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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

Friday notes: UFC’s plans for PRIDE

By Zach Arnold | April 26, 2007

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Sherdog.com to provide content for ESPN.

An update on Operation Cleanup 3.

IFL 6/16 Las Vegas event poster. Vernon “Tiger” White vs. Mike Whitehead a top match on the show.

Here is this week’s edition of the Fox Fight Game.

Just asking…

Take a look at this (specifically the picture promoting the Hustle House 5/9 Korakuen Hall show). Does it look familiar? Well, some of it should. The photo was taken at the DSE office in Aoyama, Tokyo (like all past Hustle photos generally have for media angles).

The same DSE office that will likely be kept when Zuffa takes over PRIDE on May 1st.

The same DSE office that Hustle Entertainment (which is publicly listed as separate from DSE) is using to promote shows in May.

Huh.

A fantastic write-up by Gryphon about Dana White’s latest interview in Gong Kakutougi. I don’t even know where to start in regards to some of the ideas UFC has for implementing changes to the Japanese MMA scene. Other than “good luck,” I suppose.

Missing the point

Dave Doyle of Fox Sports tries to defend Zuffa LLC against the media coverage of there being no drug testing at the UFC 69 (Texas) and UFC 70 (Manchester) events. When you read Doyle’s defense of UFC, he tries to make a technical argument but entirely misses the big picture. I’ll elaborate in a separate post later on this topic. However, let me encourage everyone to read my short reply from yesterday as to why you should care about this story.

The problem I fear is that much like the yakuza scandal that destroyed PRIDE, the hardcore MMA fans will not understand why the (non) drug-testing development has so much — pardon the pun — juice to the story. This story means a lot more to the casual sports fan and general sports audience that UFC is trying to reach than it does to hardcore MMA fans who think the world revolves around their viewpoint every single day.

The way the general Japanese public reacted to the yakuza scandal story was entirely different than how the hardcore MMA fans reacted. There was a perception imbalance on that story and I suspect there’s a perception imbalance to the story written by Steve Sievert as well.

Onto today’s headlines.

  1. The Associated Press: Pursuing dreams, cage and classroom (article about Andy Wang – who lost in his Ultimate Fighter fight last night)
  2. Time Magazine: Will the De La Hoya-Mayweather Fight Save Boxing?
  3. MMA HQ: Is parity good for MMA?
  4. Fight Report: IFL MyNetworkTV Monday Night preview
  5. Seconds Out: Boxer Fransisco Bojado training with Diego Sanchez
  6. Tim Leidecker: Who is the next Joachim Hansen?
  7. The Oregonian: MMA notebook – area promotion set for event in Pendleton
  8. The Washington Times: Boxing match puts Armory back in the ring
  9. Boxing Scene: Floyd Mayweather Sr. walks away from May 5th fight
  10. The Medford Mail Tribune: Ex-SOU star wrestler Cole makes big strides as a MMA fighter in the IFL
  11. Lay and Pray: Machida vs. Heath – the fight they didn’t want you to see
  12. Bloody Elbow: Nick Diaz on MMA judging
  13. The Chicago Sun Times: This Pit bull (Arlovski) doesn’t always go for the kill
  14. CBS Sportsline: Former teacher Gerald Harris a quick study as MMA newcomer
  15. The Grand Rapids Press: MMA fighting law
  16. MMA Insider: Weekly MMA digest
  17. New York Newsday: Steve Austin likes UFC
  18. UFC Junkie: Full-Time Fighter – Sean Salmon readers for UFC 71

Topics: Boxing, IFL, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Pro-Wrestling, UFC, Zach Arnold | 27 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

27 Responses to “Friday notes: UFC’s plans for PRIDE”

  1. Grape Knee High says:

    Zach, I read your comment yesterday, and I still do not see why the drug testing is a big deal. So what, this goes against the Zuffa myth? And sure, Dana said they would be testing for 70 and they didn’t. Has Dana White not lied before? Has not the NJAC come out publicly and outed Zuffa myth? Yes, they did. And what happened? NOTHING.

    Why does it not matter? Because it will not affect the bottom line, which is TV viewership and PPV sales. It will not affect them at all. Not one bit. People will forget this ever happened in about….3 or 4 days.

