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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

Sunday news wrap

By Zach Arnold | February 25, 2007

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In the first attendance claim that I’ve seen in any mainstream media outlet, the Las Vegas Review-Journal is claiming 13,180 fans at the Thomas & Mack Center for the PRIDE 33 event. Interestingly, no attendance figures were listed in initial Japanese media reports coming out of the event (as opposed to the 10/21/2006 event, which immediately trumpeted a number that is actually smaller than the 13,180 claim).

PRIDE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara made some very interesting comments to the Japanese press after the PRIDE 33 event. Gryphon has some of the comments translated.

A quick summary of points he stated:

  1. He would like to see Takanori Gomi defend the PRIDE Lightweight title against Nick Diaz on April 8th at Saitama Super Arena. If it can’t happen then, then the two will face each other in the Lightweight GP that starts on May 20th. Sakakibara thought that Gomi may have came unprepared for the Las Vegas fight, but that revenge will be on his mind for the re-match.
  2. Sakakibara stated that Dan Henderson, who is both the PRIDE Welterweight (185 pounds) and Middleweight (205 pounds) champion, will continue to fight as champion in both weight classes. Sakakibara stated that both Silva and Shogun will have the chance to fight for the Middleweight title against Henderson in the future. He also claimed that Silva had a 40-degree Celsius fever (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and wasn’t feeling well the week of the fight, but that he made no excuses. He finished off by stating that he would like to see Silva make a strong return in America.
  3. He stated that Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou will be booked for PRIDE’s 4/8 Saitama Super Arena event.
  4. Sakakibara was asked by a Japanese reporter about PRIDE Heavyweight champion Emelianenko Fedor fighting in BodogFight on April 14th against Matt Lindland (and why Fedor is not fighting only in PRIDE). After answering the question, Sakakibara said that he has seen the stories about Ed Fishman wanting to buy out PRIDE. However, Sakakibara stated that he will not sell PRIDE and that PRIDE cannot be sold in a disposable manner like you would sell a car or a cell phone. He stated that his mission is to make PRIDE as big as possible in 10 years and that the promotion will continue to live on 50 years from now and become immortal. (If you suspected that Sakakibara would not want PRIDE sold, then you also probably read what I wrote about PRIDE’s future before the PRIDE 33 event.)

I want to point out this particular article regarding MMA in New Mexico. In our Friday news update, I linked to an article in which a New Mexico newspaper claimed that there had been an death at an MMA event. In Sunday’s Quay County Sun: Fight ban falls short, state weighs martial arts restrictions details concerns about MMA after a fighter was shot outside of an MMA training gym facility. As with other states like Utah, Louisiana, and Michigan, keep your eyes open to the politics of MMA in New Mexico.

Onto today’s broadsheet and web page headlines.

  1. Josh Gross: Chaotic time for PRIDE culminates in night of upsets
  2. The Contra Costa Times: A mainstream media perspective on why big media is only now awakening to MMA’s appeal in America
  3. The Boston Globe: Young and old, they stand a fighting chance
  4. The Scranton Times-Tribune: Ultimate fighting suits Brian Stann
  5. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Sideshow? Nope, it’s just boxing
  6. The Long Beach Press-Telegram: Dan Henderson ends Vanderlei Silva’s title reign
  7. UFC Mania: Observer reports that UFC grosses $222 million USD in 2006 PPV buys
  8. UFC Junkie: Report on Dr. Keith Ablow Show featuring UFC fighters

Topics: All Topics, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Zach Arnold | 30 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

30 Responses to “Sunday news wrap”

  1. Ivan Trembow says:

    This doesn’t change my opinion of the fight at all, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal is also reporting that Wanderlei Silva was hospitalized on Friday night and that he also had strep throat. Also, it’s amazing that Sakakibara continues to deny that Pride is for sale.

  2. Ivan Trembow says:

    Also, didn’t Sakakibara say at the Pride press conferences in the US a couple months ago that Fedor would NOT be fighting for BodogFight, not even for that one specific match? It seems like that one is going to be denied until the opening bell goes off.

  3. Xenos says:

    Sakakibara has tried to spin Fedor’s fight in Bodog a million different ways. I remember when he said that it was actually a Pride show in Russia, and bodog was just the “sponsor” of the event.

