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The second anniversary of PRIDE’s last show

By Zach Arnold | April 8, 2009

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Yes, in fact, today is the second anniversary of the company’s last show at Saitama Super Arena.

To me, there were two unmistakable lasting impressions & images that came out of that show that were both sad and poetic at the same time:

  1. Nobuyuki Sakakibara using the show to basically put himself over for four hours. Anyone who remembers going to the show will remember his face on printed material. The weasel used the occasion to put himself over and that he did.
  2. Jeff Monson, who was marketed as UFC’s representative at the PRIDE 34 show, choked out PRIDE Japanese star Kazuyuki Fujita in the main event. Less than two weeks before this fight happened, UFC management was busy celebrating at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo and putting over their asset purchase of PRIDE.

Given all of the cartoons and editorials scoffing at UFC management for ‘destroying’ a Japanese company (which they did not), the end result played right into the hands of the race-baiters and nationalists. I’ll never forget the aftermath of the asset sale purchase, in which Hustle (Sakakibara’s pro-wrestling operation) was running angles out of the same office that PRIDE had been using in Japan.

Topics: Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, UFC, Zach Arnold | 16 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

16 Responses to “The second anniversary of PRIDE’s last show”

  1. klown says:

    Pro-wrestling terminology alert:

    What is “running angles”?

    Ed. — Running media-driven storylines to advance feuds or programs related to Hustle pro-wrestling.

  2. samscaff says:

    I was at that show at Saitama, and while Sakakibara’s face was on the Pride themesong CD cover, with the words “Pride Forever” that was handed out to all the fans, it was just as much the fighters kissing his ass as him pushing himself.

    Every single fighter on the card gave a speech after their fights in which they praised Sakakibara. Even Don Frye after getting destroyed. And James Thompson, who repeatedly talked about how he lost his Pride debut in 9 seconds, and Sakakibara still brought him back. And even Butterbean after rolly-pollying with Zulizhinho until he submitted him. They all kissed Sakakibara’s ass because he gave them jobs and I think alot of them genuinely loved Pride.

    “The weasel” as Zach calls him , put on great fights and the best MMA tournaments of ALL time (by far). Sure, he contributed to the downfall of Pride, but he is only one in a long line of many shady fight promoters.

    Hell, Bob Arum and Don King have put on some of the most legendary fights of all time, not to mention the sleezy boxing promoters before them. And everyone says that they are the reason that boxing has deteriorated the way it has, and while there is certainly a measure of truth to this, they were only playing within the framework of boxing that was already there.

    Fact of the matter is, the fight business is just a shady, shadowy business. Fighting is part of the underbelly of society. And while UFC has done a fantastic job of bringing MMA to the masses in the States, just last week Dana White proved that fight promoters are still at the very, very bottom of the ladder in terms of class, civility, and professional decency. While he may not be criminal (though his contracts may be illegal/unethical), he certainly is another in the long line of scummy fight promoters.

  3. samscaff says:

    On another note, Zach, can you remove MMA Analyst from the feed list on the left. They havent updated their site in months.

  4. Zach Arnold says:

    Give me some alternative feeds (try 3) to add and I’ll make it happen.

  5. BM2 says:

    What was the HUSTLE angle? Did Generalissimo Takada buy PRIDE with ten million monster dollars?

  6. Kid Nate says:

    May I suggest adding

  7. Zak Woods says:

    Hey Zach,

    I would greatly appreciate it if you added to your blog roll.

    Besides being a member of the SBN blog network, WKR covers local Ohio MMA. As you know, no state puts on more MMA events a year then Ohio.

    ~ Zak Woods

  8. Zack says:

    Not another variation of Zack/h!!! (head explodes!!!)

  9. robthom says:

    Thats kind of weird how a representative star lost right before the collapse of two major orgs, Pride and EXC. And for pride Arona got trounced that night by a still barely known soukuodjo also.

    It kind of highlights to me the value of a certain amount of product control as far as propping up the right stars, feeding cans at the right time, etc, etc.
    But you’d also have to be subtle enough to not make it obvious and disturb the illusion/image also.

    It just makes me trip out how tricky the matchmaking game can be. Its sounds as intense and strategic as coercing a woman.

  10. Zak Woods says:

    sorry Zack and Zach

  11. Steve Barry says:

    Zach, you can probably take down the NBCSports MMA Fight Weekly feed in the video section as well. I don’t think they’re doing it anymore.

  12. […] Not only is today our one year anniversary (or birthday as we like to call it), it’s also the two-year anniversary of PRIDE’s final event, PRIDE […]

  13. I’m curious; why is Sakakibara a ‘weasel’ Zach?

  14. white ninja says:

    whats sakakibara doing now?

    he spent his money on buying a 2nd rate football team in okinawa – but his yakuza past has meant that he and the team have been blacklisted by the football fraternity in Japan

    Originally Sakakibara was the face of the team – hoping his infamy would help the team – but he has now been forced into the background – where he belongs with all his yakuza scumbag bosses – forgotten, ignored and irrelevant

  15. samscaff says:

    On a related note…. Wasnt the Fertitta family mobbed up? Isnt that how they got into the gambling business?


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