By Zach Arnold | June 22, 2007
On Wednesday, Nikkan Sports published a report that on August 18th, the first ’shinsei’ PRIDE event would happen at Saitama Super Arena. Obviously, it sounded like the kind of rumor that would be started by someone who used to be affiliated with DSE or is trying to get involved on the ground in Japan to try to revive the PRIDE name there. That’s just how business works in Japan.
Japanese writer Motoichiro Takasu contacted a representative of PFWW discussing Hiroyuki Kato, who was an important director of PRIDE events in Japan under DSE Inc. leadership.
Kato flat out denied that there are any plans for a PRIDE Worldwide FC event in Japan right at this moment. However, it was hinted that something might happen at Saitama Super Arena for August 18th and that ‘PRIDE’ fighters will participate in whatever takes place.
Will there even be a show? Saitama Super Arena is listed as having an open date during that time period.
Takasu speculates that the old management of PRIDE is going to break into two parts.
What does this mean in the grand scheme of things for the Japanese MMA landscape? An all-out turf war. Most of the fighters who worked in PRIDE know that their options with UFC are slim and none — and slim just walked out of the barn. Because of Zuffa’s current situation, patience is running out fast in Japan and results are quickly wanted.
We may see one form of PRIDE or another in Japan, but it’s not what you might expect it to be. This may be a turf battle that UFC has zero control over. It probably would serve them well to ignore the Japanese marketplace and not get involved in this mess. Why? Because you never know who is your friend and who is your enemy in that scene…