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Ed Fishman interview on Sherdog radio

By Zach Arnold | March 21, 2007

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By Zach Arnold

Some quick notes from the Ed Fishman interview on the Wednesday Beatdown Radio show.

Fishman brought up PRIDE being canceled by Fuji TV, which provided PRIDE a good reason to come to do business in the States.

In regards to PRIDE and what has happened to the company, he said that he doesn’t know the real truth entirely but knows only what he has read and now that he thinks about things more based on his business dealings, he expects a lot of depositions from people in Japan to find out the truth in regards to ownership (this is ultimately about the “does i-x” part of the legal complaint his lawyers filed in court on Monday).

Fishman said that before or right around January, Nobu (Sakakibara) approached him about PRIDE having money problems from being cut off by Fuji TV. EF said that Sakakibara gave it 6 months being off TV before they had real problems getting sponsors and bringing in money. Ed said he offered Sakakibara a loan (with conditions for collateral) but that fell apart on the Japanese side. Fishman said Sakakibara met with him in Las Vegas and Malibu several times, expressing problems were coming in PRIDE and that he might have to step down as President.

In regards to the stories about Ed being interested in buying PRIDE, he said that was true. He told the Japanese (who wanted $60-65 million USD) that he would need 30 days for due diligence to find any outstanding debts or secret owners. EF said that due diligence was critical in buying an operation like this, especially if he wanted to keep his gaming license in Nevada (and expressed the same concern if the Fertittas bought PRIDE). Ed said that he asked for paperwork from PRIDE such as legal documents, contracts, bills, etc. Nothing was ever presented to him. He was told by the Japanese that they couldn’t wait 30 days for the due diligence process to occur (and yet it’s 45-50 days after the initial buy-out request and now PRIDE is interested in being sold to the Fertittas?). Ed expressed that by this point now, due diligence by his team would have already taken place and he could have bought the promotion. Ed said he didn’t know if $60-65 million USD was a good price for PRIDE because his legal team didn’t get a chance to perform due diligence on whatever assets existed (VTR library, contracts, name/logo, etc.) He needed time to study the fighter contracts for opt-out clauses and other issues.

Ed was asked about the “does i-x” part of the opening portion of the lawsuit in regards to identifying people related to PRIDE who are not named yet. The question was if Ed knew who they were and how would he subpoena them to testify in court. Ed said that he has an idea of who they may be (as he met them in both Japan and the US) and there may be other people that his team is in the midst of investigating to find out. He said that his consulting agreement contract with PRIDE is very simple and that he had meetings in both Macau and London to set up business on behalf of PRIDE.

Fishman was asked if his lawsuit against PRIDE was more than just about money. He bluntly said yes it was. Fishman said that he has done business for over 40 years and never has been sued. He believes in treating people the right way. He vaguely talks about what may be a critical part of the lawsuit, which is a hotel room meeting that he (Ed) had with Sakakibara and the Japanese (DSE) about the contractual agreement. Essentially, the Japanese ‘fired’ (they really couldn’t do so?) Fishman in the meeting and he considered it a real slap in the face. He says he still likes Nobu (Sakakibara) but doesn’t know where the guy is getting his business advice from. Ed said that the Japanese picked on the wrong person to shut the door on and that he will stand up and fight.

Ed says that he is learning more and more about MMA and wants to become a player in the business. He says that he loves the business and wants to make it better for both the fans with production values and better for the fighters, stating he doesn’t believe in monopolies where fighters have no bargaining power or leverage.

Ed was asked about the cancelation of the 4/28 Thomas & Mack Center event in Las Vegas. Ed said that he didn’t have a role in the event cancelation as far as directly canceling it, but that when Nobu (Sakakibara) walked out of his hotel room knowing a lawsuit would be coming, that it basically halted PRIDE from running in America because Ed would legally be aggressive in pursuing PRIDE in whatever state they tried to do business in (via injunctions or court depositions). He thought for that reason, it was smart for PRIDE to cancel. Fishman said that he talked to the heads of Harrah’s and Caesar’s (who were not MMA fans when Ed signed the deal with PRIDE in the first place) and told them that he no longer had any involvement in PRIDE, which translated into those heads no longer having interest in PRIDE.

Fishman was asked about whether or not he would start a new MMA promotion and what fighters he would be going after. He was also asked if he would work with existing MMA promoters. His answer to the second question was a strong yes. His answer to the first question was also a yes, stating that whatever money he was going to spend to buy PRIDE would be used to finance the new MMA company. Fishman said he’s just putting a list together now of people he will be talking to and having meetings with. He wants fighters who are currently champions in their weight classes or will be future champions.

Ed was asked about his thoughts on Jerry Millen. He said the few encounters he had with Millen were good and he had no problems.

The interviewed closed out with Ed being asked about how strongly does he believe that the Fertittas have bought PRIDE. Ed said he didn’t want to gamble and take a guess on that, stating that he will only believe it once it comes out of their own mouths.

Topics: All Topics, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Zach Arnold | 14 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

14 Responses to “Ed Fishman interview on Sherdog radio”

  1. David coolshaps says:

    Thanks so much for this write-up. I found the business aspects of his suit extremelly interesting as I aspire to be a part of this business. The Japanese people are so weird!

