- 03-20-2007, 11:38 AM
MMA WEEKLY - Your #1 Source for Daily MMA News, Interviews, Multimedia, and More
The rumors swirling around the sale of Pride FC have been ongoing for quite some time, but things flared up again on Monday when Sherdog.com started talking about strong rumors from some of their sources, who said that the deal has finally been struck.
MMAWeekly has confirmed with our own sources, including sources in Japan that are extremely close to the situation, that the deal has indeed been reached. From what we understand, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta have come to an agreement that would put Pride in their hands. But remember, that is an agreement, not a finalized transaction. As with any business transaction as complex as the purchase of one company by another, things are never 100% finalized until the proverbial keys to the front door have finally changed hands.
With that said, unless something changes at the eleventh hour, it appears that Pride will soon fall under the ownership of the Fertitta brothers. According to our sources, the purchase is believed to include fighter contracts, Pride’s video library, and the Pride FC name brand. The issue of fighter contracts is one of the more touchy points, as there can be variables in each individual contract that will have to be dealt with, and no information has come forth that states which fighters would be included.
It was not immediately clear when the deal would be announced, although it is believed that Nobuyuki Sakikabara, the President & CEO Of Dream Stage Entertainment (Pride’s present owner), is traveling to the United States this week in regards to matters related to the agreement.
- 03-20-2007, 12:52 PM
Man, this really sucks. Don't get me wrong, if it's true, I'm going to love watching the best fight each other. I'm just really going to miss the show that Pride puts on- the production values, the ring, etc.
03-20-2007, 04:53 PM
hmmm...It will be interesting to see what happens and what changes occur to the current Pride format if it does go through. Probably not good for MMA, though.
03-20-2007, 08:38 PM
I hope it all works out with quality fights on the way. Just as long as it doesnt become corrupt like boxing with all the major players pushing there agendas. And who knows we might get to see a major crossover fight every once in a while just to keep the rivalry alive.
03-21-2007, 08:21 AM
They are going to continue to run Pride the same way it has been run. I bet they will standardize pride to NSAC rules. They will probably also eventually merge the belts. We probably won't see any more Pride USA shows. Dana already said they are going to use the brand in Asia primarily. They will merge the pool of fighters for sure.
03-22-2007, 11:17 PM
Here's the latest from Sherdog......
PRIDE CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara informed staff inside the Japanese promoter's Los Angeles office Wednesday that he was stepping down as part of an agreement to sell the company to Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, who own the UFC.
According to a report by Dave Meltzer at wrestlingobserver.com, Sakakibara suggested only minor points separate the deal, which Sherdog.com first rumored on Monday, from reaching its conclusion. No contract has been signed, the report said.
While Sakakibara appears to be leaving a company he's been a part of since its inception in 1997, the man who stepped in as PRIDE CEO after Naoto Mori****a committed suicide told his staff that the company would remain intact and autonomous from the UFC, but that hurdles no longer remain between UFC versus PRIDE cards, Meltzer reported.
03-26-2007, 11:24 AM
It has been done.
FERTITTAS BUY PRIDE
The Japanese newspapers reported today in Tokyo, Japan that the UFC has bought Pride. The UFC/Pride rumor has been circulating for awhile, but the deal appears to be done. One of the newspapers in Japan, SportsHochi, reported that the Fertittas, who owns Zuffa which operates the UFC, will start a new company thus disbanding DSE(Dream Stage Entertainment, which has been the company that Pride has operated under). DSE/Pride President Nobuyuki Sakikabara, who brought Pride to the United States and was successful in making the Pride brand one of the most compelling MMA promotions in the world, is reportedly resigning from his position.
The new company that Pride will operate under apparently will not be run by UFC or Zuffa, but will be it's own entity owned by the Fertittas. Thus Pride and the UFC being run separately. But, it is being reported that the two promotions will do a joint super show once a year. SportsHochi reports that Pride 34 on 4/8 will be the last Pride show run by DSE.
