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Wacky Wednesday: Zuffa takes over the world

By Zach Arnold | March 27, 2007

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The IFL did a 0.8 rating for week three on My Network TV. 0.8, 0.7, and 0.8 for the first three weeks. I receive little to no feedback at all from readers about the IFL Battleground show. If you watch it, give me your thoughts about the program.

Softbank’s sponsorship tie-up with K-1 is drawing a lot of media attention in Japan today. It certainly is the kind of business move that gives K-1’s image a big boost.

Lorenzo Fertitta agreeing to purchase the assets of PRIDE from DSE just made the Fishman Companies vs. DSE lawsuit a whole lot more intriguing.

Nobuyuki Sakakibara did an interview on the PRIDE site and he made an interesting statement in regards to the new Zuffa company being formed for it (PRIDE FC Worldwide LLC). He stated that the company will be formed in April to take on the PRIDE assets — meaning that the transaction itself hasn’t fully taken place in a legal sense. What we saw in Roppongi was the handshake – now comes the due diligence and actual process to transfer the title & have payment occur. Should be interesting to see which fighters consent and which do not consent to the contract transfers, particularly when it comes to renegotiation time.

  1. PW Insider: Zuffa LLC files lawsuit against Showtime and Elite XC
  2. PR Newswire: Navarre signs exclusive DVD distribution agreement with Zuffa LLC
  3. The Baltimore Sun: Pramit Mohapatra on UFC owners buying PRIDE
  4. UFC Junkie: Lifestyle of the Rich and Creepy: Robin Leach dating a “UFC Host”
  5. Touch Gloves: Kimbo Slice interview
  6. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette News: Martial arts mission – Matt Lee to fight on Friday
  7. Fox Sports (Dave Doyle): UFC scores TKO on its business rival
  8. The Long Beach Press-Telegram: More history for LA Coliseum – hallowed stadium to stage K-1 Dynamite

Topics: All Topics, IFL, Japan, K-1, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Pro Elite, UFC, Zach Arnold | 40 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

40 Responses to “Wacky Wednesday: Zuffa takes over the world”

  1. Xavier says:

    No offense, but this kind of conjecture really lowers your value as a commentator. There’s already news stories up talking about how they’ve been in negotiations for nine months with things heating up in January. Due diligence has already been performed.

    The company will be formed to take over the assets in April in order to make Pride 34 the last DSE event, not the first Zuffa event… after all, most of that card was put together well in advance of this deal being finalized. I don’t think they wanted crap like Butterbean being on their first Pride-promoted card. The idea that they would announce the purchase with the deal being hammered and then immediately take over everything is simply a ridiculous notion that flies in the face of common business sense. This is the transitionary period. Please stop clinging to the idea that you were right all along, that the deal will fall through and Zuffa doesn’t know how to conduct business.

    Most of this has already been reported online in various stories and reports.

  2. Harold says:

    yes, they just made that announcement without having any due diligince. its crazy but its better than admitting that you were wrong about that

  3. Zack says:

    Have you guys been following the Ortiz/Dana exibition fallout?


  4. white ninja says:


    so what the hell would you know??? Zach is exactly on the money with this.

    There are big differences between

    1. negotiating – which means bugger all
    2. coming to an agreement (which is of course legally binding, but is often subject to various conditions, like due diligence)
    3. closing the deal (paying the money and transferring assets)

    im sure that theyve come to an agreement, but the transaction is obviously not closed since Sakakiyakuza said that this would happen some time in April.

    A lot of shit can happen in a short time in MMA and business in general. This is especially true when you have a looming law suit from Ed Fishman in the background

    If something happens before closing of this deal – sakakiyakuza is going end up looking pretty damned stupid, and hes going to have a lot of explaining to do to his supposed yakuza bosses about why he agreed to announce this deal before the money moved

  5. Harold says:

    ed fishman just wants his money from a settlement and thats what hes going to get, i would want my money too if i worked for pride and they never paid me what they owed me

  6. white ninja says:

    with respect Harold, why would you know what ed fishman wants?