  2. Zach Arnold says:

    A major part of UFC’s push in the media has been explicitly stating that they cleaned up the sport and that drug testing was a part of it.

    Now, if UFC had never done drug testing and maintained consistency, then it is what it is.

    However, UFC can’t have their cake and eat it too on the issue of drug testing. If they want to push this aspect hard in the media, then they have to be prepared to step up when commissions (like Texas) won’t.

    UFC’s biggest argument against having a boxing-style sanctioning body is that they are self-policing and run everything cleanly. In this case, they dropped the ball. The only thing worse than knowing about them not doing drug testing is if they hid it from the public. If it wasn’t for Steve Sievert, we wouldn’t have known about this story.

    I agree with you that fans don’t particularly care about the issue of drug testing (see: baseball, pro-wrestling, etc.) With that stated, people are hypocrites about guys like Barry Bonds and not others (another topic for another day). The issue here with UFC is one of credibility. They wanted to make inroads with the mainstream media and one of the things they emphasized so often was drug testing and how UFC cleaned up the sport. With the Texas and Manchester commissions apparently not doing their job, the impetus was placed on UFC to do something about the situation. They played it easy rather than safe.

  3. I gotta agree with Zach … mainstream press is hot on steroid scandals right now … this story could pick up steam and i’m sure you’re gonna see it addressed by Dana White the next time he speaks to a major outlet.

  4. Grape Knee High says:

    I agree with you, Zach, that this is an issue of credibility. But I don’t think the UFC under Zuffa has ever really had any. 🙂 As much as I respect Zuffa for their business acumen, Dana White oozes snake oil through and through.

    I think if the UFC were to become one of the major sports in the future, it might be an issue, especially if they start getting big money TV deals like the NFL/NBA/MLB/NASCAR. Of course, network TV would care about this. However, it is not a “major sport” right now and the majority of their revenue is driven by PPVs.

    So unless PPV companies start dropping them for not testing, I don’t see how this will affect their revenue stream. The worst case is that people wonder why they’re not testing and the UFC responds: “This is still a sport in its infancy. We’re working with local officials to set up a proper commission and oversight for mandated drug testing.” Voila. Problem solved.

  5. Diamond Dave Williams says:

    Zach, I will agree with you on this point. If the UFC is going to beat itself on the chest and proclaim to be the Ultimate Organization, they have to put their money where their mouth is.
    What is slowly starting to happen with the UFC and other promotors who want to fully control the sport, is the credibility of the organization taking hits.
    This in turn will eventually lead to the fighters taking control of their careers and breaking away from any one organization. Fighters such as Fedor, Matt Lindland, Jeff Monson and others are building solid careers fighting for themselves rather than being pigeonholed by just one organization or promotor.
    Dana White, keep putting on the facade that you are the keeper of the sport. Please continue to push to make the sport more main stream. Please keep trying to impress the less educated in the sport with your misleadings on how you alone are responsible for the sports evolution.
    You will help make the sport mainstream, soon the fighters not the organization will be the pinacle of the game.
    Some day the best will be fighting the best, with the fighter reaping the benefits.
    What the sport needs now is the legitimate state athletic councils regulating the drug testing, one legitimate competant source to organize a top 25 fighter list in each weight class and an open group of promotors that could manage fighters to create a true World Champion in each weight class.

  6. The Citizen says:

    Fightopinion has become the best source for MMA news for me because of old-school style reporting. Thank you very much Zack and the FO crew for keeping this site going and reporting how you do. This latest incarnation of MMA has left me unsettled — the world that Dana built. Thanks for the Machida link — that fight, even with dead spots had more action then every bout on that card. (not counting the main event)

  7. Body_Shots says:

    I don’t think it hurts them now, not one bit, but it’s definetly a liability in the future, especially if they’re able to successfully promote in Europe and Japan.

    Do I think they’re avoiding drug testing? Absolutely not, it’s probably more complicated than it seems. But they’re definetly going to have to do something about this going forward.

  8. Zurich says:

    Some whitebread in-house lawyer for Zuffa is going to be president of PRIDE FC WW in Japan?? Uhh… I suppose they can argue that having a lawyer in charge would keep their business practices legit, but….

  9. Zack says:

    Zach…the Fishman/Big Names article was great.

