--In what is likely to be the biggest news story in this business of 2006, The Fuji Network announced earlier today it was canceling its contract with Pride Fighting Championships. No reason was given, but it was due to the Yakuza scandal as reported in Weekly Gendai magazine. This changes the balance of power in the MMA world completely, as Pride will go from being the major player to a company whose future is very much in question. We'll have a ton more on this in the next Observer. Right now things are just starting to be sorted out. While it may not have the finality as it causing the final end of the company, and certainly not as quickly this is every bit as big, if not bigger then when Jamie Kellner canceled wrestling on the Turner Networks in 2001. Pride's profile in Japan is probably ten times that of WCW's profile in the U.S. in 2001. - dave meltzer
I don't know if its true or not, because I dont see any official sources. Perhaps someone from Japan could shed light on the situation.
We need otoko to give us more details. If I'm not mistaken isn't K1 also a shady organization with yakuza ties? I seriously hope this is ironed out. If I don't get my Pride and UFC fix every few months I'm likely to go into withdrawal.
K-1 and Pride both have yakuza ties. In 2000, I believe, the president of Pride committed "suicide" in a hotel room in the town he lived... Since then DSE has run Pride, and is known to be a yukuza business.
If this story is true, it would mean that Pride has no television or PPV coverage. And because Fuji dropped Pride because of mafia ties, I doubt another broadcasting company is going to lose face by picking Pride up as is. Either a huge restructuring of the company will have to take place or a merger with K-1. I doubt UFC has the money to pick off any top Pride fighters, but some middle of the pack guys might find their way over if Pride does in fact fold. But given the huge ratings of Pride, I doubt that Pride will disappear. Japan's government is very business friendly and wouldnt let that happen.
This sucks. I read about how K1 treated Bob Sapp and what lead to him splitting from his fight with Hoost. I'm not a huge Sapp fan, but if what I've read is even partially true, I don't wanna see K1 get anymore powerful than it already is.
I had not heard that side of the Bob Sapp story. From what I read, DSE had offered him a few fights in Pride (in the OWGP), and K-1 wouldn't let him out of his exclusive contract. He retaliated by walking out in Amsterdam.
God only knows what is going on though, the japanese business world is a whole other dimension from what we have here.
One thing is for sure, I think that Sakuraba had a hunch this was going to happen and jumped ship right before it started burning. He has very good ties to Takada and the Pride leadership, and probably knows more about DSE's operations than any other fighter.
This has been going on for awhile. But nobody can say if it really true or not. Before the OWGP it was said that Fuji was going to drop Pride. That did not happen.
Yes Pride has some Yakuza problems. One supposedly ran away.
You have to also understand that the weekly magazines like Gendai are full of gossip. Yakuza have there hands in alot of things. The police know where they are, their headquarters, it is reported in the news. The police have been getting tougher, but for a long time there used to be an agreement that the Yakuza would try not to spread violence(only amoung themselves) and the police would tolerate them.
Even if Fuji did drop Pride, I think somebody would pick it up. There is alot of money in that business. Until there is a press conference with the president of Fuji stating that they no longer have a relationship with Pride, Ithen it is just rumor to me. Most likely they will scapegoat somebody, the police will save face and everybody can go back to making money.
Though if you hear something in America I would like to hear it though, Our media isn't known for investigative journalism.
Bob Sapps' contract was up. K-1 said they would renew it. Bob went to Holland, they still would't say anything. Waited until the last minute,. Bob called their bluff and walked out. Bob was threatened with violence. K-1 is worse than Pride.
Also Sakuraba and Takada are not on good terms anymore. It is Takada who made Sakuraba fight all those mismatches, though Sakuraba didn't want to. Thus ruining his legacy and his health. Takada would not let Sakuraba participate in the 83kg division. Also Sakuraba was underpaid compared to Yoshida and Ogawa. That is why he is in K-1.
Unless the UFC wants to pay Pride money, 500,000 dollars and up per fight. Then I think K-1 will get them. Though if that happened maybe K-1 would loan them to the UFC. But still the UFC would have to pay up.