  7. Zack says:

    “with respect Harold, why would you know what ed fishman wants?”

    Well considering that he’s suing for a certain amount of money, that means if he gets the money, he drops is satisfied. Tune in sometime to the People’s Court. It’s on MyNetworkTV sometime before the IFL on Mondays.

  8. Body_Shots says:

    white ninja

    You believe that Lorenzo Ferititta announced the purchase of PRIDE’s assets along with the name of the new company it will be run under, only to go through the due diligence process now?

    That doesn’t seem ass backwards to you? Could it be possible that during the 11 months of talks that that matter was taking care of? It’s much, much more likely that this grace period is purely for transition.

  9. Xavier says:

    so what the hell would you know???

    I can read.

    Otherwise your response is typical of your responses on this blog. High on vitirol and hyperbole, low on substance. I was responding to Zach Arnold’s opinions, which I enjoy reading and commenting upon. I wasn’t responding to your opinions which, no offense, don’t matter to me. Please stay on topic and stop trying to flame bait people.

    Transitionary periods are very common in business.

  10. D. Capitated says:

    I find it fascinating that anyone would believe that after 11 months of admitted dealings and numerous interviews that there would still be discussion about whether or not a couple businessmen worth near a billion dollars would have done due diligence process and that the deal was still on shaky ground. They obviously aren’t going to be buying DSE stock and Sakakibara is still around too, so its time to get that stuff pushed out of the way. And for christs sake, when we start then next business week, it IS April.

  11. Xenos says:

    What D. Capitated said. Lorenzo (and Frank III as well, I’m sure he’s involved in this somehow) are veteran businessmen. They are both worth hundreds of millions of dollars and preside over a multi-billion dollar casino empire, not to mention the UFC and WEC (and now Pride). If anyone really things that they didn’t know exactly what they were doing when purchasing the company, they are fooling themselves. The Fertittas have done everything necessary to complete this transaction. They wouldn’t have held that press conference/PR op/whatever you’d like to call it without having everything solidly in place.

  12. Zach Arnold says:

    The trepidation should be towards the Japanese. I remember those grand promises to bring Sakuraba and Fujita to UFC. There was that spot with Wanderlei Silva appearing in the Octagon as well saying he wanted to face Chuck Liddell. That worked out real well in negotiations with DSE. 🙂

  13. sebastian says:

    There are still question marks aorund. They aren’t sure about the details of Fedor’s contract for instance.

    “Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer asked about the Fedor rumors. Lorenzo Fertitta said that Fedor is still signed to Pride but added the caveat that they’re “still trying to figure out the details of his deal.” Dana or Lorenzo then added that if Fedor wants to fight the best, he’ll stay in Pride. They did not sound 100 percent certain that Fedor can’t fight anywhere else.”

  14. Tomer Chen says:

    Considering that I’ve seen numerous examples of rather large transactions (multi billion) that ended up having the due dilligence done after any press conference/agreement announcment because of internal escrow agreements (IE: the purchaser had to give 40-50% of the amount due in escrow before they were allowed to examine the internal books of the purchasee), I can very well see a similar situation with DSE and the Fertitta brothers. It’s actually very common to have a ‘bad faith’ clause in the contract that basically says “If, within 90-120 days of the agreement being reached there is questionable records, documentation, etc. that is uncovered by the purchaser during a complete due dilligence, the money in escrow can be recovered and the contract will be terminated.”

  15. oOkami says:

    So does Inoki have any date set for a press conference or something about regarding the IGF?

  16. D.Capitated says:

    Seriously, is there any evidence apart from Fedor’s contract (or possible lack thereof) that any of what’s being discussed hasn’t been done? Or is the most empty of speculating? Because if we’re gonna speculate, I’m gonna side on the extremely conservative fashion in which the Fertittas have gone about acquiring PRIDE.

