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Report: Takanori Gomi headed to HERO’s

By Zach Arnold | July 25, 2007

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So sayeth Daily News in Japan. An offer made and an offer likely to be accepted. Gomi and Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto are expected to appear at an All Japan Beach-Wrestling contest on the 29th. That ends any discussion of Gomi heading to UFC.

A couple of days ago, I alluded to an upcoming interview in GONKAKU magazine with Dana White (where he was talking about the future of PRIDE). Well, according to Dana in another interview (with Kamipro), he is frustrated with the negotiations he has had so far with Japanese television stations about getting PRIDE on free-to-air TV. White says he’s frustrated that he can’t get PRIDE on Japanese TV even with new ownership. The funny thing is that UFC does not have a television contract for a free-to-air show, yet expected to get one for PRIDE. Dana stated that HERO’s is Japan’s #2 brand, while PRIDE is still Japan’s #1 brand. He really said this.

At the end of the interview, White stressed that PRIDE FC Worldwide LLC is “a clean company” and asked the Japanese fans to engage in a letter-writing campaign to the free-to-air TV networks to bring on PRIDE programming. This does not sound like a confident man. What’s the word I’m looking for? Clueless.

Topics: HERO's, Japan, K-1, Media, MMA, PRIDE, UFC, Zach Arnold | 21 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

21 Responses to “Report: Takanori Gomi headed to HERO’s”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Finally…will we see the “Fireball Kid” back in action!

  2. white ninja says:

    nikkan sports picks up the Gomi story too

    Dana? Dana should have been reading your site to get educated on the Japanese fight business. Maybe he could have saved himself some money

  3. Zack says:

    I hope K-1 works on getting same day delayed PPVs at some point. Watching the events streaming on the internet at 2am just isn’t as appealing.

  4. Body_Shots says:

    Trying to get PRIDE on TV is clueless? It’s a lot better than running shows with no support & losing money.

  5. Zach Arnold says:

    Trying to get PRIDE on TV is clueless? It’s a lot better than running shows with no support & losing money.

    The concept of getting on free-to-air TV in Japan is not clueless.

    His behavior in going about doing so and his knowledge of the Japanese marketplace, however, are completely clueless. Shifting the blame onto the Japanese TV networks for ‘inexplicably’ not believing PRIDE is the #1 brand in Japanese MMA is the kind of mentality that will get you nowhere over there.

    Here’s some free advice – PRIDE is dead. Finished. Kaput. It’s a ghost in Japan. Not coming back to life. It’s not like UWF or the U-System.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    Gomi has a lot to prove still. After being choked out by Aurelio and then beating him by a razor close decision… Then he comes in completely out of shape against Nick Diaz. Combine those two with the fact that BJ Penn made him look like a kid a few years back…. And he is hardly the #1 Lightweight at this time.

  7. doem says:

    PRIDE pulled better ratings then K-1 during new years if i remember correctly…
    it was also reported on this webpage that K-1 viewership numbers remain stagnant after the PRIDE sale
    If there is an MMA vacume in Japan, K-1 has done a piss poor job of filling it.

  8. Zach Arnold says:

    You’re right – K-1 has not filled the power vacuum yet. However, they’re well on their way to doing so — by default. Who else is giving them any run for their money?

    Here’s the thing that people need to grasp about PRIDE. PRIDE was simply a promotion. Promotions come and go. PRIDE was not a philosophy. There’s a reason why the UWF and the U-System, which was born in 1984, still exists as a marketable concept in 2007 in Japan. It was a philosophy, and it was centered around professional wrestling. Before the UWF, you had New Japan (Inoki) and All Japan (Baba). The philosophy of the UWF was simple – it was going to be ‘dojo wrestling’ or a product that looked like wrestling that happened in the wrestling schools. It was a philosophy.

    You can say many things about PRIDE, but there was no singular philosophy from the organization that will carry on long-term in MMA.

    There’s a reason K-1 is reportedly considering a U-themed New Year’s Eve show – the philosophy still sells.

  9. white ninja says:

    i wonder if the Japanese fans will take Dana’s advice.

    Which TV station would like them to write to Dana?

    FujiTV – which dropped PRIDE due to its yakuza links and works with K1

    TBS – which is with K1

    NipponTV – which went through 3 years of lawsuits because it did business with a known yakuza, kawamata, on NYE 2003?

    Asahi – Im sure they want yakuza tainted product

    I wonder if Dana can even list the names of the major Japanese broadcasters?


  10. doem says:

    your right,
    PRIDE is often viewed as a philosophy rather than a promotion–
    and for good reason.

    but this type of feeling is not unique to MMA

    Automakers talk about philosophy for instance, in fact, anybody selling anything to the masses will try to tell you about their philosophy

    the fact is, PRIDE consitently put on better shows than any promotion in the world. And fans notice that other organizations with tons of money have not been able to replicate this
    And so i think fans tend to attribute it to philosophy

  11. klown says:

    PRIDE philosophy was about being epic and theatrical.