  4. Diamond Dave Williams says:

    Zach, Jordan Breen and all other doubters. This was the best MMA card up and down in probably the past year. Keep the negatives out. That was just an amazing card.

  5. Xenos says:

    “This was the best MMA card up and down in probably the past year. Keep the negatives out. That was just an amazing card.”

    Right. We wouldn’t want facts to ruin our fun, would we?

  6. 123 Kid says:

    Many fans need to put this Pride FC event into perspective.

    First, it was an amazing night of action. Not even sure why I ordered it, as it sucked on paper. I typically don’t buy those type of cards, but I was inclined to do so this time.

    Now, even though the event was awesome, I’m not sure how much effect this event will have on MMA.

    1. UFC 67 got 350,000 to 400,000 PPV Buys with a horrible main event and sub par card (UFC 68 & 69 are much better on paper). This Pride FC will be lucky to break 50,000 PPV buys.

    2. Paid attendance wasn’t exactly stellar. Rumors of tickets being given away by the thousands were most likely true. Which means the paid attendance wasn’t high enough to contend with the poor PPV buy rates.

    3. And what this all means is that most people didn’t get to see this stellar card. Only the diehards and SOME casual fans. And when those casual fans tuned in, they saw a UFC midcarder defeat a Pride champion. All of my MMA friends already think Pride is the minor leagues compared to Pride. This would only confirm those thoughts if they ordered this PPV.

    Once again, I loved this show. It was really great. However, it doesn’t exactly send shockwaves through the entire casual fan audience. It will barely be a blimp. And fans need to realize that fact.

  7. badape says:

    It’s sickening how Zach Arnold discounts Pride; albeit, rather funny.

    Did anyone else notice, Zach Arnold can’t handle Pride putting on better shows than the UFC. He hates it. It vaporizes his braincase.

    And to another of my qualms: MMA is not scripted like Arnold’s beloved Pro Wrestling. When MMA stars lose (whoever they may be fighting for), that’s the way it goes. Chuck Liddell will lose again, maybe even Fedor.

    Why doesn’t Arnold do everyone a favor and go back to strictly reporting Pro Wrestling, as he clearly believes MMA obeys “Sports Entertainment’s” overplayed themes.

    It’s a shame MMA has attracted polarizers. A damn shame. But most of us are still watching the sport for the sport, so who should care what a nitwit like Arnold thinks.

  8. Jordan Breen says:

    “Zach, Jordan Breen and all other doubters. This was the best MMA card up and down in probably the past year.”

    I still believe the BACK TO OUR ROOTS Shooto card was better in terms of being a top to bottom card with relevant match-ups. As well, just because it turned out to be massively wild and historic night, it doesn’t invalidate the doubt, since no one could’ve forecasted such an over-the-top series of fights.

    “Sakakibara has tried to spin Fedor’s fight in Bodog a million different ways. I remember when he said that it was actually a Pride show in Russia, and bodog was just the “sponsor” of the event.”

    Correctamundo. The Japanese media is the hilariousest.

  9. badape says:

    123 kid:

    You really don’t understand how these things work. You’re going by the numbers (which you made up; you should stop doing that). Never dismiss the power of positive cheer. Kings comes out of wastelands, motored by the headway of euphoria.

    Pride Rules. The Word Spreads.

  10. Jordan Breen says:

    Also, PRIDE’s welterweight division is 183 pounds, Bookerman.

  11. Croatian Strength says:

    What do you mean sucked on paper?
    Hendo Silva 1 was great, so the rematch had potential
    Shogun, Hellboy, Sergei, Gomi, Diaz, Trigg and little Nog are all good fighters to watch – is this the first time you’ve seen anything that’s not UFC?
    You can’t compare Pride’s 2nd show on US soil to the UFC – if they want a similar degree of PPV success, it will take several years. Remember the UFC made no money until the TUF exposure.

  12. mose says:

    Sucked on paper = non-compelling match-ups, which is what this card had. the fact that they turned out great does not take away from that fact..

    Hendo – Silva was great, 6 years ago. Since then Hendo has gone down in weight, came off a bad loss against Misaki, etc. This was not a fight that anyone had really wanted of either fighter(Hendo vs. Misaki, and Wandy vs. Rogerio were the ‘should have been fights’) Hendo was brought in to be an American for Silva to beat up.