  10. Grape Knee High says:

    Why was it great? Because 99% of Zach’s hypothetical questions have no relevance at all — zero, zilch, nada — to the breach of contract lawsuit? It’s just more muckraking, as usual.

    None of these questions will ever come up over the course of the lawsuit. None. It’ll be shocking if this lawsuit ever even makes it to court.

  11. Royal B. says:

    Sherdog helping ESPN.

    Isn’t that like the blind being helped by the blindfolded?

  12. Matt Boone says:

    We got a new Tito Ortiz interview up at http://www.mmanews.com RSS feed link I believe is http://www.mmanews.com/rss.xml

    He goes in-depth on the ‘nappy headed ho’ comment, fighting for PRIDE now that Zuffa owns it, moving up to Heavyweight and more. Part two of the interview will be out tomorrow (4/28) afternoon.

  13. Zach Arnold says:

    The lawsuit’s already in court. DSE filed a motion to dismiss and that hearing is set for May 17th. It’s unlikely that it will get dismissed (in my opinion).

    Muckraking… ‘sensationalist scandal-mongering journalist’ – why I’ve never heard of that before…

  14. Shane Carter says:

    I think it’s pretty funny how Zach has disabled comments for rant on the whole Fishman/DSE lawsuit. Afraid to get negative feedback or just a simple mistake?

    I think congratulations are in order for the guys over at Sherdog in inking a deal with ESPN. I personally think that Zack is bitter about the whole thing. In reality, they couldn’t have selected anyone else with the exception of maybe MMA Weekly or The Fight Network. The deal is going to be similar to what ESPN and MaxBoxing do with ESPN’s boxing page.

    I also think that the comments Zack made about Sherdog on the radio show were pretty out of line too. First off he’s lying out of his ass about Josh Gross saying anything close to Bodog telling him that they didn’t want him posting the results while they happened. He also mentioned that they didn’t do it for the PRIDE show because PRIDE wouldn’t permit it and that Bodog didn’t say anything of the sort so they were going to go ahead and post the results despite the protest of many listeners.

    What big time stories have Sherdog failed to cover over the past year or two Zack? I’d love to know. I also don’t want hear to the PRIDE/DSE lawsuit as your main answer because frankly it’s a bunch of crap. It’s pretty obvious that the entire thing is going to be settled out of court or dismissed and you are just wasting your time since you dislike the UFC and have some kind of personal vendetta against Zuffa and those that sold PRIDE to them. Also did it ever occur to you that you could yourself in quite the hole by talking so freely about the lawsuit? Just something to think about…

    I hate to completely rip on you here but sometimes the other side of the story needs to be heard…

  15. Zach Arnold says:

    I think it’s pretty funny how Zach has disabled comments for rant on the whole Fishman/DSE lawsuit. Afraid to get negative feedback or just a simple mistake?

    If I write a Fight Opinion Weekly column or I write a major piece, I generally leave comments off (the default) and allow comments on multiple posts in the daily news link updates. Like now.

    I think congratulations are in order for the guys over at Sherdog in inking a deal with ESPN. I personally think that Zack is bitter about the whole thing.

    I didn’t really put a lot of thought into it. Again, I’m mixed about it. On one hand, you can make a valid argument for why ESPN did the content distribution deal. On the other hand, Sherdog faces the same question that I ask of other English MMA media sites – when the chips are down and you have a down-and-dirty story (like the PRIDE yakuza scandal story), can you trust it to be covered fully? It’s a fair question to ask.

    I also think that the comments Zack made about Sherdog on the radio show were pretty out of line too. First off he’s lying out of his ass about Josh Gross saying anything close to Bodog telling him that they didn’t want him posting the results while they happened.

    That’s false – go listen to the Beatdown show the week before the BodogFight event. Gross specifically states that BodogFight asked him about not posting results live from the show due to that show being aired on tape-delay on US PPV.

    What big time stories have Sherdog failed to cover over the past year or two Zack? I’d love to know.

    Stephen Martinez a few days after the fact did a short write-up about DSE losing its Fuji TV – despite the fact that it was headline news when it happened in the press. The PRIDE presser a few days afterward got another article. And that really was the extent of it (along with consideration about whether SkyPerfecTV PPV would keep DSE onboard). The coverage of the whole yakuza scandal was piss-poor on the major English MMA sites. Trying to defend the sites on that issue is a mistake.

