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« | Home | »

Tuesday media turmoil: MMA wars rage on

By Zach Arnold | March 27, 2007

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Today, I ask all of you to help out in terms of gathering of stories, videos, links, etc. Please add your contributions in the comments section, especially on the K-1 press conference at the LA Coliseum. That should be an interesting media session.

Nobuyuki Sakakibara & Lorenzo Fertitta shake hands.

The Associated Press has already released a news wire story about UFC buying PRIDE. This story adds some very interesting details to the UFC/PRIDE deal.

To buy the company, the brothers created a new entity called Pride FC Worldwide Holdings LLC. The newly formed company will take over Pride assets, including its trademarks, video library and valuable roster of fighters, from Dream Stage.

In other words, an asset sale with the hopes of creating a subsidiary company to run events under the PRIDE banner. I love how the AP article says that the two PRIDE US shows were not a financial success, despite them both cracking the Top 10 all-time MMA gates in the state of Nevada. This AP article makes it very clear that The Fertitta Brothers believe the PRIDE fighter contracts are transferrable to a third party. Can someone find out the byline (author) of that AP article for me?

  1. Ad Week: UFC takes R & R (this is another important business deal for Zuffa LLC)
  2. PR Web: Xyience adds new team members and sets goals for ’07 and ’08
  3. The Valley Vanguard: Toughman promotes another MMA event in Michigan on April 4th
  4. The Cibola County Beacon: Eddie Armendariz wins second KOTC fight
  5. Fox Sports: IFL team champion Silverbacks in must-win situation

Topics: All Topics, IFL, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, UFC, Zach Arnold | 40 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

40 Responses to “Tuesday media turmoil: MMA wars rage on”

  1. xx2000xx says:

    Just a heads up, keep refreshing sherdog, they said they will have video of the event posted up shortly.

  2. Royal B. says:

    the Westown is across the road from where I work. I don’t know if Dore’s giving me a big “up yours” or it’s a big “up yours” in general.

  3. Jeff says:

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2007/Mar-27-Tue-2007/sports/13414338.html

    This article has a lot of new info, in particular about rules, ring/cage, and the new company that will run Pride.

  4. xx2000xx says:

    White said Pride would adopt the same rules that are used in the United States and expressed a desire to use the so-called unified rules around the world.

    Damn, at least they are keeping the ring. I wonder if they will save $$$ and skip the pyro and elaborate live production.

  5. xx2000xx says:

    WOW! Check out the front page of http://www.espn.com — it’s the 5th story down.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/news/story?id=2814235

  6. Scott White says:

    MMA gets some recognition on the ESPN homepage.

    ESPN – UFC to Buy Rival PRIDE; Plan to Stage Megafights
    http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/news/story?id=2814235

  7. End of the zuffa myth?

    “This is a sport and we’re going to follow the unified rules that were established in New Jersey and then in Nevada,” White said. “It’s a sport — mixed martial arts — and the sport should have the same rules everywhere. As far as I’m concerned, if an organization doesn’t follow these rules, it’s not MMA. It’s something else, but that’s not MMA.”

  8. GassedOut says:

    From the horse’s mouth no less…

    Interesting!

    This is a sport and we’re going to follow the unified rules that were established in New Jersey and then in Nevada,” White said. “It’s a sport — mixed martial arts — and the sport should have the same rules everywhere. As far as I’m concerned, if an organization doesn’t follow these rules, it’s not MMA. It’s something else, but that’s not MMA.

  9. Kevin says:

    Like I said a couple of months ago, Fedor/Crocop 2 on NYE.