    Hellboy is an entertaining fighter to watch as is Sakurai. but throwing them in with cans(how Pride used Ireland and Danzig) is not compelling.

    this card, on paper, was simply not good. Lucky for all who watched, it was very, very entertaining. The fallout has the potential to be even more entertaining.

  13. muhr says:

    ‘Sakakibara thought that Gomi may have came unprepared for the Las Vegas fight, but that revenge will be on his mind for the re-match.’

    Hopefully, his revenge match is more exciting than the one against Aurelio.

  14. Jordan Breen says:

    Hendo/Silva 1 was NOT great. It had a great flurry in the beginning, and from then on, it was a one-sided asswhipping, with Silva stomping Henderson’s face into the mat. The notion of that fight being great is just as much a myth as Couture being outweighed by 500 pounds against Ricco and Josh, Genki Sudo being a great fighter, and the Yeti.

  15. mose says:

    Ron Reis and the Dungeon of Doom are going to kick your ass for that…

  16. Croatian Strength says:

    I enjoyed Hendo Silva 1 at the time, with the real story being Dan hangin on and surviving an absolute mauling by Wand. It might not stand up nowaday – would have to watch it again.
    Evenly matched fights are all good and well, but if you’re in a new territory, giving your best fighters squash matches is a good way to showcase them to newer fans, protect your top draws, stop the card running too long and give some highlight reel footage. Pride’s always had this with the weight mismatches and untrained pro-wrestlers, sumo wrestlers and judokas.
    And Genki was a good fighter – drew money and entertained.

  17. Jordan Breen says:

    “Ron Reis and the Dungeon of Doom are going to kick your ass for that.”

    What’s he gonna do? Sandwich me in between him and Wight, and hump me?

    “Evenly matched fights are all good and well, but if you’re in a new territory, giving your best fighters squash matches is a good way to showcase them to newer fans, protect your top draws, stop the card running too long and give some highlight reel footage.”

    Yeah, that’s all good, I don’t think that’s really what’s at stake with people’s comments. Treating the card as an exhibition for PRIDE in the market is one thing, but it doesn’t make it a crackling card on paper, that’s all.

    “And Genki was a good fighter – drew money and entertained.”

    No, that means Genki was a good draw and an entertainer. For all his submission skills, he couldn’t finish off Bang Ludwig (and I don’t wanna hear about the third round stand up, cause Sudo had no business going past five with Bang given the disparity in ground skills), and in the last three years of his career, faced almost entirely guys who should’ve been fighting at 143 pounds. Sudo was a showman and a drawing card, but a colossal waste of talent.

  18. Kev says:

    Hendo/Silva 1 was forgettable. I got Pride 12 on netflix three months ago and watched through it, and I only realized I saw that fight before last night.

  19. David says:

    If/when Filho beats Henderson at 183, will he also become the 205 pound champion?

    All jokes aside, what do you all think of Pride forcing Hendo to give up the 183 pound title, and setting up a 1 night tournament for the belt between Kang, Misaki, Filho, and another Japanese fighter?

  20. Jordan Breen says:

    “All jokes aside, what do you all think of Pride forcing Hendo to give up the 183 pound title, and setting up a 1 night tournament for the belt between Kang, Misaki, Filho, and another Japanese fighter?”

    Who cares what PRIDE do with their titles? Seriously. DSE don’t care about them, you shouldn’t either. Fans following the sport know what’s shit, and what’s sugar.

  21. JOSH says:

    Just got back from the show and it was AWESOME! Maybe because it was live, the show seemed a million times better than how some poeple saw it to be. The attendance looked to be full BUT definitly NOT a sellout. The upper level had huge sections with rows empty but the lower level (where we were) were packed…again who knows how much of that was papered though. BUT I do have to say standing in front of the Thomas and Mack centere there was aLOT of walk ups…more than I thought there would be.

    As for the comment by David, Henderson said in an interview that he would keep the MW title if he won it for at least a year and then give it back. By that time maybe Soukoudjou can fight Shogun for it.

  22. The Gaijin says:

    Maybe I’m missing something…but I’m pretty shocked at the tone many people are taking on this board.