  17. aB says:

    The due dilligence already took place. Don’t use financial jargon if you don’t know what it means.

  18. Anyone look at the first link? Zuffa sues EliteXC. Looks like they’re trying to do the same thing they did to the IFL, or similar at least.

  19. JThue says:

    “He stated that the company will be formed in April to take on the PRIDE assets — meaning that the transaction itself hasn’t fully taken place in a legal sense.”

    — Zach… In the very last post on this site prior to this(not to mention many times a month for the past few years) you yourself basically point out that Saka’s words should not be taken as gospel, and now you’re not only believing what he says is 100% fact, but also drawing further conclusions based on those words(“this means…”). The same thing you did last week when an anonymous source peported to Maltzer on what Sakakibara said to the US office, without even a quote, and you decided the wording(which wasn’t even actual wording) equalled a legal term(“heads on agreement”).

    Some consistency would be nice.

    Anyone seen details on what exactly UFC are complaining about re: EXC?

  20. D.Capitated says:

    If their complaint is that EXC is using their name, then they’re in trouble because there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it, and they’ll end up with a lawsuit. If its over the ring (was it 8 sided?), then its possible they might have some grounds, because I remember that they have a trademark of some sort on that. That’s why you see other organizations like the old WEC or KOTC use 4, 5, 6, or 7 sided cages.

  21. JThue says:

    Okay, so I was wondering why the PRIDE US Site added Fujita vs. Monson but not Frye vs. Minowa yesterday. It’s still not up today. Meanwhile the JP site doesn’t list it either, but has Frye listed as possible participant. Minowa used to be in that list but is not listed anywhere now…

    Meanwhile, JAMES THOMPSON joins the possible fighters-list alongside Frye and Wanderlei.

    K-1 site’s coverage of the press conference made my mouth water. If the goal is to translate the audience draw-blueprint from the Japanese version they’ve done well so far. Just missing a Gold medalist 🙂 SIX FIGHTS? If that PPV is going to be three hours, this means trouble. There’s no way this is gonna be a night of long fights.

  22. […] Zuffa LLC (UFC) Suing EliteXC, SHOWTIME Posted by UFC Junkie on March 28, 2007 at 10:48 am ET In a collection of daily links appropriately entitled “Wacky Wednesday: Zuffa takes over the world,” had a link to a significant story that’s managed to somehow fly under the radar. […]

  23. TG says:

    IFL battle ground is complete chaos. 9 fights in 2 hours is too much. I love MMA and can’t watch the show. Its bad enough the owners have no control or desire to market MMA the proper way. For starters they could get some real music, the ILF gutiar riff is lame LA studio for me. Get dirty.Its arena league football for MMA.

    PS What you with going to wizard world conventions. WTF I heard the pres talking about how these guys are REAL superheros. OK buddy. You have no clue who watches MMA. Go back to your comics.

  24. 45 Huddle says:

    I have seen some people make way too much out of the Zuffa lawsuit against EliteXC.

    It is very standard business practice to sue a company for illegally using your content. A lot of times it isn’t even because they want to sue. It is because they have to sue. Zuffa has to show that they have pro actively gone after illegal content users. If they don’t, and a few years slips by, and then all of a sudden they sue, their case is much less strong.

  25. Rollo the Cat says:

    Wallid, Strikeforce, the UFC. Who hasn’t sued Elite XC yet. I always said i didn’t trust this group and thought they were bad for the sport.

  26. Rollo the Cat says:


    As for Batlleground, I mentioned before that the first six shows were written up in advance. I think what we are seeing now is the product of damage control. The seventh show is where we should see what the IFL is really planning.

  27. Allen says:

    “with respect Harold, why would you know what ed fishman wants?”

    With zero respect to you, how would you know what anyone wants, has done, or will be doing? You’re some Sherdog troll who can barely form a complete sentence, and acts as a parrot to Zach on the side.

