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« | Home | »

Friday fence grabbing: The new PRIDE

By Zach Arnold | March 30, 2007

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Humorless, nutty, and screwed by the mainstream media — a description of UFC fans.

Ed. — The default setting is comments off. I just turned them on now. Sorry.

  1. Mad Squabbles: Cage Rage and Sky TV
  2. The San Mateo County Times (California): Pacifica fighters to mix it up in ‘ultimate’ weekend event
  3. The Chicago Sun Times: Fan Favorite Andrei Arlovski in position for upswing
  4. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Frank Trigg and Robbie Lawler mix it up
  5. Here is some more video from PJ (Public Journalist – Japanese) of the DSE press conference on Tuesday at Roppongi Hills Arena in Tokyo.
  6. MMA Weekly: Cage Rage coming to American TV
  7. The Helena Independent Record (Montana): Helena Havoc 2 MMA show tonight
  8. Variety: HBO looking outside the boxing ring, network negotiating with UFC
  9. The Oregonian: MMA Network – How the UFC/PRIDE merger will change the sport
  10. PR.com: Fight Sponsor interviews Alessio Sakara
  11. The Corvallis Gazette Times: Pacific Coast Cage Fights event this Saturday
  12. Royal Burnell: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (discussing PRIDE)
  13. Mad Squabbles: BodogFight marches on
  14. The Baltimore Sun (Pramit Mohapatra): Thoughts on K-1’s Dynamite USA joint MMA event
  15. UFC HP: Mike Swick in the midst of the Middleweight mix
  16. UFC Mania: Sakakibara – UFC Lightweights will fight in PRIDE 2007 tournament

Topics: All Topics, BoDog, HERO's, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Pro Elite, UFC, UK, Zach Arnold | 23 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

23 Responses to “Friday fence grabbing: The new PRIDE”

  1. DarthMolen says:

    First! J/k.

    RoyalB has a very good point. I really liked the yellow card system that was in place in PRIDE.

    UFC needs to be aware that the Japanese are connoisseur’s of MMA. MMA went mainstream there a long time ago so they have a much more highly evolved sense of what’s good fighting and what’s not.

    Start feeding them lay-n-pray and crap like that and you are guaranteed that K-1 Hero’s will be highly successful

  2. D. Capitated says:

    UFC needs to be aware that the Japanese are connoisseur’s of MMA.

    This is the dumbest myth that people continue to claim. Shooto is as popular as any of the B-shows and lacks elbows, soccer kicks, and knees in 4 point. It even has a 10 count rule for strike based knockdowns. K-1 toppled PRIDE’s Japanese supremacy with some absolutely reeking and nearly unwatchable events and freak shows by the train load. Mark Kerr was the biggest “gaijin” draw there in the early days of PRIDE, and he is the very definition of a lay and pray fighter. Good lord, what is wrong with people?

  3. ukiro says:

    Yeah, someone needs to do a proper interview with the Fertittas and/or someone else “on the inside” to once and for all get the full details on the rule situation. There’s talk on Sherdog (I know I know, not exactly the most reliable of sources) that the old pride rules will be in effect for the LW elimination tourney, while other interviews keep bringing up the unification of the rule set.

  4. Canson says:

    If the Japanese are connoisseurs of MMA as you say, then they should prefer the legitimacy of the fighters in Pride to the predominantly freak show matches of Heroes.

  5. Grape Knee High says:

    ukiro:

    I think it’s 100% guaranteed that PRIDE will now use the unified ruleset. White and Fertitta were pretty clear on this in their conference call (which Zach linked to yesterday). The Sherdog rumors stem from a friend/training partner of Yves Edwards who says that Yves told him that the old PRIDE rules would be used.

    DarthMolen:

    Are there really that many Japanese fight fans clamoring for stomps and soccer kicks? (Honest question here, not being sarcastic since I don’t know.) What I do know is that PRIDE is the only Japanese org currently that allows these “four point attacks”, and that when PRIDE first became popular under Sakuraba’s reign they didn’t allow them. I don’t think the ruleset will become a major hindrance to success because I suspect casual fans don’t know or care about this issue. PRIDE has bigger issues like getting back on TV. I can’t see it lasting very long without one.

