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First the Zuffa myth, now the Fuji TV myth

By Zach Arnold | August 31, 2006

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By Zach Arnold

There is a story by Fred Varcoe (writer’s apparent background here and here) that basically is a pro-PRIDE article about their upcoming shows in Saitama and Las Vegas. It reads exactly like what a PRIDE fan would write.

In June, Fuji TV abruptly dropped the sport from its roster, apparently in reaction to an article in the Shukan Gendai that implied “dirty money” was behind PRIDE. (The sports group is reportedly suing Shukan Gendai for its involvement in airing such accusations.)

Do we care about all this? Er, no. Whatever the reasons behind Fuji TV’s decision, you can be sure that the “dirty money” allegations are a smokescreen, although why they would want to dump one of the most popular sports events in the country is a mystery. Perhaps Fuji TV should investigate other companies it does business with; I’m sure it would turn up very interesting results.

No, Fuji TV dumped PRIDE not because of allegations simply from Shukan Gendai. There was a formal police investigation from the Kanagawa police on this matter. As has been noted before, some Fuji TV employees had been questioned by the police in the past over business dealings with PRIDE. More importantly, two investigations (one from the Kanagawa police and one internal Fuji TV investigation) pointed out that chief TV producer and friend of Sakakibara, Kunio Kiyohara, had a lot more involvement than initially suspected in PRIDE. It was reported that Kiyohara had social meetings with PRIDE’s alleged backer, Mr. I (Ishizaka), and that this open admission of associating with a supposed top underworld boss (who had rumoredly made his name in loan sharking circles in Osaka) was shocking considering how high of a profile Kiyohara had publicly. His father, Takehiko Kiyohara, became chairman of Sankei Shimbun (a major newspaper) and his name helped his son land his position in the FujiSankei conglomerate. Furthermore, Gendai wrote that Kiyohara was investigated over accusations of him transferring money from the conglomerate to fund other business projects that questionable people were involved in. By no means was the investigation into PRIDE simply based on magazine reports, although the public spotlight did provide some momentum. The red flags raised came from police questioning about Kiyohara. Fuji TV President Hieda wanted to clean the conglomerate from scandals (2005 was quite the year between Livedoor’s attempted takeover bid and the Murakami Fund scandal) before having to address 1,000 stockholders about corporate accountability.

In the end, Kiyohara was effectively demoted as chief producer and re-assigned in the conglomerate into an undefined position. In essence, he lost all his power. Now, on paper, the idea of TV producers getting more heavily involved in business dealings they shouldn’t be involved with would sound sexy to perhaps a Hollywood script writer or a future book author, but for the most part it tends to be quite an ignored issue by the fight media in general. The facts and reports are out there to be searched, you just have to take a few minutes to read them. Just like the Zuffa myth, it should only take a few minutes online to find the accurate history of UFC and the role of the athletic commissions.

However, as time passes on and more media outlets start writing PRIDE articles about the company’s history, interesting background issues will need to be pointed out.

Topics: All Topics, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Yakuza, Zach Arnold | 15 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

15 Responses to “First the Zuffa myth, now the Fuji TV myth”

  1. b says:

    You are a sad man. Let it go already.

  2. b says:

    Actually, let me apologize for the above comment. That really wasn’t the tone I wanted to take.

    Without writing a long explanation (because I’m far too lazy to do so), it seems that you are taking this PRIDE-FUJI TV issue too personal. You’re not reporting on the issue itself but rather reporting on how someone else is reporting on it.

    This line – “It reads exactly like what a PRIDE fan would write” – seems a bit petty. Honestly, my gut reaction to that is just, “so what?” So what if a it sounds like something a PRIDE fan would write. What is the alternative, sounding like something that someone anti-PRIDE would write?

  3. Royal B. says:

    Truth hurts, don’t it b?

  4. b says:

    “Truth hurts, don’t it b? ”

    Not sure what truth you are referring to but I wasn’t disputing any of the “facts” that Arnold was writing about.

    Name calling just doesn’t seem like journalism to me. Call me crazy.

    I also noticed that someone left some very nice comments at the end of that guy’s article with more name calling and linking back to this website. Very responsible.

  5. b says:

    “Name calling doesn’t seem like journalism to me”, which, by the way, is why I took the time to apologize for my first post. It wasn’t adult and it in no way conveyed what I really wanted to say.

    It in fact detracted from what I wanted to say and in the same way, name calling and implication of fandom from Arnold (as opposed to a simple difference in opinion) detracts from what could have otherwise been a decent article.

  6. Luke says:

    Are you insulted to be called a “Pride fan”? Because thats the only name he called anyone.

    Are you going to call for people to “let it go” when it comes to the myths that Zuffa perpetuates about UFC history? I doubt it. Jeff Thaler consistently points out media articles that don’t do their due dilgence when they’re writing about UFC. UFC and the mainstream press are consistently criticized for this by fans.

    Why shouldn’t journalists be held to the same standard when it comes to PRIDE? It seems that because PRIDE is a company who’s based half way around the world, people think that its justifiable to bury their heads in the sand and pretend like the normal rules don’t apply.

