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Fight Opinion Radio: Episode 17 (Sakuraba leaves PRIDE)

By Zach Arnold | May 3, 2006

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Kazushi Sakuraba & Akira Maeda (5/4/2006). Photo credit: Sports Navigator (Yahoo Japan).

This week’s one-hour show with Rob Sayers and Zach Arnold focuses on Kazushi Sakuraba’s departure from PRIDE to HERO’s. The original intent of this week’s show was to preview the PRIDE 5/5 Osaka Dome show, but Sakuraba’s departure clearly has overshadowed everything else taking place in the business. Is Kazushi Sakuraba the new version of Hulk Hogan? We take a historical look at famous jumps in the fight & wrestling industry. In addition, we have a full preview of the 5/5 Osaka Dome show and some of the problems DSE/PRIDE is facing as an organization.

The 17th edition of Fight Opinion Radio is now online and available to download. Here are your options for listening to the show:

Broadband (MP3) | Dial-up/Streaming

Or you can use the great flash player to listen to it streaming (without having to use an external program). Check it out (down below).

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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With the listenership for Fight Opinion Radio dramatically increasing week by week, we definitely could use your financial support for the Fight Opinion project. If you want to contribute to us in a way that directly helps us out with our web server costs, you can donate directly to our web host – A Small Orange. Please help us out. I will personally contact you and give my sincere thanks if you make a donation.


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To contact us for show feedback, you can e-mail any of us on the Fight Opinion radio staff.

Message board thread on the show.

Topics: All Topics, Fight Opinion Radio, Japan, K-1, Media, MMA, podcasts, PRIDE, Rob Sayers, Zach Arnold | 9 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

9 Responses to “Fight Opinion Radio: Episode 17 (Sakuraba leaves PRIDE)”

  1. Al Yu says:

    Good show guys.

  2. Jeff says:

    thanks, good show I very much enjoyed it.

  3. Tomer says:

    So, at this point, is the only drawing card (or semi-drawing card) for PRIDE at this pont Hidehiko Yoshida? Somehow, I seriously doubt he’ll remain in MMA for many more years as he began doing MMA in his early 30s. Is there any native drawing card that can be created by PRIDE or should they try and mimic K-1’s business model of promoting the K-1 entity (and therefore guys like LeBanner, Aerts & Hoost) over any single superstar, therefore cushioning themselves against big jumps like Sakuraba leaving or an older native retiring (probably Yoshida soon)?

  4. HijoDelOso says:

    Yoshida can’t be on every show and he is the big draw. Ogawa drew against Yosh but I don’t see him continuing to generate interest if he is brought back against anyone else. Could Yosh/Fedor or Yosh/Crocop be the last of the “big” money shows?

  5. Viet says:

    Hey Zach, how come you haven’t linked or acknowledged anything about the Sakuraba-NOAH story? Is it that farfetched and easily dimissed as not worth the trouble?

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    I haven’t heard enough information at this moment about the story, so I don’t have much for a comment.

  7. I always enjoy the Fight opinion show even while vehemently disagreeing with some of the stuff on there. It tends to be balanced by whole hearted agreement in other areas and an appreciation for the effort, differing viewpoints and analysis that goes into it but there were things about this show that bothered me.

    All the talk of Pride going into a “death spiral” just seems totally overblown. Obviously things aren’t going that well but I found the trashing of the company more than a little irritating and completely pessimistic. WCW took years to die and their business was totally fcuked while Pride are still very strong in live attendance and doing well on TV. The product is still good and the second round of the OWGP looks strong.

    For starters all the talk about Sakuraba being their biggest drawing card is out of date. None of his last few fights have drawn the best TV rating and while I totally agree Noguiera-Zuluzhino was idiotic it scored well on TV. Rob and Zach talked about how there was no way DSE could respond to that but there’s an easy one – if they could lure KID it would more than make up for the loss of Sakuraba (and I’m an enormous Saku mark). I’m not saying they can poach Yamamoto but who knew K-1 would be getting Sakuraba? Not saying its likely but at this point KID is bigger than Saku and has much more of a long term upside, as much as it pains me to say that.

    Also, K-1 have plenty of silly MMA matches and their 3rd May show had matches announced just a few days before as well, yet Rob seemed to just revel in calling Pride “ridiculous” for doing those exact same things. He also harped on about the way Pride were advertising the show – well, what does he expect them to say? That advertising was out well before Zuluzhino was announced and they’re hardly likely to say “buy this show, its got some great fighters and a bunch of bums on it”.

    The characterisation of Saku jumping being like Hulk Hogan jumping to WCW was annoying too. Hogan did NOT jump from one to the other. He hadn’t worked for WWF in a year or so and its just not an accurate comparison.

    I know this sounds almost entirely negative but I really enjoy the show (disagreeing with stuff is fun, lol) and really like the way there’s an MMA radio show that covers the business as a whole (in and out of the ring).

  8. Zach Arnold says:

    [All the talk of Pride going into a “death spiral” just seems totally overblown. ]

    I’ll be sure to tell the Kanagawa police that. 🙂

    [Rob and Zach talked about how there was no way DSE could respond to that but there’s an easy one – if they could lure KID it would more than make up for the loss of Sakuraba (and I’m an enormous Saku mark). I’m not saying they can poach Yamamoto but who knew K-1 would be getting Sakuraba?]

    The interesting question is whether or not Gomi would want to take that fight. And Yamamoto would be smaller than him, which is amazing in of itself — he would certainly have to say his prayers and take his vitamins.

    HERO’s does have some ridiculous match-ups, which is why people didn’t really take them too seriously until the Sakuraba announcement. It was one of those “instant credibility” moments, a rarity these days.

  9. There’s a difference between the police running an investigation and them actually finding the evidence they want, even if some extrememly illegal stuff actually has happened. I think the whole “death spiral” stuff is very, very premature.

    Interesting point about a potential KID-Gomi fight. I doubt Gomi would truly want that either, but then again, I bet there a re very few fighters between 140 and 160 pounds who genuinely, deep down, relish fighting Yamamoto at the moment.


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