  6. JOSH says:

    Canson and DarthMolen both have a point. While the Japanese have IMo a more respectable view on MMA (connoisseurs of MMA is a bit over doing it) they DO love their freak shows (ie Akebono, Bob Sapp, Giant Silva, etc etc) especially when their japanese fighters are the ones fighting the freakshows (ie Minowa, Saku and to a lesser extent Yoshida…poor poor Yoshida). I think HEROs fills a good niche in that they run the K-1 formula of mixing legitmate fighters with freak shows (HOPEFULLY though with HEROs they will slowly start fading out their freaks liek they did with K-1).

    I am VERY curious to see how the LW GP plays out this year ESPECIALLy considering its now being fought at 155lbs. Granted its only a five lb difference but to guys like Mach and Gomi that five pounds can be a problem. I am also curious to see who from UFC will be sent over, would love to see Tyson Griffin prove his worth as well as guys like Stevenson and Guillard.

  7. Kev says:

    Have they announced any details about the LWGP at all? All I’ve heard is that Dana said they haven’t really though much about tournaments in Japan (as in, they’re open to them but not done much thinking about it) and that another source said UFC fighters will participate.

    As for lay and pray, have you watched any of the early PRIDE events Darth? Japanese audiences are rather patient, they’ll tolerate it quite dutifully, albeit of course they have their limits. It’s ironic that it’s the Americans that tolerate it much less but have the rules that are more friendly toward it.

  8. The question is: With the new divisions, are Mach and Gomi even going to stick around in LW? Wouldn’t it make sense to have Gomi move up to WW and take the belt with him, and the LW tournament is directly for the new LW belt? All of the competitors that Gomi wants to fight in the UFC are WW fighters anyways.

  9. MMA Game says:

    Hello FO peeps… I posted it on their blog too but that Cage Rage post at the top is really inaccurate, so I might as well post “the truth” in here too for any of you who’ve read it 🙂

    1. Sky Sports isn’t free on Virgin media, it’s about $40-50 a MONTH – just for the sports channels. I think it’s possible that 1 in 3 homes has some form of satellite TV / Sky, but I don’t believe for one minute that 1 in 3 have Sky Sports – it is very expensive.

    2. UFC undoubtedly already has more brand awareness than Cage Rage in the UK.

    UFC has quite a strong non-mainstream brand awareness – surprisingly so actually. As a complete MMA fanatic and someone who runs an MMA site from the UK, I constantly try and talk to people about it. Nobody knows “MMA” but maybe 50% of people will know “UFC” or “ultimate fighting”.

    It’s a great spin by the Cage Rage guys to say they are a brand leader but they aren’t. What they have got is a bit of brand loyalty by being the first in the market. For a local promotion (they only ever stage shows in London), they have a great deal of brand awareness amongst MMA fans but so do the UFC… and the UFC transcends that into non-MMA fans, whereas Cage Rage doesn’t.

    3. The UFC would never do a deal with Virgin Media because
    A. it’s not actually possible
    B. It would be an awful idea from the UFC’s point of view and would only benefit Virgin.

    Virgin don’t even have any of their own channels! They are just a medium to watch other broadcaster’s channels. I have Virgin. It is absolute crap. As I say, they don’t have ANY channels you can’t see on Sky and Sky have a number of channels you can’t get on Virgin, including “TWC” and “Player” which both show a lot of MMA programming.

    The only reason anyone is with Virgin is because they offer a cheap package of TV, phone and internet all in one and people get locked in and lazy. Virgin needs to do something like sign an exclusive deal with the UFC but Virgin would offer nothing for the UFC because…..

    4. The UFC DOES actually already have a good TV deal in the UK, with our equivalent of Spike TV (Bravo).

    Bravo is a FREE cable channel, which you can get for on Virgin, Sky and also I believe on freeview. I don’t know if you have freeview over there but it’s basically a set-top-box which you can buy for $50 from any supermarket and you get another 30 or so free channels, without the need for cable or satellite.

    The UFC is on EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for an hour at least on Bravo. Bravo is far more readily available and is in far more homes than Sky Sports.

    Best comparison, Sky = Showtime, Bravo = Spike TV. So, which is going to garner more brand awareness??? 99% of people credit the UFC getting on Spike as the reason this sport has gone nuts in recent years, so I think they’re OK where they are to be honest. Long term I’m sure Sky would bring more legitimacy but it is far from essential.

    5. Just an additional point. As well as Sky Sports, Cage Rage do have other programming but this is only available on Sky and not on Virgin or on freeview. As I don’t have Sky, I can’t really comment how good it is. I believe it is on TWC.

