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PRIDE at Roppongi Hills Arena

By Zach Arnold | March 27, 2007

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Image credit: Livedoor

By Zach Arnold

Here’s a picture taken at 5 PM JST outside of Roppongi Hills Arena. The Livedoor article says that all of the seats are already filled up at the media session (and that some fans were waiting in line at 8 AM).

Stephen Martinez is at the press conference. MMA on Tap is also liveblogging the event.

From PRIDE’s Japanese HP (and I will paraphrase here):

PRIDE & UFC dream match, aiming at creating an MMA World Series

Nobuyuki Sakakibara has voluntarily retired and Lorenzo Fertitta assumes the position as PRIDE’s new owner. At a press conference held in Tokyo at Roppongi Hills Arena on March 27th, an astonishing plan that shook the world was announced. PRIDE and American MMA organization UFC will finally meet. A big first step is placed forward to aim at achieving an MMA version of the World Series. A long time dream for MMA fans is finally becoming a reality. UFC President Dana White and Nobuhiko Takada appeared today at Roppongi Hills Arena. Similar to baseball’s world series, soccer’s Toyota Cup, and American Football’s Super Bowl, “the strongest in the world” will be achieved.

For those who read my Insider Hardball article last night, it looks like option #2 was the one likely chosen here. It could definitely be a high-risk financial option.

Comments are on. Stay on good behavior.

Livedoor already has an article up about the ownership transfer. PRIDE grave announcement! All power is transferred to UFC owner! Reaction from Jake Rossen. Here’s the Sports Navigator article on the press conference. Lorenzo Fertitta talked about “PRIDE FC WORLDWIDE.” An estimated 3,000 fans attended the Roppongi Hills Arena event. Nobuyuki Sakakibara claimed that after his resignation from PRIDE on April 8th, his ties to the promotion will be cut. Photo time.

Topics: All Topics, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, UFC, Zach Arnold | 32 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

32 Responses to “PRIDE at Roppongi Hills Arena”

  1. JThue says:

    I think it’s sad to see Sakakibara go. He is a good man who has done a lot of good for PRIDE and MMA. Fertitta stating UFC will not be favored is the most interesting bit so far. Can not believe this is happening. And again… this is SOOO 2001, only I have a lot more faith in Zuffa than in Vince…

  2. JThue says:

    Alright, forget about Zuffa for a second, it’s MINOWAMAN VS. DON FRYE @ PRIDE.34! LOVE IT!

  3. Xavier says:

    This is going to be spectacular for MMA. Just spectacular. No more annoying UFC vs. Pride BS, we can all now see whatever fight the fans demand. Hopefully Pride will stay in Japan and run it exclusively and UFC will stay in the west and run it exclusively.

    What a great morning.

  4. Zach Arnold says:

    There are definitely some web sites crashing right now.

    Zuffa seems confident that the PRIDE contracts are assignable and transferrable to a third party. Let’s wait and see how this works out.

  5. JThue says:

    “It is also announced that Jeff Monson and Kazuyuki Fujita will fight at PRIDE 34 in the first official “UFC vs PRIDE” super bout.”

    – I really envy pro-wrestling haters who can read stuff like this today without having horrible images of Stephanie McMahon with that slick hat on and Paul Heyman pop up in their minds.

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    When Monson vs. Fujita was announced, I immediately stated that DSE would push this as “UFC vs. PRIDE.” Sure enough, they are. This is likely the main event of the 4/8 Saitama Super Arena show. The added angle now is that Zuffa will take over PRIDE after the event.

  7. Rohan says:

    Has MMA just jumped the shark?

    As someone who has followed procedings since UWFI (come on we all thought it was a shoot) and Pancrase days I am distinctly uneasy today. A streched successful organisation entering a deal with a dodgy near bankrupt company with no assets and no telly? A coalition of the willing (Elite, K-1, Bodog Cage Rage etc, etc) with no decent television deal (copyright Meltzer) fight the good fight?

    It could be a brand new day for MMA. Or it could be an almighty mess with huge amounts spent and superfights that don’t draw.

  8. Zach Arnold says:

    Has MMA just jumped the shark?

    If MMA was an index fund, I’d stay on the sidelines for the next 3-6 months before putting money into it. Things need to settle out and they should do so pretty quickly.

  9. kobashi says:

    sad day. This all started with the big Yakuza scandal and now Pride will never really be the same again.

  10. xx2000xx says:

    Dana White: “No Deal in Place to Buy PRIDE”

    So when Dana says: “Like most things,” he said, “about 70 percent of what you hear is bullshit.”

    Does that mean 70% of the stuff he says is bullshit then too? 🙂

    When does the other press conference start?

  11. JThue says:

    K-1 PC starts in, uhm, six and a half hours.

  12. Zach Arnold says:

    I think the photo-op from the K-1 PR could be priceless. Photobook material without question. This whole day is just that.