  2. David says:

    Man do I hate the way Pride does business. Shady, disreputable, unreliable, and now they are going to be bankrupt.

  3. Definately glad you took the time to write this up. I can’t stand the new Sherdog radio format … who has no life and can listen to the radio for five hours?

  4. Jeff says:

    Someone with the moniker of EvilMaster is claiming that someone by the alias Bob Carson has something to do with this site. Please clarify this for me.

  5. Zach Arnold says:

    Someone with the moniker of EvilMaster is claiming that someone by the alias Bob Carson has something to do with this site. Please clarify this for me.

    Huh?

  6. MMA Game says:

    I know who EvilMaster is but I have no idea who Bob Carson is.

    I listened to the whole thing. It was interesting but the one thing that stuck in my mind – if he got into MMA he would certainly need to hire a front man with some charisma.

    As a little side issue, they had some “interesting” listener calls on the show. If you didnt hear it you should tune in đŸ™‚

  7. Grape Knee High says:

    “EF said that due diligence was critical in buying an operation like this, especially if he wanted to keep his gaming license in Nevada (and expressed the same concern if the Fertittas bought PRIDE).”

    Huh…very interesting. I commented a few days ago that I figured DSE’s executive management would not be able to stay on in a Fertitta-owned PRIDE (due to Nevada Gaming Commission’s scrutiny of any links to organized crime of a gaming license holder like the Fertitta’s Station Casinos, Inc.) but I figured that only in the sense of who might have any Yakuza links in the staff that might stay on after the sale takes place.

    I didn’t even consider that the Gaming Commission might consider the whole deal sour if DSE has Yakuza links. Even if the Fertittas come to an agreement with DSE, they might not even be able to buy PRIDE if the alleged Yakuza links can be verified easily by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

  8. Zack says:

    “Bob Carson” is a personality on the UG who does a controversal radio show. He knows how to ruffle peoples feathers, but if you can look past some of the BS, I think he’s the best podcast interviewer their is, probably because he’s some annonymous guy who doesn’t give a shit what people think. His latest is with Jorge Gurgel and his best was probably the Lindland interview.

    Since he doesn’t have a website (or maybe now he does?), its kind of hard to find out when he does a new show but I’ve caught a handful. Rumor is he’s an 0-2 fighter or something along those lines and people often threaten to out his identity.

  9. ukiro says:

    I’d be very interested to hear more on what prompted DSE’s behaviour in that hotel room meeting. It could be that they just didn’t want to go on working with Fishman if he was going to snoop around to find the hidden ownership structures, but I suspect there’s more to it. Did they suddenly think they could do better with another partner? Jerry Millen, while historically not the most reliable of sources, said in the Gracie mag interview that there was a big deal in the works for Pride, but that it isn’t a sale of the company. Could that be the real reason they just ditched Fishman like that?

  10. Zack says:

    Gary Millen, IMO.

  11. GassedOut says:

    Zach, thanks for the writeup. I can’t get everything off the Sherdog site (IT security dept blocks stuff), so the info is appreciated.

    Something sounds off about Pride if that’s the story…that he said he had to do his due diligence (required by law, lasts 30 days here). When someone says “there’s no time for that” I think immediately “shady deal.” If someone tries to panic you into a decision in a sale (it’s a recognized tactic, euphemistically called “creating urgency”, on I consider immoral), chances are they have something to hide if it’s a deal of any magnitude.

  12. […] Especially after listening to Ed Fishman’s interview over on Sherdog (outline found here) and reading Loretta Hunt’s interview with him, I’d have serious second thoughts about purchasing Pride. Now I was one of the first to bash Fishman when he came out blasting away and screwing up the way he was dealing with Pride in the US. But he brought up a ton of valid points in those interviews. Pride’s reluctance to allow due diligence is disconcerting. Other aspects have made it odd. Some have questioned why Pride’s CEO was in Brazil this past week, meeting with the fighters. Some reports are that the fighters may have signed new contracts (such as the one Shogun confirmed today) that call for the contract to be voided if the organization is sold. If the due diligence is not allowed, interested buyers could be buying fighter contracts that would be voided upon completion of any sale. I was never big into this whole Yazuka scandal, but if the ties could be proven, it would be very damaging to any potential owner who would like to continue operating a casino business. Finally, Fishman basically guaranteed that Pride will not be running any shows here in the US until his lawsuit against them is settled. He stated he will use injuctions/depositions to prevent Pride from running any shows in the States. That sucks, especially coming off the quality that was Pride 33. What I thought was funny was he was the President of PrideUSA, yet when he was asked his thoughts on Jerry Millen, he glanced over Millen saying the few contacts he had with him were okay. Yet Millen makes it sound like he’s in constant contact with all the big wigs in Japan and was the bigwig here in the States. Further proof Millen is a putz. __________________ […]

  13. Zach Arnold says:

    GO – take a look at this Fishman interview. Fishman elaborates more on the now infamous ‘hotel room meeting.’

    This is classic Japanese strong-arming tactics, if true. Remember the famous ‘hotel room meeting’ that Shukan Gendai talked about in their negative campaign in which they alleged that contract agent Miro Mijatovic supposedly had a gun put to his head by people the magazine labeled as yakuza?