    If that were a fluff piece about UFC, and not PRIDE, nobody would be saying let it go. Or suggesting that someone is taking it too personally.

  7. Zach Arnold says:

    This line – “It reads exactly like what a PRIDE fan would write” – seems a bit petty. Honestly, my gut reaction to that is just, “so what?” So what if a it sounds like something a PRIDE fan would write. What is the alternative, sounding like something that someone anti-PRIDE would write?

    The writer in question wasn’t writing a post on an MMA message board. It was supposed to be a column from a sports writer. I have no problems with someone voicing their opinion. What he did, however, was question why Fuji TV would dump PRIDE programming. It would be fine to ask that question if he didn’t already know the story, and based on his initial comments in the column (talking about Gendai’s accusations), he already knew what the accusations where – he just chose to dismiss them.

    If a TV producer for a European or North American station pulled similar stunts to the charges leveled at both producers for Nippon TV & Fuji TV, we’d be reading endless blog posts, news reports, and perhaps TV movie-of-the-week type of deals based on the scandals. Instead, not a single word about Kiyohara – who was a very powerful man at Fuji TV – has been muttered.

  8. b says:

    RE: Being a “PRIDE FAN”, I’m not sure if you are referring to me. If so, I haven’t referred to PRIDE directly at all so I’m not sure where you would have enough info to apply that label. If not, umm, okay.

    RE: “let it go”. That was poor wording on my part and I apologized for it. I would have deleted it but there’s no function for that here.

    RE: The UFC. What are you talking about? I wasn’t talking about PRIDE or the UFC, but rather Arnold making *this* japan times article personal, labelling another writer and even taking the time to dig up the guys background info, as if it were really serious enough to warrant something like that.

    For what it’s worth, I’m all for busting myths about PRIDE, UFC, or whatever. I’m a big MYTHBUSTERS fan, too. Facts bust myths, not petty name calling and implications of fandom. Arnold did a fine job with the facts but the the rest is unecessary.

    I obviously wasn’t talking about Arnold’s reporting on the PRIDE-FUJI TV situation. I was talking about Arnold taking aim at the reporter himself.

    Does Arnold know that the writer is a PRIDE Fan? Perhaps the guy just isn’t as informed about Arnold on this situation. Just because they don’t link back to fightoption and list everything Arnold would have doesn’t mean they have some ulterior motive.

    What was the point of linking the guys background information? I don’t see an “About Me” section on this website or puroresupower.com that gives a breakdown of Arnold’s history, qualifications, etc.

    If someone didn’t agree with what Arnold wrote, would it be journalism to write a rebuttal and (after a little digging) provide information about Arnold’s background? The rebuttal is one thing but the fandom implications and personal info, even work info, has absolutely nothing with a rebuttal of facts.

    Also interesting that someone registered on the japantoday website as “roppongihunter” immediately after this article was written, for the purse of leaving rather juvenile comments, implying that the writer has received some freebies from PRIDE, and link back to here. The timing is incredible.

  9. b says:

    I tried to post and received an automated message that I’ve been labelled as “spam”. Did those comments really constitute spam? Or is criticism not allowed here?

  10. Zach Arnold says:

    I also noticed that someone left some very nice comments at the end of that guy’s article with more name calling and linking back to this website. Very responsible.

    When Criss Cross used to be known as Japan Today, they had a lot of posts with a lot of funny comments on each one. There would always be flame wars and it degenerated pretty fast. Not exactly the most pristine of havens.

  11. b says:

    So, you labelled me as a spammer in your system, deleted my comments and THEN you reply to the bits of my comments that are convenient?

  12. Zach Arnold says:

    B – the site’s automatic spam filter is placing your comments in the moderation queue because you aren’t using a legitimate e-mail or contact information. Plus, if you reply with several replies in a short period of time, the queue reads it as “flooding” and starts putting all replies into a queue.

  13. b says:

    I see. Thanks for telling me about that. My posts were appearing and re-appearing, all over the place.

    I feel so…unwanted. *cries*

  14. Zach Arnold says:

    RE: The UFC. What are you talking about? I wasn’t talking about PRIDE or the UFC, but rather Arnold making *this* japan times article personal, labelling another writer and even taking the time to dig up the guys background info, as if it were really serious enough to warrant something like that.

    It took me 30 seconds total from one search. I linked to his background because he is relatively famous as a journalist/writer, not because of any past controversies. He’s worked for big media outlets.

    What was the point of linking the guys background information? I don’t see an “About Me” section on this website or puroresupower.com that gives a breakdown of Arnold’s history, qualifications, etc.

    I’ve been a writer for a little over 15 years now (backbone was from the professional wrestling world), opened up Puroresu Power in 2000, opened up Fight Opinion last year to try to put more MMA-related content over here and also give people chances to comment on posts. I also have a background in office management and computers. Outside of that, nothing flashy.

  15. Zach Arnold says:

    B – I’m closing the comments on this post temporarily because despite me manually editing your comments out of the moderation queue, the filters are automatically placing your posts back into the queue due to not having proper information entered (e-mail address, etc.). I’ll try to fix it and open up comments again shortly.