  10. Jeff says:

    From Dave Meltzer
    –Not only will Showtime, EXC and K-1/Hero’s be represented at tomorrow morning’s press conference at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but there will be a few surprise promoters with the idea of announcing all the groups are getting together. Think 1980’s Pro Wrestling USA but with fewer stars and no good television. Also expected to be represented as Strikeforce (no surprise, since they are in bed with EXC for PPV and promoter Scott Coker also is the K-1 promoter), Cage Rage from England (which runs head-to-head with UFC on 4/21) and Bodog (key here is if Fedor is announced or not) are all expected to publicly unite. As those who remember this being attempted in wrestling, I hope they can at least all agree on what to get for lunch after the press conference before it falls apart.

  11. JThue says:

    “I love how the AP article says that the two PRIDE US shows were not a financial success, despite them both cracking the Top 10 all-time MMA gates in the state of Nevada.”

    – Can you clarify if you’re being sarcastic or not here, Zach?

  12. Grape Knee High says:

    “Can you clarify if you’re being sarcastic or not here, Zach?”

    Zach’s probably not thinking straight today. I think he’s having a conniption somewhere, crying into his pillow since PRIDE is not dead yet. He still can’t even admit to himself that this deal is WAY more than a simple asset sale and that Zuffa has much more strategic reasons for buying PRIDE (that I’ve pointed out in my many comments here).

    I also like how Zach says “with the hopes of creating a subsidiary company to run events under the PRIDE banner.” No hope necessary; the subsidiary has already been created (“Pride Worldwide”). The only remaining, relevant question is whether or not PRIDE can get back on Japanese TV. If they cannot, I wonder how much patience the Fertittas will have — or, really, how much money they’re willing to lose — before they kill the brand.

  13. If you take into account all the costs associated with running those two shows in the US it wouldn’t surprise me if they lost money on them, even with the gate price. Think of all the costs of a typical show (fighters, venue, promotion), add the extra cost of having to run in another country, the cost of bringing over a lot of your staff and a ton of equipment (which they did), etc etc etc etc etc. At the scale Pride is at, I don’t doubt that they could have lost money on a $4mil gate if their ppv sales weren’t decent.

    Grape Knee High : please, quit with the personal attacks. We’re all here to discuss the situation, not argue with eachother.

  14. JThue says:

    FL: Ed Fishman said in the interview with FO that PRIDE had lost millions of dollars on the two shows, which is why I wondered why one of the persons conducting that very interview would single out that particular mention from the AP article.

  15. Rollo the Cat says:

    Well, I went from being thrilled that Dana/Zuffa purchased Pride to deeply saddened that it happned, all in a few hours. These unified rules are ridiculous. They were always the worst part of MMA in the US. They were created in a paticular cultural and political enviornment by people who didn’t understand MMA in the first place.

    If uniform rules mean the Unified rules, then we aren’t ready for uniform rules. The focus should be on changing the US rules toward the Pride rules. Once an adequate compromise is reached, then standardize things across the world.

    This is really, really bad.

  16. Euthyphro says:

    Agreed JThue. In fact, it’s not at all unlikely that the authors used some of Zach’s reporting to come to that very conclusion.

  17. JThue says:

    Rollo: Ratner and others have stated publicly time and time again that…

    1: the elbows debate is understandable.
    2: knees on ground is really no worse than when standing.

    It’s just that right now they’re busy getting acknowledged, spreading their product and educating the world. This is not the time to start changing the rules – it’s the time to, indeed, walk a straight line and promote a universally unified rule set. Changes will surely be made in the future, AFTER this process settles down.

  18. JThue says:

    Is there really not a site out there somewhere covering the K-1 conference? Any tips?

  19. Zack says:

    Sherdog will be covering it for sure.

  20. Zack says:

    “This is not the time to start changing the rules – it’s the time to, indeed, walk a straight line and promote a universally unified rule set. Changes will surely be made in the future, AFTER this process settles down.”

    I’d say change the rules before you bring on the “dream matches.”

  21. Rollo the Cat says:

    I couldn’t get an answer elsewhere so…

    What is the story behind this quote from Loretta Hunt’s article at Fightnetwork?