So will Pride be a Japanese or a United States promotion? Apparently, Pride looks to continue to do shows in both Japan and the United States. Intentions are to still have the Light Weight Grand Prix starting in May. The GP being made up of 3 shows, all taking place in Japan. And, the New Years Eve show is still in the plans to take place in Japan. There are also plans to do 2-3 more shows in the United States this year.
There will be a press conference held in Tokyo, Japan at the Roppongi Hills Arena on Tuesday 3/27 which will be open to the press and fans alike.
03-26-2007, 12:16 PM
I hope they throw some UFC guys into the LW GP like Sherk, Franca, maybe even Penn. Sounds like Dana will have nothing to do with running it.
03-26-2007, 01:14 PM
03-26-2007, 08:24 PM
It could be that it's untrue and the Japanese Press is running on false rumor, or it could be that the UFC is playing this close to the vest for whatever reasons, maybe just to get maximum mileage out of an announcement.
Maybe Dana White is fundamentally dishonest, Pat Militech seems to think so, the Militech interview that I put up on the Fantasy thread about Lee Murray has this Q & A bit in it.
Q: You and UFC president Dana White aren't on the best of terms these days. What happened between the two of you?
PM: Basically it comes down to honesty, and if somebody does something that is dishonest, I give them another chance. When they do it two, three, four, five, six times, well they've sort of used up their friendship, so to speak. Dana is not quiet about basically stating that he's not in the business to make friends, he doesn't care if he has friends, and that way of thinking to me comes back to haunt a person. If he ever did something that made me trust him, well, maybe I'll give him another chance. But up until this point, he hasn't done anything for me that has made me be able to trust him, unfortunately.
I'm just speculating, we will know one way or another soon enough, I think
03-27-2007, 10:26 AM
UFC owners buy rival Pride
NEW YORK (AP) - The majority owners of Ultimate Fighting Championship have agreed to buy their biggest mixed martial arts rival, Pride Fighting Championships, in a deal that will establish megafights among the outfits' titleholders and possibly attract huge pay-per-view audiences.
Company executives declined to comment on the sales price, but a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta will purchase the Japan-based Pride for less than $70 million. The person was not authorized to speak to reporters and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The deal was completed Tuesday and was announced during a news conference in Tokyo, where Lorenzo Fertitta has been negotiating with Nobuyuki Sakakibara, the majority owner and chief executive of Dream Stage Entertainment Inc., Pride's owner.
"We have been talking to Pride for probably about 11 months," Lorenzo Fertitta said. "It's been a long, drawn out process but we finally we were able to put the two brands together."
To buy the company, the brothers created a new entity called Pride FC Worldwide Holdings LLC. The newly formed company will take over Pride assets, including its trademarks, video library and valuable roster of fighters, from Dream Stage. The Fertitta brothers, who own Las Vegas-based Zuffa LLC, the parent company of UFC, intend to keep the well-known Pride name and promote fights under that brand.
The acquisition marks a new phase in the brothers' quest to dominate the burgeoning world of mixed martial arts since they bought the struggling UFC in 2001.
"This is really going to change the face of MMA," Lorenzo Fertitta said. "Literally creating a sport that could be as big around the world as soccer. I liken it somewhat to when the NFC and AFC came together to create the NFL."
The deal allows the Fertitta brothers to broker the biggest MMA fights possible in the near future, increasing their influence in this sports entertainment business.
"We will be able to literally put on the fights that everyone wants to see," Lorenzo Fertitta said. "It will allow us to put on some of the biggest fights ever."
In the past, there has been at least one case in which Pride and UFC couldn't hammer out a deal to put their top fighters in the ring together. With Pride in their pocket, the Fertitta brothers intend to ensure that never happens again.
The sale gives Pride more financial backing to expand the business internationally after suffering a recent financial blow.
Major sponsor Fuji Television Network Inc. dropped Pride in June after a tabloid linked Pride to the Japanese mob - something Sakakibara has denied vigorously. To help bolster Pride, the company staged two PPV fights in Las Vegas. Neither was a financial success. The fights gained exposure for Pride but lost money, making the sale of Pride more likely.