  10. Just to quickly respond to MMA Game,

    1. I know for a fact Sky is in out of every 3 British homes. I did the research myself.

    I also never said Sky Sports was free, I said it was accessible for a fee. And the 40 to 50 a month is based only on particular packages you subscribe to.

    2. I’m not sure you’ve offered any real evidence that Cage Rage has more brand awareness. But the truth is I believe it’s probably true and said so already. Fans know who the top fighters are and where they fight.

    3. I don’t think the UFC would do a deal with Virgin either, I was simply toying with the intellectual possibility. Its possible they could arrange some sort of VOD package, but even then I don’t think that’s likely. They’re also hemorraging customers with the loss of Sky channels.

    4. I don’t have the numbers on the reach of Bravo or the ratings for UFC shows there, but if what you say is true, then I’m sure they wouldn’t be on every night if they were doing poorly.

    However, before I believe that Bravo is in more homes than Sky, I’d have to see the numbers.

  11. Zack says:

    You can watch the Icon – Trigg vs Lawler card for free tomorrow night @:

    proelite.com

    Pretty cool.

  12. Preach says:

    Squabbles: Bravo is in more homes than Sky, due to it being available on freeview as well as Virgin and Sky packages.

    But now some real news:

    The History Channel goes MMA

    The History Channel announced some new shows that will be premiering this fall, and among them is a show revolving around MMA (more or less):

    “HUMAN WEAPON”
    Each of the martial arts — whether Karate, Capoeira, Muay Thai, Kung
    Fu, or Greco-Roman wrestling — is the unique product of a fascinating
    culture. Each is steeped in the history and mythology of a region. And each
    has a Master. Every week on Human Weapon, our hosts, Jason Chambers, a mixed martial artist and professional fighter, and Bill Duff, a former
    football player and wrestler, go on a quest to find the master of a
    different martial art. They venture to extreme and exotic places — one
    week, seedy back streets of Bangkok to find Master Muay Thai fighter Suriya Ploenchit, and the next, sampling local delicacies such as steamed
    silkworms and snake blood en route to face off with the reigning Taekwondo champion in South Korea. Along the way they absorb a nation’s unique history and traditions, and how it gave birth to its distinct form of
    combat. In a series of extreme tests, they must confront professionals in
    each fighting style and fight a master. Marc Etkind is The History Channel
    Executive Producer. (13 episodes).

    And just to show how much the UFC has entered the minds of the mainstream media, here’s the description to another show that’s coming to THC:

    JURASSIC FIGHT CLUB
    They were the ultimate fighters — prehistoric beasts who walked the
    earth millions of years ago. With cunning and strategy, they hunted their
    prey — transforming the prehistoric world into a battlefield. Today,
    archaeologists are uncovering these battlefields — and are gaining
    startling new insight into how quick thinking, maneuverability, and
    striking at the exact moment separated the weak from the strong. Blow by
    blow, each episode will dissect these battles, uncovering a predatory world
    far more calculated and complex than we originally thought. Episodes of
    Jurassic Fight Club will include Gang Killers, T-Rex Hunters, Deep-Sea
    Dinosaurs, and Armored Predators. Dolores Gavin is The History Channel
    Executive Producer. (10 episodes).

  13. JThue says:

    Hmm, I hadn’t read this anywhere, and it sure caught me by surprise when I saw it: JEFF BLATNICK did color for the Art of War I show on HDNet. What exactly happened when he left UFC, and why, if he’s willing, hasn’t he shown up anywhere else?

  14. Jeff Blatnick in High Definition? That’s terrifying.

  15. Preach says:

    JT, since leaving the UFC, Jeff has worked as a commentator for WEC (alongside the late Ryan Bennett), X-2, and did the commentary for the wrestling broadcasts at the Olympics. He’s mostly working as a motivational speaker nowadays

  16. Preach says:

    Fightlinker: Hey, it could be worse. Imagine Bill “Superfoot” Wallace – in HD and Dolby Digital 5.1 !

    BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRPPPPP!

  17. 45 Huddle says:

    I would love to see Jeff Blatnick as either the announcer of the WEC or Pride.

  18. JThue says:

    Thanks for the info, Preach! Been watching all UFC’s and PRIDE’s chronologically over the past year(I’m up to late 2002 now), and really missed Blatnick when he disappeared, not least compared to freaking Rogan. Hope to see him back on a bigger scene.

  19. MMA Game says:

    Squabbles,

    First off, sorry about the first point, I misread that one. (the free / fee thing).