    “There were laughs at some very American-style, Zuffa-produced promotion footage – a clash in cultural styles that suggests maybe it’s a wise decision if PRIDE is run by Japanese, at least in the market of Japan. The new organization will be identified under the brand “PRIDE WORLDWIDE.””

    What specifically was laughed at?

  22. Grape Knee High says:

    “Grape Knee High : please, quit with the personal attacks. We’re all here to discuss the situation, not argue with eachother.”

    Fightlinker.com: You’re right. My apologies to everyone.

    Re: rule changes

    While I prefer PRIDE rules over UFC rules, IMO neither one is perfect. I dislike soccer kicks and stomps in PRIDE and elbows in the UFC. PRIDE USA rules (or IFL rules, if you prefer) + knees on ground is my ideal ruleset. Either way, in my opinion, one set of flawed rules is better than two sets of flawed rules. And there is something to be said for consistent rulesets across both organizations.

    One other thing that has come out is the reorganization of the weight classes to 155, 170, 185, 205, 205+ and I see this as a very positive thing. Not only for consistency for US fans, but it gives the Japanese audience another way to crown a Japanese champ (ie, Mach at 170). I’m kind of hoping here that Gomi is smart enough to stay at 155, because he’s going to get tooled by GSP if he goes to 170 (not to mention that I think Sherk matches up well against him even at 155).

  23. Royal B. says:

    Probably the “worldwide” part.

    Other then Pride being carried around the world anyway (TWC, FIGHT, Korean TV), “Worldwide” is synonimous with “Brother”.

  24. JThue says:

    “WHEN:

    Tuesday, March 27
    10:00 a.m. Media Check-in
    10:30 a.m. Announcement, Q&A and Photo Opportunities
    11:00 a.m. One-on-one interview opportunities”

    — According to timeanddate.com, the time in LA is now 12:50 p.m. What the hell is going on?

  25. Grape Knee High : I completely agree with you … if they added knees on the ground I’d be happy. Elbows I’m fine with, as far as i’m concerned landing an elbow that rips a dude’s face in half is just as impressive as knocking someone out. Also, it’d definately shake things up if PRIDE adopts the UFC’s weightclass system (which i think is very likely).

    What an exciting time for an MMA fan! People at work are wondering why i keep going ‘Squee!’ like a little girl every 5 minutes.

  26. Stu says:

    PRIDE lost money on their US shows, for example they shipped all their equipment and staff from Japan which cost them huge sums.

  27. JThue says:

    I think everybody simply forgot about K-1 today. MELTZER has now reported that Jun 2nd is the confirmed date, Tanigawa predicts 100k in attendance, Showtime will promote with 30 min shows starting two months in advance, pre-show live on Showtime, plenty of orgs involved, etc:

    http://www.wrestlingobserver.com/wo/news/headlines/default.asp?aID=19062

  28. Zack says:

    In equally important news:

    “–Abdullah the Butcher vs. Buff Bagwell on 3/31 in Circleville, OH at the Fairgrounds, plus The Fantastics appear ”

    LOL

  29. Grape Knee High says:

    “Elbows I’m fine with, as far as i’m concerned landing an elbow that rips a dude’s face in half is just as impressive as knocking someone out. Also, it’d definately shake things up if PRIDE adopts the UFC’s weightclass system (which i think is very likely).”

    Dave Meltzer already reported that PRIDE’s weightclasses will be changed to conform with unified rule weightclasses. But I don’t think it’ll shake things up too much. If Gomi sticks at 155, then all they need to do crown a 170 champ, which I think will end up being Mach most likely, or someone like Gono if he decides to drop.

    Regarding elbows, the only reason I dislike them is not only because of the higher likelihood of opening cuts, but the fact that fighters specifically train to cut with their elbows (and then brag about that in pre-fight interviews). I think it’s a bit cheap. I can live with it though.

