By Zach Arnold | October 4, 2007
By Zach Arnold
Sports Navigator (Yahoo Japan) is reporting tonight (Thursday night Japanese time) that Jamie Pollack, the Zuffa-appointed legal advisor who went to Japan shortly after Lorenzo Fertitta purchased the assets of PRIDE from Dream Stage Entertainment, has shut down the PRIDE FC Worldwide office in Tokyo. Furthermore, the report claims that Pollack fired all PRIDE WW employees with a telephone call.
PRIDE public relations boss Mr. Sasahara (who is/was close to Hustle and Nobuyuki Sakakibara) issued a public apology to the fans. Sasahara said that the PRIDE staffers are confused and bewildered by the sudden closing of the office, further adding that he feels resentment towards the way the American owners betrayed the people who supported PRIDE. Sasahara reiterated that he believed what Lorenzo Fertitta had initially stated about the future of PRIDE, but now the operation is finished and staffers couldn’t access or get to cell phones or personal computers.
Personal reaction: Naturally, the Japanese media and MMA insiders will use this story to portray Zuffa as a bunch of cold, calculated gaijin invaders who officially destroyed PRIDE. The image of UFC and its parents owners in Japan has been tarnished by the way the PRIDE situation has been handled. Is UFC’s entry into the Japanese marketplace permanently damaged?
As for Pollack firing the PRIDE employees by telephone… at least he or his family members won’t be physically harmed. Somehow, I don’t think the firings on a face-to-face basis would have turned out so well.