    Regarding brand awareness, UFC > Cage Rage, there is absolutely no question about that. The only place it might be close is in London (where Cage Rage have all their shows) but I don’t live there so I can’t comment.

    As for how I’ve formulated this opinion…

    – I train in this country in martial arts and have guaged opinion from people I’ve trained with. Trust me, very few people know Cage Rage whereas everyone and I mean everyone knows the UFC.

    – I talk to people who have nothing to do with MMA and who don’t even know what MMA is but maybe 50% still know of the UFC.

    – UFC has simply been around for longer and people have come across it in many different ways, be it the old school UFC videos or whether it be from it appearing on the TV show Friends…

    It just has more awareness. As I say, Cage Rage is only based in London and has only very recently (in the last 12 months), started really pushing its advertising beyond the capital.

    I agreed that 1/3 of homes would have Sky, just not Sky Sports.

    With that said, being on Sky Sports isn’t really as amazing a deal as it would appear from those stats. It’s a good deal and a great coup for Cage Rage – it will undoubtedly help them.

    However, it doesn’t get them mass advertising or exposure. Sky Sports has more important things to advertise than Cage Rage, I can assure you of that. Sky pays like a billion dollars over 5 years (that isn’t a joke), for Premiership coverage, so they advertise the hell out of that and don’t leave a whole lot of space for other stuff.

    On the other hand the UFC is basically Bravo’s flagship programming… Much like it was on Spike. They push the hell out of it!

    As I say, being on Sky Sports is much like being on Showtime although it’s not quite as effective as Showtime, I wouldnt have thought. While Sky Sports does show some boxing, it’s more of a soccer channel, so it isn’t actually as targetted as Showtime, towards an combat sports audience.

    Sky Sports = kudos
    Bravo = effective

    Incidentally Cage Rage has been on Sky Sports for ages… maybe a couple of years in fact. They have had an hour long HL of their shows shown about a week after the event for some time – this deal must just be a better one… I don’t actually know the details of it to be honest.

    I didn’t want to piss on your chips or anything bud, but I thought you might like to know the perspective of someone who’s in the thick of it, over here in the UK.

  20. Rollo the Cat says:

    I am happy. Apaprently Bodog is not part of the Unholy Alliance with Elite XC. So says the press release form Bodog. Thye do have an agreement with Pancrase, which is a godd thing, imo.

    http://boutreviewusa.com/FightNews/bodog/033007.html

  21. Rohan says:

    Afternoon all. A couple of points on Cage Rage.

    The Sky Sports 3 live show is a big deal for MMA in the UK. It certainly doesn’t make them a brand leader and indeed I fear the deal might be a bad thing for Cage Rage themselves. Given their essential product is TV, attendence and merchandise based on about 5 shows a year I hope they are getting well paid for the show itself because I can’t see it helping attendence. I have been twice and it being on Sky Sports (which I have) is a big disincentive to head across london for Pride style stunt booking headlines. The highlights shows they have previously aired on Sky Sports didn’t compromise this.

    Bravo is on sky, cable but not freeview. That means it is available in around a third of homes.

    I agree wholeheartadly on the points MMA game made on brand awareness.

    I disagree on whether Sky will promote Cage Rage on the 21st – they will because it has the potential to be a WWF (circa 88) size spoiler for the UFC PPV going head to head. The UFC PPV is on Setana Sports which is making a power play in the UK on sports rights. Sky has lost US tour golf (don’t laugh), FA Cup football and a package of Premiership football games to them in the last few months. Watch out for a Murdoch style attack on Setana on the MMA PPV front. however don’t expect them to be too interested spoiling Bravo’s UFC coverage of US PPVs – not a threat but they may well bid when the contract comes up. Anyone know when that is?

    So the picture is mixed for Cage Rage.

  22. MMA Game says:

    I think Bravo recently renewed the UFC contract.

    I looked up the TV figures for UFC68 and it did a “64”…. anyone have any ideas what that means?

    I agree with what you say about Cage Rage attendances but I think if they keep ticket prices reasonable they should still do well.

  23. Rohan says:

    As an economist i disagree on the ticket price argunement (hey I agreed with load you said!).On the ratings front 64 means nothing in the UK – I used to subscribe to hour by hour breakdown. Essentially it’s broken down by 50,000 viewers because that’s what barb ratings equal one viewer. I think ian hamilton reported 200,000 for a number of UFC PPVs

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