    While I realize the fights didnt produce the expected or desired results for DSE, thats the nature of the business – this isn’t pro wrestling! People writing of Wanderlei Silva b/c he’s lost two fights in a row to two of the more elite p4p fighters in the world?? Pretty blatantly biased attitudes from what I’m assuming are very strong pro-UFC fans. Mirko Cro Cop has proved to be outside of Fedor, the best fighter on the planet and Henderson has always been a dangerous fighter (admittedly I didnt give him much of a chance last nite) at any weight. Are we forgetting Silva is only 30 years old and its not like he’s getting blown away – he’s lost to top fighters in excellent fights – heck when you look at it he’s lost to Arona, CC and Hendo (and a very controversial loss to Hunt – which on subsequent viewings looks to be a bad decision). Fighters often go through phases where they need to have a fresh game plan and re-tool their approach and it looks like he’s just reached that point – apparently he spent Friday night in the hospital – and Randy Cotoure was lost twice in a row before going on his big run again. People are acting like this was the first time a fighter lost in the history of fighting – newsflash, when you fight for years against quality competition losses will happen. I think these eulogies are a bit premature.

    As for the other fights – I cannot believe people are pulling out all these MMAth games – it can easily be used both ways and used to make ANYONE look bad….so grow up – Zach I expected a lot more from you!! Why are people acting as if this is *PROOF* UFC > PRIDE – you could equally argue that when Rampage and CC come into UFC and win PRIDE >> UFC….its retarded logic – fighters don’t represent organizations they represent themselves and to another extent their respective teams they train with.

    Diaz moved down to fight Gomi did he not?? People are shocked and elated for UFC that a “mid-carder” moved down 10lbs and was able to pull of a wild submission win??
    Trigg was a really hot prospect in the UFC for some time and then hit a rough patch, but of course him winning last nite –> UFC > PRIDE??

    Arguments can be made for either side – if the UFC is constantly poaching PRIDE fighters maybe thats a sign Zuffa realizes that theres worldwide talent and that PRIDE is the place to find some of them. Both organizations have awesome top-tier fighters – if anything this shows how deep the talent pool can be in MMA.

    PRIDE has some fighters that are now even more appealing to the US audience – is this that horrible of a thing? I’m sure they’re gonna have to retool some of their plans for the future but that’s life in a sport where outcomes cannot be scripted!

    People need to stop this pro wrestling “promotion wars” attitude and stop acting like they have any active role in one promotion being better than another – you’re an mma fan, have some more respect for the fighters that bust their asses day in day out so that we can enjoy these amazing fights.

  23. JThue says:

    Silva’s star has been sinking for two years already, so I don’t agree with this being a disaster for his career. And Shogun has been ready to take over for a while now, plus he is also OVER in Japan. It’s not like Wanderlei is leaving a void.

    Hendo winning the belt solves the problem PRIDE has had for a while now: The MW champion not being able to face the true #1 contender, and in the meantime getting beaten in HW-fights. With Hendo as champ, we have Arona, Shogun and Silva all as 100% realistic opponents, with RogNog not far behind. Hallelujah, we can finally get back to the business that has been completely halted since the MW-GP. This is GOOD for PRIDE, both stateside and in Japan.

    Gomi’s loss was a disaster for sure. He has been exposed again. A fantastic fight for a fan, but DSE can’t be happy from a business-standpoint.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that half the crowd was papered, but as long as actual sales doesn’t drop down to 50% of what they had last time, it’ll still be a positive. And at least the crowd was very into the action and it came across great on TV. Less money spent on fireworks and spectacularism this time too.

    I creamed my pants when I heard Lon’s voice. FINALLY a good decision on the commentary front. Barnett was great, and Trigg, obviously, is a lot better alongside two relaxed co-announcers. I’m ready to give Trigg + Lon a chance.

    Sakurai was fantastic. That second round looked like perfectly booked pro-wrestling psychology. It was absoulutely beautiful to watch.

    Best MMA-show of the year so far.

  24. JThue says:

    Oh, forgot one thing…. Diaz fighting Gomi in April or May? He is kind of supposed to fight for EliteXC on May 5th, which would rule out both those PRIDE-dates. I wonder who has the strongest grip of Diaz contract-wise.