"I think it certainly weakened their position," Lorenzo Fertitta said. "One of our goals is to get back on a major platform back here in Japan."
Lorenzo Fertitta said he'll be looking to expand Pride internationally.
Buying Pride is the latest in a series of acquisitions that the brothers have made in the last six months. Zuffa snapped up World Extreme Cagefighting and World Fighting Alliance last year.
Similar to Pride, buying WFA gave UFC the rights to a popular fighter named Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Jackson will face UFC's most popular fighter, Chuck Liddell, the current light heavyweight champ in Las Vegas, on May 26 on PPV.
In the combat world, the Pride deal leaves a fragmented group of upstarts and K-1, another Japanese company that promotes fighters skilled in various forms of kick boxing.
Thanks to a surge in popularity, the brothers' investment in UFC and MMA in general has begun to pay off.
Last year, UFC cracked $200 million in PPV revenue, putting it on par with World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.
UFC stages fights in arenas across the country and airs a clutch of successful television shows on Spike TV. It has also opened an office in London, looking toward establishing itself internationally.
The brothers also run Station Casinos Inc. in Las Vegas. Lorenzo Fertitta is president and Frank Fertitta is chairman and chief executive of Station Casinos, a public company that was recently purchased by a private equity investor group that includes key members of the Fertitta family.
03-27-2007, 08:53 PM
Well, it's official. I wonder if Chonan will be able to work his way to another shot at A. Silva. I'm sure Silva would like to erase that stain on his record.
...and the fantasy matchup thread may not be such a fantasy anymore.
03-27-2007, 10:17 PM
This is good for MMA. Sports really need to be monopolized to be entertaining and have the best in the world all compete on one stage. The Ring sucks. Ive seen people in IFL get out of guillotine chokes by falling out of the ring, and its so annoying watching people get reset all the time, and all the hands pushing and interfering with fighters. Also Pride production values are so over rated. They just had fighters line up at the beginning with some naked guy banging drums, and the Pride announcer i wish on everything sacred to me she loses her vocal cords and I never hear that voice again. Henderson vs Anderson Silva, Wandy, Shogun vs Chuck. Gomi vs GSP, Hughes ETC! Man I Cant Wait! No More TUF chumps in the undercards. Save them for free Spike TV Events, and look for the next Diego. It will be interesting to see if they get rid of the ring, but one thing is sure they will still hold events in Japan and all over the world. My guess is they will keep Pride/UFC seperate and have Superbowl matches between champs for the next year, then slowly integrate the two into a global league. Also they better get Fedor back! **** Bodog!
03-27-2007, 11:45 PM
03-27-2007, 11:53 PM
03-28-2007, 12:42 AM
Yeah I agree with Alex. Pride's production and atmosphere makes it feel like a very grand, you-don't-want-to-miss-this spectacle. UFC feels more white-trashy to me, and there showing of D-list celebrities kills me.
Bas and Quadros will probably always be my favorite commentating duo, although Barnett and Lon are off to a great start.
Never saw Jason Thacker fight, but I take it he was comical?
03-28-2007, 01:18 AM
Thacker was some canadian guy on season 1 of TUF who according to his housemates smelled like hot trash, thats to be expected from canadians(where you at mullet?). Leben spritzed(pissed) on his bead and tormented him. He left the show early, I can't remember why exactly, mainly because he sucks at fighting. He returned to fight Leben on the TUF finale, and he got destroyed. He was a nice guy and in a perfect world he would've beat the sh!t out of Leben, but he just wasn't a good fighter, at all.
03-28-2007, 01:28 AM
Sure the drums and the fighters lining up are kind of cool, but the guy in the thong the the most annoying voice in the world arent. Also let the fighters fight. Pride has too many breakups. Its MIXED martial arts. Sure I hate stalling wrestling fighters like Koscheck in his TUF days. I thought that was absolutely pathetic. But give a couple of guys a chance on the ground of thats where it goes and they are fighting, like Silvia vs Couture. Pride interferes too much, and you guys are kind of biased since you think you were watching something underground. Pride wasnt underground, hell UFC was underground til TUF season 1. Pride is dead, and UFC wont **** up the merger. Dana White is an excellent business man and he will step it up now that he controls all.