  28. 45 Huddle says:

    Did anybody watch the Royce Gracie video on Sherdog? The guy still doesn’t get the evolution of the sport. He was complaining about rounds, yet he got beat within the first 5 minutes against Matt Hughes. He is today what the TMA Guys were 20 years ago.

  29. white ninja says:

    the informed posted on this site who think that the Fertittas have already “due diligence” are in for a big surprise. but dont let normal commercial dealings get in the way of your hopes and dreams

    the ferttitas and sakakiyakuza may have been negotiating since November (around the time that Mirko Crocop signed for Dana White) and during these “negotiations” you guys honestly think that sakakiyakuza showed them all his fighter contracts? just in the spirit of making mma a great sport

    watch and learn

  30. Either due diligence has already been done or the Fertittas are idiots. Everyone is so sure due diligence will uncover all sorts of shifty stuff. I have no doubt that the books were a mess … considering Pride is famous for paying with cash. But i very much doubt that any trace of the yakuza are gonna show up in the books or anywhere on paper.

  31. white ninja says:

    fightlinker – why would the fertittas be idiots? I would say its the opposite.

    humour me for a second and consider the situation that DD is not done. If the ferttitas found some problem (for example, Fedor is not signed, contracts are not transferable, yakuza problems etc) and they then pulled out of the acquisition. Why would this make the fertittas idiots? it happens in business every day

    i would say that on the contrary – the ferttitas are very smart people. they have no risk – if they find problems in dd and pull out of the deal, who would suffer? it wont be the ferttitas trust me

  32. Body_Shots says:

    fightlinker – why would the fertittas be idiots? I would say its the opposite.

    You don’t see how they’d look like idiots for announcing the purchase and then pulling out of the deal? Especially with amount of coverage it garnered.

    There’s way too much evidence, anecdotal and otherwise that suggests the deal has been completed. I don’t believe they’ve fully transfered the assests or that the new company is fully functional. However, I do find it hard to believe that the Ferititta bros haven’t done DD, I might be in the minority but I think this deal was done for months, atleast in principle.

  33. iain says:

    I want to highlight the fact that white ninja takes the time to spell out sakakiyakuza on each post. The boy likes his hateorade.

  34. The Gaijin says:

    Not to say one way or another…but I hope you realize that “business wise”, April begins on Monday. I’m going to go OUT ON A LIMB and hazard to say that, if they made a huge press conference that has massive coverage and have said at that presser that the transfer will take place in APRIL as well as claiming the negotiations have been ongoing for months (and due diligence began in January) – that the deal is all but completely signed, sealed and delivered.

    Time to stop clinging onto the last vestiges of claiming you’re right…

  35. white ninja says:

    body shots-

    so if they came out and said “weve found a problem with legal issues in the acquisition” and pulled out, you think that would make them idiots? it happens every day of the year in the business world

    it seems that the main difference between you and i is how to define “completed”

    when i talk about completion, i mean the actual transfer of assets and payment of money – not the signing of the deal. i have no doubt that theyve signed a deal. but it is clear that assets (and the payment for those assets) has not occurred just yet

  36. Body_Shots says:

    it seems that the main difference between you and i is how to define “completed”

    Not really, I think where we differ is that you don’t believe they’ve done DD, and I do.

  37. white ninja says:

    body shots –

    you actually believe that DSE showed their main fighter contracts to their biggest competitor before they signed a deal????

  38. DarthMolen says:

    Umm. I got into an argument with my wife because “Wildfire” comes on at the same time as IFL Battleground…. and I lost.

    So next week I will watch Battleground. I saw #2 and although some of the fights were heavily edited, I loved watching the wall-to-wall fighting. It gives me a good flavor of all the fighters in the league. More of a high overhead view.

    The FSN show that comes on at 11:00 on Fridays is a little less frenetic.

  39. Allen says:

    Remember the time white ninja got banned for being such a savage troll on Sherdog? Seriously guys, quit feeding the little bridge dweller and just let him die.


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