  25. Jarred says:

    The NSAC has the strongest grip on Diaz with the medical suspension he will be getting due to those cuts.

  26. David says:

    “Who cares what PRIDE do with their titles? Seriously. DSE don’t care about them, you shouldn’t either. Fans following the sport know what’s shit, and what’s sugar.”

    I understand what you are saying, but having champions fighting and losing non-title fights, losing fights in other weight classes, etc., makes Pride seem chaotic and strange. While Pride’s chances for success in America are low to begin with, I think that if Pride doesn’t establish champions and the value of the belt, they are going to come across as disorganized and bush league compared to the UFC in the eyes of American fans.

    When the best fighter in the division isn’t the champion, the organization looks fishy. Say what you will about the UFC, but Chuck is clearly their best 205er, Silva is clearly their best 185er, St Pierre is their best welterweight, etc etc. When a UFC champion loses, there is a new champion, and the fans respect that. When in Pride a champion loses and there are no repercussions, it comes across as perplexing to Americans.

  27. Royal B. says:

    “People need to stop this pro wrestling “promotion wars” attitude and stop acting like they have any active role in one promotion being better than another – you’re an mma fan, have some more respect for the fighters that bust their asses day in day out so that we can enjoy these amazing fights.”

    Sorry Gaijin. Even if everyone did drop it, it’ll still be there. It’s part of the Japanese landscape if you haven’t noticed by now. And it’s not going to go away. Yes, there were exciting fights, but how is that going to keep Pride’s home base afloat? Two of your top Japanese stars got humbled by guys who shouldn’t be there in the first place. They were expendible son. Fodder to show how great Japanese talent are supposed to be. instead, it bit them in the ass. The only guy who won out of the bunch is the guy japanese call “croatchety old man”.

    How are they supposed to sell themselves now to their hometown, gaijin? Say unified rules hindered the true ability of Misaki? Gomi had a bad bout of lag before his fight? Bullshit! That’s what the Japanese will say. You’ve got a guy wearing a belt in PRIDE who got owned TWICE, I repeat, TWICE to pretty much medioche talent. Would you respect that here in the US? Hell no! You’d be wondering who’s dick this guy sucked just to keep the medal around his waist. You’ve got your WW #1 contender who can be pretty good if he wants to, getting blanketed and almost owned by the guy who’s job is the equivelent of the Spanish announcers table. Think about that. Your top Welterweight contender just got beat…by a spanish speaking commentator. You think the japanese people are still going to see Misaki as the WW contender after that? I wouldn’t.

    Stop acting like your namesake. Just because the flames are warm doesn’t mean you need to stay in the burning building.

  28. Zack says:

    “The notion of that fight being great is just as much a myth as Couture being outweighed by 500 pounds against Ricco and Josh, Genki Sudo being a great fighter, and the Yeti.”

    LOL amazing quote.

  29. The Gaijin says:

    Royal:

    I dont think its necessary to be a douchebag and call me “son” to try and belittle me and my point. I’m not attacking you…

    Secondly, I’m not “PRIDE” so Misaki is not “my WW contender” – my point was that all these idiots were trumpeting around mma math and being very disrespectful to fighters. Silva at 30 is FAR from being finished just b/c he’s got two losses. Chuck Liddell lost to Cotoure, was getting tooled against Overeem until he landed the bomb and then got dominated by Rampage. Look where he is now….some fighters just hit a rough patch but its not like we need to be doing post mortem’s quite yet.

    My points were that these guys they were fighting are no joke and yes they were brought in to be beaten, but thats usually what they do in mma – Rampage is being brought in to be beaten by Chuck, Sylvia is being set up to lose to Cotoure or Cro Cop – funny thing in the fight game is that these fighters do their damndest to screw that up!!

    There’s a chance that people in the US audience will have seen these fights and maybe Henderson will have become a very marketable commodity…time will tell, promoters sometime have to try to make lemonade with the lemons they get.

  30. Chris says:

    Love the layout and most of the info of FightOpinion(and even Pursueopower)but just can not understand Zach almost bitch like hate of things Japanese and real not acted.
    I wish some-one who likes all combat sports from all over the world be it UFC,Pride,K-1,Pro-Boxing,Pro-Wrestling from Japan and Thai Boxing.Would a website modelled on this.

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