03-28-2007, 01:45 AM
the thing I'm most afraid of is Pride events only showcasing 4-5 fights per event rather than the typical 8-9.
Also, I'm slightly afraid of the rule unification agreement...I understand no kicks or stomps on all fours, but knees must stay!
03-28-2007, 01:49 AM
What makes you think that we thought we were watching something underground? If both Pride and UFC were underground pre-TUF like you say, how would the underground thing be a factor in our deciding of which org is better? Kind of seems like you're making assumptions.
03-28-2007, 02:12 AM
The ring is annoying sometimes like when they have to move people. I agree that it is disruptive and some guys milk the pause to try and recover. The cage is better for GnP guys IMO, but the rules in Pride are much better.
As far as the lady goes, sometimes she annoys me, sometimes I really like her. It's not an underground thing for me, it's just a preference for the way Pride presents the fights. Also, Dana popping up everywhere eminating smugness (is that a word?) bugs me, he's a great business man, but I don't like his personality.
03-28-2007, 11:11 AM
A monopoly is not better for the sport. This is an individual sport where a monopoly will greatly reduce competition and development of new fighters. In the short run, there may be some great fights that many people have been waiting to see, but in the long run it is not good. It is an unfortunate event, and the only hope is that it will continue to be run as two separate organization.
Jas...you are completely right about the cage being a better venue for a wrestler. It gives a wrestler more ability to pin some against the wall. Also the cage is not as good for a striker b/c it is harder to back someone into an corner as the ring is a 90 degree angle where the octagon is a 135 degree angle. This allows a fighter to run away more from a true striker.
In regards to production value, I have always found Pride to be much better than UFC. For my mind, if one compared each aspect of Pride and UFC, I would rank Pride first.
03-28-2007, 12:58 PM
Not to be rude, but what are you talking about?
I personally watched PRIDE because the production quality of the shows was incredible, the stable of fighters was superior to that of UFCs, and they consistently gave me the matchups I wanted to see.
PRIDE was simply a better organization for presenting MMA; while UFC on the other hand, was and is, a better business.
I have also felt the stand-up in PRIDE reduced the mind-numbing monotony which the UFC can be bad for.
03-28-2007, 01:00 PM
As size said, the only hope is that they remain seperate.
03-28-2007, 04:56 PM
Pride had better heavyweights, but beyond that in the last few years nothing can be said about their fighters being better. Diaz who couldnt even contend for a championship in UFC and ****ed up Gomi. Wanderlei could have settled the middleweight division, but Prides stupid management messed that up. Herring comes over to UFC and lays a giant egg. Anderson Silva is impressive however. The UFC lightweights are far beyond anything Pride has to offer. From 170 and 155, Pride has nothing to challeng UFC. That will be proven in the the very near future. Some of the 155 matches if seen in the UFC has been some of the best MMA ever fought on this planet. I cant wait for Henderson/Silva and Shogun/Wanderie vs Chuck. Prides production was only better in the aspect that they didnt stall in between fights with **** talking video sessions. Other than that it was just confetti, an annoying announcer who's voice must have come from the deepest pits of hell and a naked guy banging on a drum.
03-28-2007, 05:08 PM
As far as the Diaz thing goes, he was too small to be a WW; 73 kg is a much better weight class for him and Gomi looked absolutely listless during their fight.
03-28-2007, 05:19 PM
03-28-2007, 05:24 PM
03-28-2007, 05:40 PM
03-28-2007, 05:48 PM
I don't see this list teeming with UFC fighters.LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (160 pounds and lower)
#1 Lightweight Fighter in the World: Hayato Sakurai
2. Takanori Gomi
3. Gilbert Melendez
4. Nick Diaz
5. Tatsuya Kawajiri
6. Shinya Aoki
7. Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro
8. Joachim Hansen
9. Mitsuhiro Ishida
10. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto
MMAWeekly Rankings last updated on March 20, 2007
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