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Report: Gomi heading to UFC

By Zach Arnold | January 15, 2007

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Daily Sports reports in their Tuesday newspaper that Takanori Gomi has been given the “go-sign” by DSE to fight in UFC. In the pro-DSE report by DS, the paper claims that PRIDE will have Gomi fight on their 2/24 Las Vegas event and then send him into UFC as a PRIDE fighter to “make a raid on UFC” and overthrow UFC 155-pound champion Sean Sherk and fight BJ Penn. Unlike Mirko Cro Cop (who is fighting as a true UFC fighter), the paper claims that DSE will be Gomi’s booking agent for any fights in UFC.

Update: Gryphon has more thoughts on the story.

Topics: All Topics, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, UFC, Zach Arnold | 45 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

45 Responses to “Report: Gomi heading to UFC”

  1. The MMA Critic says:

    Wow!! Big News. Gomi against Sherk or Penn would be a huge fight.

  2. James says:

    (if the report is true)

    This seems like another of Prides wacky plans that never pan out. IE: Mike Tyson etc. Why on earth would the UFC allow this to happen??

    They wouldn’t.

  3. Marcus says:

    What the… I honestly don’t see what’s so whacky about it and maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see the similarites in “whackiness” between this and the Tyson strategy. Pride is obviously in a different situation than usual and judging from their recent emphasis on the American market, as well as Sakakibara’s acknowledgement of it in public, who is to doubt that DSE isn’t willing to do this? The closer Pride is to going out of business, the more chances DSE will surely take. I mean, what’s there to lose if you’re in a situation where it’s all or nothing?

  4. Marcus says:

    oh, i also forgot to add that Zuffa has seemingly been getting more and more confident about the UFC. The pressure isn’t so much on the UFC anymore. I’m pretty sure someone out there asked “why would Pride take such a risk?” when they allowed Chuck to enter the 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix as a full-fledged UFC representative.

  5. […] Rumour:Gomi heading to UFC – Your Global Connection to the Fight Industry. Gomi vs Sherk and Pen? I sure hope this happens. __________________ “It’s a fight, you signed up for it – hands up, chin down, let’s go.” Kendall Grove ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU READY? LET’S GET IT ON! […]

  6. phoenix says:

    what value does Gomi fighting in UFC have for UFC? apart from pleasing hard core fans (who will know of gomi) – who of UFC’s casual fans knows Gomi or Pride?

    if Gomi won, it would promote PRIDE and damage UFC. So I wonder whats in it for UFC?

    If Gomi in UFC is true, then this sounds like Pride is just putting out smoke to cover Gomi possibly signing a 3 fight deal with UFC. Just more desperation from Sakakibara

  7. Zach Arnold says:

    The real answer to questions asked up above is that PRIDE is trying to UFC to keep its fighters, but not in the way you are thinking of. Right now, with PRIDE’s power base in Japan vanishing quickly, they need to find a carrot to give to their core fighters to stay on board and not jump ship entirely. In my opinion, it’s clear that DSE is going to use UFC as a ‘carrot’ by offering to book them in UFC in exchange for not going to K-1. The old ‘agency’ ploy, similar to what New Japan Pro-Wrestling tried to do a couple of years ago by considering auctioning off their top stars to work in other promotions in exchange for a booking fee.

  8. The Gaijin says:

    ^ That’s a pretty retarded comment…seeing as Sakakibara has come right out and said that Cro Cop left (couldn’t put up the money/contract he was offered) and said that there would be other fighters following.

    The fact that they’ve come out and said this and are now saying that they are sending Gomi as a rep clearly looks to me to be on the level – nice anti-PRIDE rhetoric though.

  9. Kevin says:

    Does anyone else think that maybe Pride and the UFC are actually working together to set up the ultimate NYE event? After everything else that has happened over the past few months… just a thought.

  10. Zach Arnold says:

    It’s hard to think that PRIDE has much value to UFC at this point. In America? UFC can make more money promoting their own fighters than promoting PRIDE fighters. In Japan? Without TV support, UFC wouldn’t make the same amount of money there as they would for a standard US PPV now.