  12. Zach Arnold says:

    PRIDE philosophy was about being epic and theatrical.

    Which was basically a copy of New Japan’s production values at their early Tokyo Dome shows in the 1990s and the drama of UWF-International matches at Nippon Budokan (think Takada vs. Koji Kitao).

  13. David says:

    “DO YOU WANT F&%$^G PRIDE? WELL DO YA?” – Fuck Dana, haha great quote! applicable to the discussion at hand.

    My 2 cents about PRIDE. “MunSCHTAH-GRRand PRIXA” – The final PRIDE show there was a clip of Sacockibara (I love the guy but can’t help but joke) noting the future Monster Grand Prix. Talk about philosophy, adapted to culture, PRIDE could be considered a philosophy. A philosophy that Matt Hughes vs BJ Penn 3 or any rubber match would puke blood to.

    PRIDE was the fucking best export out of Japan, period. Kakae Watanabe or whatever the camel toe hottie from PRIDE is, pales in comparison to the dynamic “explosive” shows they put on in their super bright ring, amazing fighters, massively pumped action, retarted refs, and those annoying ropes.

    PRIDE was a fucking amazing organization and if White is running it, without a doubt it won’t be the same. He should have bought it and funded it. The samurai’s were pwning with their sword techniques the way they were.

  14. Zeppelin says:

    Dana White’s strong arm tactics just won’t work when negotiating with the Japanese. It’s even more apparent when you consider that he is a foreigner coming in trying to break into their home turf. Like it has been mentioned before, doing business in Japan is an entirely different ball game than anywhere else, what worked in the US for Zuffa won’t work in Japan. I’m sure that Zuffa has someone on staff that is skilled in negotiating business deals in Japan, but that won’t do a lick if they are already predisposed on shutting them out anyways.

  15. pepejesus says:

    “Gomi has a lot to prove still.”


  16. Liger05 says:

    Dana White didnt really think once Zuffa got hold of Pride the TV networks would come running back did he? I know many UFC fanboys and Pride lovers believed this would happen but surely Dana White knew things wouldnt be so easy? Seems like he didnt. Pride was huge, it was amazing in its prime and no MMA promotion will replicate this but its finished now and it dies like promotions in the past have. I dont even know why the subject of Pride still comes up and fans still talk as if a return is just around the corner.

    A K-1 Heroe’s U-Style themed show would be fantastic. I would love to what that. Saku, Tamura, Funaki, Barnett etc doing U Style would be great!!!

  17. Jonathan says:

    I have to disagree with Zach and say that Pride is a philosophy and even a religion to some folks.

  18. chis says:

    Why do people harp on about how great was the history of pro-Japanese Wrestling when in the end of the day it’s just fucking fake shit.
    In my book K-1 Kickboxing and above that Pride where Japan’s best sports comp’s full stop,above the fat boring Sumo,above there traditional Karate, Kendo and Judo,above Pro-Boxing (cause there ain’t no kicks) ,above fake Wrestling, above Baseball (remember the Simpson’s )above gay diving Soccer(which is a real sport just like boy bands are a real musical talent).
    Japanese seem like a fucking bandwagon race.

  19. Zach Arnold says:

    I have to disagree with Zach and say that Pride is a philosophy and even a religion to some folks.

    It may have been celebrated as a ‘religion’ to the hardcores, but there wasn’t a singular philosophy to it that sticks out. The only core marketing philosophy was pro-wrestling style marketing.

    Why do people harp on about how great was the history of pro-Japanese Wrestling when in the end of the day it’s just fucking fake shit.

    Professional wrestling is the backbone of modern combat sports in Japan (outside of Sumo) since Rikidozan’s entry in the 1950s. Do some research on Japan’s history and you’ll find it pretty fascinating.

    The irony is that Joe Rogan pushes the term “kimura” all the time on UFC, yet “kimura” is named after Masahiko Kimura — who happened to be a judoka-turned-professional wrestler. It’s such an odd juxtaposition people have in not recognizing the role of professional wrestling with MMA. It’s the head – ostrich – sand thing.

    Japanese seem like a fucking bandwagon race.

    Be careful with the broad generalization.

  20. Liger05 says:

    No-one can deny the role of pro-wrestling in the combat sports industry in Japan. Without Pro-wrestling there would be no Pancrase, no shooto, no Pride.

    Even though Pro-wrestling isnt as ‘hot’ as it once was u still get MMA promoters booking talent from the pro-wrestling organisations.

  21. […] dig into the Fight Opinion archives. On July 25th, we posted this item about Dana White discussing PRIDE’s brand strength: Well, according to Dana in another […]


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