  13. white ninja says:

    good riddance sakakibara – back to sewers where you belong

  14. Grape Knee High says:

    Well, at least the details are finally out and apparently the deal has been finalized. Maybe BobSappFan (RobRobRob) was right when he first leaked a pending deal between Zuffa and PRIDE in January on both Sherdog and the Underground and that they just needed to do due diligence. A two month period to finish that due diligence seems about right. I’m presuming here that they wouldn’t have a press conference if this hadn’t taken place yet and the contract had not been signed.

    This is definitely a watershed moment in MMA history, where a line has been drawn and most of the major orgs have taken sides. To be honest, I’m pretty excited since I thought Zuffa would not have any competition once they bought PRIDE, but now that I see that K-1 is leading the opposition…maybe there is some hope that someone will keep Zuffa honest.

    That said…I’m definitely wondering if Rohan has a point that MMA has just jumped the shark…

  15. Euthyphro says:

    I don’t know Zach, it looks like PRIDE and Zuffa have forced you to soften your stance progressively as each day has gone by. We’ve gone from “this will never happen once the lawyers get a look at things” to a major press conference announcing it as a done deal.

  16. xx2000xx says:

    I haven’t heard any talk of this, and I’m sure when the fallout happens we will have tons of new info, but what is Pride’s contract with fox sports?

    I wonder because now that they own them if they can make television shows on Spike (to grab the new UFC crowd) while still running the highlight shows on fox sports net. Or is the fox sports exclusive, which is probably the case, but for how long?

  17. Grape Knee High says:

    “I don’t know Zach, it looks like PRIDE and Zuffa have forced you to soften your stance progressively as each day has gone by.”

    When Zach says “Stay on good behavior.” I think he’s talking about NOT pointing out where he’s been wrong….

  18. larrythelegend says:

    Quote—>

    xx2000xx Says:

    March 27th, 2007 at 2:46 am
    Dana White: “No Deal in Place to Buy PRIDE”

    So when Dana says: “Like most things,” he said, “about 70 percent of what you hear is bullshit.”

    Does that mean 70% of the stuff he says is bullshit then too?

  19. jalapeño says:

    According to Sherdog’s live blog, Wanderlei Silva was announced as fighting on the April 8th Pride 34 Card. How does this square with the NSAC’s medical suspension of him until April 11th?

    I suppose Zuffa, Pride Worldwide, the Fertittas, etc. will be able to convince the NSAC to change their deadline. Is that possible? Do changes like that happen regularly?

  20. BigC says:

    Is Takada leaving as well?

  21. Xavier says:

    No, Takada is staying on as president.

  22. Hustle says:

    A doctor can release a fighter early if it is deemed he is no longer at risk from his prior injury for which he was suspended. I believe it happens all the time…but I think it is more common for doctors to waive the “no contact” restrictions early.

  23. xx2000xx says:

    Hopefully they can clear Diaz early too, so he can make the LWGP.

  24. Hustle says:

    I believe Diaz has a fractured his right orbital bone. I’m not sure how long it will take him to recover and according to WebMD “The timing of and need for eye socket fracture repair is controversial. ” Hopefully he will post something on his website.

  25. Harold says:

    “Zuffa seems confident that the PRIDE contracts are assignable and transferrable to a third party. Let’s wait and see how this works out.” are you that arrogant to still cling to you’re previous reports even after the deal has been announced

  26. GassedOut says:

    Yes!

    So when Dana says: “Like most things,” he said, “about 70 percent of what you hear is bullshit.”

    Does that mean 70% of the stuff he says is bullshit then too?

    The problem is not even Dana knows WHICH 70 percent of what he say is in that category 😉

  27. SB says:

    Is it March 2001 or March 2007? Just amazing… I just hope we dont get angles where Fedor is stalking Randy Corture’s wife…..

  28. Zack says:

    Can we skip UFC 69 & Pride 34 and jump to the dream matches please? Those are two of the worst cards I can remember.

  29. chis says:

    A new dawn for Martial Arts and now i hope FEG to just do Kickboxing and BODOG to BOGOFF.

  30. Zach Arnold says:

    I don’t know Zach, it looks like PRIDE and Zuffa have forced you to soften your stance progressively as each day has gone by. We’ve gone from “this will never happen once the lawyers get a look at things” to a major press conference announcing it as a done deal.

    Due diligence usually takes place after a heads of agreement or a variation of such a deal takes place. You can handshake on a business transaction and then the lawyers & accountants get involved. Meaning due diligence may in fact have not taken place yet and is happening as we speak, which would make sense. The fighter contracts are what Zuffa wants the most and if those are not assignable, then the deal can certainly fall apart. I don’t know if I expect it to or if Zuffa will just pay less money in the end because some of the deals don’t transfer over.

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