  11. The MMA Critic says:

    When is the last time a UFC Lightweight Title fight has headlined a UFC PPV? It was one time, and it was Pulver/Penn… And it was a long time ago. Sherk does not sell PPV’s right now. Neither does Fisher, Franca, Thomas, Griffin, Pulver, Florian, or Stevenson.

    The UFC would lose nothing by letting this happen. They really wouldn’t. The casual fan base would accept any Lightweight Title Fight right now. They is the perfect time to have Gomi in the UFC.

  12. Lynchman says:

    I think the only way Gomi fights in the UFC is if he signs a contract with them. I don’t see the UFC working with Pride, that ship sailed with the Silva/Liddell fiasco.

  13. […] Gomi to UFC? – Your Global Connection to the Fight Industry. perhaps… __________________ My Most Inspirational Fighters Georges St. Pierre Anderson Silva Fedor Emelianenko Mauricio Rua Urijah Faber Kazushi Sakuraba Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira […]

  14. The Gaijin says:

    (Zach my comment was not to you fyi, to avoid any confusion. It to phoenix…but since my posts are delayed by the spam filter it followed yours and not his!)

  15. mose says:

    The Gaijin, you don’t study your history…..

    the whole “DSE as booking agent” should instantly bring to your mind the situation of New Japan or the infamous Inoki Office…

    if I am not mistaken, Pride initially contracted Josh Barnett from New Japan(who received a cut of his earnings)…..

  16. mose says:

    my apologies to The Gaijin, spam filter madness…..

  17. Jordan Breen says:

    Not sure why this is anything special. Sakakibara already gave the obligatory diplomatic response to Gomi’s desire to fight UFC fighters with “We want to make Gomi’s dreams happen.” This is nothing more than a printed affirmation of that. Whether it happens is completely different.

  18. CapnHulk says:

    However true this is or isn’t, it’s still pretty exciting from a fans perspective.

  19. iain says:

    Well it would be similare to the wandy – chuck situation. The UFC won’t want a one and done and it won’t happen. It might create some hype and publicity for Pride in the U.S. It’s really not that different than what has been going on for a long time. The question really is, is pride that desperate that they let gomi do a 3 fight deal?

  20. […] We don’t read Japanese, so we’ll go with this summary from […]

  21. phoenix says:

    gaijin – great response to my post. i am not sure what you mean by retarded, but if its mental slowness that you’re referring to, i find your reply ironic

    which of Sakakibara’s conflicted comments in regard to Crocop (before NYE he was saying crocop is not going; after NYE he said he couldnt afford him and now he is saying that crocop left cause he couldnt compete in pride) are you talking about?

    comparing a reigning Japanese champ (gomi) with crocop is also, well, to borrow your label, retarded

    gomi going to UFC is another nail in PRIDE’s coffin- you know it and everybody else knows it. The only reason Dana would accept this idea would be to confirm that

  22. Thonolan says:

    “I think the only way Gomi fights in the UFC is if he signs a contract with them. I don’t see the UFC working with Pride, that ship sailed with the Silva/Liddell fiasco. ”

    I’ve got to agree with this.

  23. The Gaijin says:

    By all means Sakakibara was saying CC wasnt going because they were still in contract negotiations, then after it was revealed that he took the deal with UFC and left because PRIDE couldn’t match the money. As for the final comment it was purely damage control and you’re silly to think that any company wouldn’t try to downplay the defection of one of your top fighters to your main competitor.

    In this instance (from my understanding) they’ve come out and said that they’re booking Gomi in the UFC under the PRIDE banner…I don’t know why this is so unfathomable – PRIDE appears ready to go down fighting and if they can get one of their fighters on UFC PPV and win it doesnt seem to be such a bad idea. Comparing Gomi to CC would be “retarded” because Gomi is still under PRIDE contract and CC is a UFC fighter now – the complexities aren’t really that hard to grasp ;).

