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Pride and the UFC – the shot heard round the world

The reverberations from the announcement that Wanderlei Silva is going to fight Chuck Liddell in the November UFC card are just beginning to be felt.

  • has a translation of a Japanese language press release from the Pride website declaring an all-out pro-wrestling style ‘war’ between the promotions. According to Pride, Kazuyuki Fujita will also fight in the November card and UFC fighters may appear in Pride October show in Las Vegas.
  • Phil Baroni has announced that he will also represent Pride in the November UFC card.
  • MMA Weekly asks a very good question: What are the Pride fighters going to do about the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s drug testing policies?
  • Zach Arnold has a two-part analysis of the Pride vs. UFC cross promotion.
  • Ivan Trembow from MMA Weekly comments in my post below:
      “Based on the article from Pride, it seems like they are approaching this just like any other “interpromotional war” type of scenario. They could benefit greatly in the U.S. if Silva were to beat Liddell. But how is any of this going to benefit Pride’s live attendance in Japan?

      “Also, the wording in the translation is very interesting… “[Sakakibara] says his and Vanderlei’s purpose in coming to the UFC is to take Chuck’s belt and make Silva the ‘first Pride/UFC double champion in history.'”

      “That wording just indicates that Wanderlei could be a double champion, but it doesn’t say anything about Wanderlei’s Pride belt being on the line in the UFC.”

The question everyone seems to be asking is whether the UFC or Pride is getting the better end of this deal. Frankly, right now I cannot tell whether the UFC has financed its biggest competitor’s foray into the UFC’s dominant market (the U.S.) or if the UFC just bought control of a collapsing Pride and its roster.

However, I do know who this is going to hurt – upstart promotions like the IFL and the WFA.

The IFL (and especially) the WFA must have hoped that Pride’s problems would lead to Pride’s roster of fighters becoming free agents whom they could pick up – just like the WFA did when it signed Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to a multi-fight deal after his Pride contract expired. Instead, it looks like Pride will use the now cash-flush UFC to make sure that it and the UFC keep the majority of the world’s top fighters under contract. tags: , , , ,

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3 Responses

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  1. I really don’t see the UFC/PRIDE deal affecting the WFA at all. As long as the WFA focuses on their core product and maintains visibility on a mainstream level, then what UFC/PRIDE do really shouldn’t effect their bottom line significantly.

  2. Anonymous said

    Ivan was partly correct about Pride’s drug testing, they don’t test for anabolic-androgenic steroids, however, they do test for other drugs.

    “Sakakibara: Right now, at this point, we have not tested any steroid usage. But for the illegal substances like stimulants or anything illegal, we conduct urine testing before and after the fights.”;_page=4

    Also, I doubt there will be a rash of positive tests, as the tests are easy enough to overcome.

    Finally, there have already been several Pride veterans competing in the USA, such as Alistair Overeem, Assuerio Silva, Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort etc.

  3. Sounds like in Japan, the promotion does its own testing without any outside agency or scutiny. I’ve only heard bad things about the Japan Boxing Commission, and apparently its jurisdiction does not extend to Pride. This is a culture of lawlessness, but the Nevada commission is literally in UFC’s pocket now, so it will be interesting to see what happens. MMA is probably heading for a major scandal. In any case, I’d rather watch IFL or WFA.