    I suspect that if Jordan Breen was on the Sherdog staff during the time of the scandal that the coverage would have been greatly improved.

    I also don’t want hear to the PRIDE/DSE lawsuit as your main answer because frankly it’s a bunch of crap. It’s pretty obvious that the entire thing is going to be settled out of court or dismissed and you are just wasting your time since you dislike the UFC and have some kind of personal vendetta against Zuffa and those that sold PRIDE to them. Also did it ever occur to you that you could yourself in quite the hole by talking so freely about the lawsuit? Just something to think about…

    I hate to completely rip on you here but sometimes the other side of the story needs to be heard…

    I’ve been very clear about information on the Fishman Companies vs. DSE Inc. lawsuit, especially when information is publicly available. The case number is 07-A-537910C if you are interested. Feel free to look it up.

    I have a personal vendetta against UFC. Right… just like last year I was told that I must have been working for Zuffa when I did the articles covering the negative press PRIDE was getting.

    *sigh*

  16. Rollo the Cat says:

    “First off he’s lying out of his ass about Josh Gross saying anything close to Bodog telling him that they didn’t want him posting the results while they happened. He also mentioned that they didn’t do it for the PRIDE show because PRIDE wouldn’t permit it and that Bodog didn’t say anything of the sort so they were going to go ahead and post the results despite the protest of many listeners.”

    One of the few shows from Sherdog I caught was that one. He did say it. I remember being a little surprised at the time.

  17. Zack says:

    This Zack is not Zach Arnold. To avoid future confusion I’ll start posting under my internerd name JimmersonzGlove.

  18. Body_Shots says:

    The lawsuit’s already in court. DSE filed a motion to dismiss and that hearing is set for May 17th. It’s unlikely that it will get dismissed (in my opinion).

    Probably won’t be dimissed, but I do expect it to be settled.

  19. Grape Knee High says:

    Thanks, Body_Shots.

    Zach, of course, technically the lawsuit has been filed. But you know very well that I was saying that it would be settled before ever being heard by a judge. No reason the lawsuit should get dismissed; it sounds like Fishman’s case has merit.

  20. PizzaChef says:

    Don’t worry about Sherdog on ESPN Zach. Jordan will keep everyone in check. Or spam the ESPN main page. Which I WANT to see for kicks, lolz.

  21. 45 Huddle says:

    As for Sherdog and ESPN….

    Sherdog is the same website that has yet to mention the IFL’s financial woes. Not one mention of the recent 10-K as an article or on their radio shows. Honestly, that is horrible reporting.

  22. 45 Huddle says:

    Not to mention that when callers ask Josh Gross a question on the radio show, more then half the time he has a “I don’t know” answer. What kind of reporter is that? In comparison, Dave Meltzer typically knows the answer to the major of questions fielded to him on his radio show. It really is comical. Especially when a guy like Meltzer has the answers to the majority of Gross’s missed ones. I have never seen a website take such pride in being “journalists”, and then completely lack any major characteristic that would qualify them as one.

  23. Jordan Breen says:

    Are we supposed to be shocked that Steve Austin likes the UFC?

    Also, just on Leidecker’s article, Drwal/Rupponen is some exciting shit. Hopefully the winner of that bout goes on to bigger and better things, cause they’ll have definitely earned a ticket out of regional European shows.

  24. According to rumors on a Finnish MMA messageboard, Rupponen has (once again) hurt his hand in work (construction site) and the earliest he can fight again is July. 🙁

  25. Jordan Breen says:

    “According to rumors on a Finnish MMA messageboard, Rupponen has (once again) hurt his hand in work (construction site) and the earliest he can fight again is July.”

    Time for Drwal to stomp on some hapless German or something.

    Seriously, Rea and Rupponen both out. There’s no one left on that level for him to really fight other than Zawada, who I think he’d shit kick.

  26. […] do business in as Dream Stage Entertainment did in the past. This isn’t the first time that it has been noticed since Zuffa LLC reached an agreement for the PRIDE asset sale with Dream Stage […]

  27. […] the Japanese offices is hilarious because as we pointed out on this site in the last few months, DSE staffers were using the same Japanese offices to promote Hustle events. Hustle, as in the Japanese […]

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