    Clearly UFC sees themselves as taking a real stranglehold on the fight game and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re making bolder moves because: A) they’re confident they’ve got better fighters and can show it to the US/worldwide audience; B) they feel like PRIDE will be going under and they can scoop up whomever they want; C) They feel they can make some big coin off some interpromotional fights that the diehard fanbase is clamouring for perpetually.

  24. monkeymatt says:

    The UFC can no longer be scared of having high quality fighters in their organisation, or protecting their champs.

    Gomi is one of the best in the world at his weight. Ergo, UFC wants him.

    The UFC is growing every day, and if they want to be the best, they need the best to fight for them. If that means one man destroying their division, so be it.

  25. Stu says:

    Makes sort of sense, have all the other LW’s fight in the GP and the winner fights Gomi, but keep Gomi busy during that period.

  26. Body_Shots says:

    The UFC is not going to share Gomi with PRIDE, they’ll sign him to an exclusive (most likely) long-term contract or he won’t be in the UFC at all.

  27. 2/24 PRIDE.33
    4/5 UFC Fight Night 10
    5/5 UFC 70

    Gomi’s possible schedule looks a grueling one!

  28. Brian Cooper says:

    I for one would be very surprised if Dana White either booked Takanori Gomi as either a PRIDE champion or in UFC championship matches unless he either had Gomi under exclusive contract, or had actually bought into PRIDE in some form or another.

  29. […] Source: January 16th 2007 Posted to MMA Fighting […]

  30. Nick says:

    Sorry, too tired to read all that stuff on the link. Which is the part in Japanese that says “make a raid on UFC”?

  31. InJapan says:

    Just for the record, Dana White was on Inside the UFC not too long ago stating that he wanted to workout an arrangement with other promotions for cross-promotional fights. So I don’t find the idea so far fetched.

  32. InJapan says:

    Just for the record, Dana White was on Inside the UFC not too long ago stating that he wanted to workout an arrangement with other promotions for cross-promotional fights. So I don’t find the idea so far fetched.

  33. Frank says:

    Spam filter huh?
    Criticism filter more like!

  34. JThue says:

    What Stu said is exactly what I thought too. Gomi will be at risk this year regardless, so whether he is risked against UFC’s champ or in the GP doesn’t really matter much, and if he wants to fight in UFC, why not try letting him do that. As for UFC, of course they’re interested in Gomi. They just bought a freaking company to get hold of a few non-name(in the US) fighters, and all they ask is that anyone who comes signs for three fights. The only question is to which degree both parts have learned from the Silva-debacle.

    ALL hypothecically speaking, of course. Fujita was supposed to be in the middle of HIS UFC-raid right now…

  35. Preach says:

    I agree with Zach and Mose, it smells just like NJPW/Inoki Office.
    But i’m also agreeing that this is probably nothing more than another of Sakakibaras ploys to keep the hardcore fans on his side, since he can always say “Well, UFC didn’t want Gomi, they’re too afraid of him”, the usual stuff to keep the nuthuggers happy. Just like JThue said, Fujita was supposed to be raiding the UFC right now…

    And if we’re realistic: there’s not too much of an upside to Gomi.
    Why? Simple, he has absolutely no name value in the US, apart from the usual Pride nuthuggers. And we’ve all seen how they turn on one of “their” stars “defecting” with CroCop. From hero to zero in but an eyeblink. And the case of CroCop (and Herring) was a bit differenty anyways, they needed (and still need) quality heavyweights, whereas they don’t in lightweight. Hell, they got Sherk, Penn, Pulver, Franca, Fisher, Guida, Griffin, Hominick, Huerta, Thomas, Varner, Edwards (who seems to be coming back via TUF 5), and could easily bring in their WEC LW’s if they needed them.

    And please don’t come with: “But it would be a dream-match, UFC vs Pride!”. Umm, again: Only for the diehard’s, not for the general UFC fans. There’d be more money to make from a UFC vs WEC title unification bout a few months down the line than from a UFC vs Pride match right now.

