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Fuji TV cancels PRIDE for good

By Zach Arnold | June 5, 2006

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Bottom headline: Fuji cancels PRIDE program
Bottom Japanese headline on Yahoo Japan HP: Fuji cancels PRIDE

By Zach Arnold

Update I: The PRIDE page on the Fuji TV official web site has been removed and deleted.

Japanese blogger(s) covering the story: Technorati (list of writers) | Burning Spirit (and here) | Swimming Eye (Tetsuya Sano) | Angle-Japan | Gryphon | NHBnews PRO | Black Eye 2 | Idolizing St. Anna (English)

Mainichi Shimbun in Japan reports that Fuji TV has cancelled PRIDE from their network. The contract is immediately cancelled. Fuji TV’s PR department in the article is quoted as saying that PRIDE breached the contract with Fuji TV (the yakuza scandal would be the likely guess — as Shukan Gendai noted last week), but they cannot say directly what it is. (For a refresher course on the yakuza scandal, use this link).

This Yomiuri Hochi report states that Fuji TV’s PR department claimed that PRIDE committed an “improper event” and that after consulting with their lawyers, they annuled the contract with DSE. Both the Nikkei & Kyodo news wires have articles on the story as well. The Yomiuri article mentions the past arrests of three yakuza men related to Seiya Kawamata, and the Nikkei article mentions in passing that “a weekly magazine” (Shukan Gendai) had an article series about the alleged yakuza influence in PRIDE.

The Japanese message boards (such as 2ch) are going crazy over this news. Reality is setting in now that PRIDE could be in major trouble. If the Japanese Yahoo link doesn’t work, use this direct Mainichi Japanese article link.

Topics: All Topics, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Yakuza, Zach Arnold | 22 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

22 Responses to “Fuji TV cancels PRIDE for good”

  1. Josh says:


  2. liger05 says:

    this is real bad for DSE. What are they going to do?

  3. Tradition Rules says:

    Well,…it hit the fan, for sure.

    For all those that say “Zach Arnold blows out of perportion the yakuza’s involvment in wrestling/MMA” or “He foucuses too much on it” or “So what, I don’t care as long as I enjoy what I watch” or even “it doesn’t matter”,…here is a wake up call.

    Zero-One and Hustle are owned by DSE,…what can happen to THEIR TV deals?


  4. Zach Arnold says:

    Sports Navigator reports that the TV deal for the Hustle Aid 6/17 Saitama Super Arena show has been cancelled.

    You touched upon the wrestling aspect of this story, which is what will happen to ZERO-ONE MAX and Hustle.

  5. Paul says:

    What the frack was DSE thinking? Did they actually think they wouldn’t get found out? What, if anything will this do to Pride’s US pay-per-view broadcasts? Will DirecTV and Dish Network opt to back away, too, as Fuji has? I was one of the folks who did enjoy Pride, even as YakuzaGate was exploding over there. Saku got out just in the nick of time, methinks. So many questions – first and foremost the fate of the Absolute open weight tournament?

    Criminal, monumental stupidity, thy name is Dream Stage Entertainment.

  6. Torn Victor says:

    This is crazy.

    I wish I could access the puroresupower site… it keeps timing out. Been doing this for months.

    Zach – any idea why it would do that?

  7. Zach Arnold says:

    It depends on the amount of traffic on the server. There are times where it’s high and in essence, overloads. Other times, fast as can be. I’m not sure how to resolve it.

  8. Zach Arnold says:

    [What, if anything will this do to Pride’s US pay-per-view broadcasts? Will DirecTV and Dish Network opt to back away, too, as Fuji has?]

    The directing boss of the US PPVs is Jerry Millen, and he’s the one who got the shows onto Dish & DirecTV. The question you indirectly bring up is what will happen to the US PPV situation? The reason I mention this is because DSE (US) pays a broadcasting fee to Fuji TV in order to air the footage on US PPV. With Fuji TV now out of the picture, I don’t know what they will do as far as future broadcasts.

  9. Wallace says:

    What does it matter?!?

    Yakuza has it’s hand in practically EVERYTHING in Japan, why would Fuji TV care that they’re associated with PRIDE/DSE, if anything they should be trying to get a piece of it themselves!

  10. liger05 says:

    What must the fighters be thinking? k-1 wouldnt be able to take everyone if Pride went under.

  11. Nick says:

    Hey Zach,
    Will another network pick up pride? Or is their rep that bad?

  12. PizzaChef says:

    No one will want to pick up the DSE contract. I think their reputation is that bad.

    So….Fedor jumping to HERO’s or UFC if PRIDE dies. Any bets going on for that?

  13. Tomer says:

    One has to wonder if K-1 will go under the microscope soon given how PRIDE has become a pariah and the shady past of K-1. Ishii’s tax evasion scandal, for example, may create a more serious audit of K-1’s activities and who has their fingers in the promotions pocket given the black mark being left by the alleged PRIDE – Yakuza connection.

  14. Zach Arnold says:

    [Will another network pick up pride? Or is their rep that bad?]

    The only saving grace would be Nippon TV. However, with the way Fuji TV publicly dumped PRIDE, it would be a hard sell to stockholders to bring PRIDE aboard. Not out of the realm of possibility, but unlikely at this point.

    No TV money means no shows.

  15. Zach Arnold says:

    [One has to wonder if K-1 will go under the microscope soon given how PRIDE has become a pariah and the shady past of K-1. Ishii’s tax evasion scandal, for example, may create a more serious audit of K-1’s activities and who has their fingers in the promotions pocket given the black mark being left by the alleged PRIDE – Yakuza connection.]

    As I’ve mentioned in another thread, K-1 has a pretty open history book of scandals or allegations against them of bad behavior. The taboo topic is the supposed (according to some of the weekly magazines like Gendai) relationship between Ishii and Soka Gakkai, which is the 8-million-plus-strong Buddhist religious group that has power over the Japanese entertainment industry. Soka Gakkai is very powerful and not something people want to mess with. Scientology could only wish in 500 years that they could have the same power as Soka Gakkai.

  16. HijoDelOso says:

    Dana White should be on the first flight to Japan to see if he can cut a deal with Fuji tv to replace Pride with UFC. Fuji needs tv fight programming and UFC could make some nice bank off of it. Extra cash to hire guys like Fedor and Mirco perhaps? How strange it would be to see UFC putting on a NY Eve show in Japan.

  17. FightingMajor says:

    I think it is safe to say that Pride, as we have come to know it, is history. Perhaps they will survive for a while, or maybe not so long, but the days of them having the budget to pay their top fighters the way they have is coming to an end. It seems to me there is far too much going on behind the scenes to simply just move to another top network. Zach Arnold deserves a lot of credit for being well ahead of the pack on this story, which has been building for quite some time. I think it is the biggest news of the year in MMA, yet none of the MMA news sites are covering it.

  18. Bouncy Techno says:

    Noooo! Doesn’t sound good… 🙁

  19. Tomahawk says:

    Well i think K-1 will advance first in case DSE goes down the toilet. K-1 has much more financial power than UFC.

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