  30. Larry says:

    MMA on Tap has a great look at the Brandon Vera situation

    http://www.mmaontap.com/mma/entry/vera-staying-with-ufc/

  31. The Gaijin says:

    I could live with elbows if they allow knees on the ground/4-pt stance. Make the guy have to work and risk it to take the fight to the ground. And knees from side mount are also good for keeping the action on the ground exciting.

    And for an example of why people dont like elbows:

    KenFlo vs. Leben – KenFlo getting TOTALLY DOMINATED…and then he lands a little inside elbow in the clinch that didnt even phase Leben, but b/c of how sharp elbows can are shreds Leben’s eye and ends the fight.
    Cheap and nowhere near as skillful or deserving as a KO win.

  32. 45 Huddle says:

    Unified Weight Classes are the best thing for the entire sport. I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. However, the system isn’t perfect yet. Here is a short list of things I would like to see:

    1. Removal of 265 lbs limit on the Heavyweight Division.
    2. Allow knees on the ground.

    Having different organizations is actually a fantastic thing. Basically, you have 2 distinct sets of contenders in each company. This will allow for more potential stars to grow.

    The weight class change will only effect a handful of fighters. Sakurai & Aoki are the first two that come to mind. I don’t think many other will be effected. I hope they bring Hioki to the WEC and have him fight Faber. That would be a fantastic fight.

    Overall, I don’t really see many negatives with this. People will say the fighters won’t get paid, but I say BS to that. Elite XC & K-1 are still around. Zuffa & Pride will have to pay the fighters at a certain level or they will leave. And the Fertitta’s have seemed to be nothing but good with the payouts. Heck, Rua is getting paid more money now.

  33. iain says:

    I want the ring to stay. I want knees to the ground to stay (at the least).

    Apart from that I am happy japanese mma is surviving. Hopefully Pride won’t be gutted completely.

    This is way better than where Pride was headed.

    So zach do you still hate pride now or was just the people in charge?

  34. JThue says:

    “1. Removal of 265 lbs limit on the Heavyweight Division.”

    – This would only increase the weight cutting problem with all 230 lbs’ers following in Liddell’s footsteps. No thanks. Someone really needs to run with a super heavy division now though. One can look at WEC and hope for the same here, only tilted heavy instead of light. In fact, this could be one of the most interesting stories to come out of this, as with a 265 cap on HW in PRIDE now, Zuffa either has to add SHW or dump Mark Hunt.

  35. The Gaijin says:

    I’m pretty sure Mark Hunt can and has fought around 260lbs before. I think its just a matter of him actually needing/being motivated enough to have to.

  36. 45 Huddle says:

    One thing we will finally see are fighters like Rua, Arona, & Filho getting title shots like they have deserved. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Dan Henderson holding no titles by the end of the year. Rua should beat him. And Filho would probably be a favorite. By the end of ’07 I see it as:

    HW: Fedor
    LHW: Rua
    MW: Filho
    WW: Sakurai
    LW: Winner of LW Tourny (Melendez if I was forced to pick)

  37. klown says:

    I like Pride and UFC the old way, 2 distinct interpretations of the sport. The type of fighter to dominate in a ring, with ref readjustments, with stomps and soccer kicks and knees on the ground, is different from the type of fighter who dominates in a cage, with elbows. The different rules set a whole different feel to each promotion, style and pace of fights, strategies available to fighters. I regret any “unification”, or dilution of their unique styles.

    Of course, I’m excited for the Pride vs UFC fights. But imagine if 2 or 3 fight feuds were played out in each of the 2 settings. It would be interesting to see if, for example, Silva beats Liddell in the ring but loses in the Octagon, or perhaps it would be the opposite, and we’d find little or no correlation between the setting and who wins. We’d find out to what extent a particular fighter’s strategies depends on the rules or the structure, and which fighters win no matter where. I’d be interested to see.

  38. Mike says:

    klown …

    That was a great post. I’m not being sarcastic, for once.

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