    And another point we shouldn’t forget is Gomis weight. The guy supposedly walks around at 180 and just can’t get lower than 160, why Pride put the weight cap on their LW division right there. So, being as ripped as he is, the question is if he’d be able to make 155. I sincerely doubt it, there’s not much weight that he could shed, so he would have to fight at Welterweight, which for one would nullify having a title vs title fight, and that he would have to go against guys like GSP, Hughes, Sanchez, Parisyan, Koscheck, Mayhem, Davis, Diaz, Fickett, Fitch… And i somehow doubt it that he’d be able to hang with most of these guys. He’s not exactly know to be good on the ground, and all these guys could wrestle circles around him. And let’s not forget that it’d be in the octagon, under unified rules, so no escape, no way to stop the takedown by knees or kicks to the head…

    And one last thing – he doesn’t seem to be taking his vitamins and saying his prayers, but rather being on a different “wellness program”, which could lead to a few problems all by itself…

  36. The Gaijin says:


    Don’t you think a guy with the style of Gomi could easily get over if they showed a few HL’s of him (if this truely is a cooperation b/w orgs) or actually saw him in the ring once. Not everyone NEEDS to be a WWE-style trash talker to be a star. Hell play him off as the evil Japanese coming into the UFC and your fighters are defending the “USA”!! Zuffa has shown they are all hype of substance when it comes to pushing their biggest $$$ fights (Tito vs. Shammy and vs. Chuck).

  37. Stu says:

    Preach, that’s a lot of speculation you present. Why would PRIDE create the 160 division based on Gomi’s weight when he really wasn’t a big name when he first entered PRIDE? Not to mention that he fought at 155 four months before he participated in Bushido 2.

  38. Jordan says:

    Whoever said that all the lightweights dont sell PPV’s

    think about gomi you think him coming from far away is going to be a HUGE draw? Not even close to likely, due to the fact that no one but the HARDCORES knows who he is

    in reality it would slightly help, but nothing substancial, he would have to be there for a good year or so before he was popular, and no need to be racist, a non english speaking fighter in america doesnt seem to be someone to save the LW divisions PPV sales problem

  39. Ivan Trembow says:

    The Gomi-UFC talk is just another red herring put out by DSE. There is no truth to it whatsoever. Gomi could end up fighting in the UFC one day, but only if the UFC buys Pride one day.

  40. Gomi just isn’t worth very much in the US market. I can’t imagine him getting paid by the UFC what he’s probably making in PRIDE. I guess we’ll see how much he is after NSAC releases the PRIDE33 fighter purses. Playing armchair Dana, i’d be willing to offer Gomi a 3-fight 20-30k deal and see how it develops. A ufc fight night and a PPV show, see how people react and then negotiate a contract extension from there. If the public isn’t impressed? Dark show the last match and send him home.

  41. […] – Your Global Connection to the Fight Industry. Here’s where alot of the rumors started from. […]

  42. Preach says:

    Gaijin: Surely he could get over, but the point of my initial post was that the UFC simply just doesn’t need him, as their LW division is pretty stacked, and features a wide array of good fighters. He’s virtually unknown in the US, comes most probably with a big asking price due to him being a star in Japan, has a rather bland personality and non-existent knowledge of the english language, and will most probably want to keep fighting in Pride. So not exactly what the UFC wants. Could they go the Pro-Wrestling 101 route and turn him into the bad foreigner who wants to destroy the american fighters? Sure, they could, but that’s something they could do with every halfway decent fighter, as it’s just a case of marketing and presentation.

  43. Rohan says:

    For what it’s worth Meltzer has said on that he’s heard nothing of this and basically rubbishes the story.

  44. […] Originally Posted by x2lacrosse Where did u here that Gomi is going to UFC?? Report: Takanori Gomi UFC bound? at UFCmania – The Ultimate UFC Fan Blog! – Your Global Connection to the Fight Industry. mmatoronto i could keep going on, but you should take a look for yourself. […]

  45. […] up or overrated, but this is great news. It’s either put-up-or-shut up time after the psych outs he’s pulled on us for the past half-decade. But this time he seems serious. The choice is his whether or not he makes […]


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