have expected to see established fight magazines go out of business in Japan like they have? Seems to me the Fight or MMA industry in Japan is on a downturn and even if Pride is sold to Zuffa it doesnt suddenly mean things will be ok.

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