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As a result of Pride’s many recent problems, there has been open speculation that it will shut its doors permanently, or close and re-open under a different name. Some people have gone so far as to say that it is a done deal.

But, do not count Pride out yet. Its promoter, Dream Stage entertainment, recently issued a press release that detail its plans and schedule for the remainder of the year:

Dream Stage Entertainment Confirms Several Pay-Per View Carriers To Feature PRIDE FC in 2003

Los Angeles, CA – January 30, 2003 – Evidence of growing interest in the world of mixed-martial arts and full-contact sports, Dream Stage Entertainment today confirmed the PRIDE Fighting Championships (PRIDE FC) event line-up for 2003. PRIDE FC will present a full schedule of action-packed events starting March 16th in Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.

“After a highly successful 2002 that included sell-outs for each event, we are looking forward to an exciting and even more successful 2003,” said Yukino Kanda, Dream stage Entertainment’s Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Talent Relations. A major highlight of 2002 was PRIDE FC being sanctioned by the respected Nevada Athletic Commission. “As a foreign-based company”, says Kanda, “we are extremely proud that the Nevada Commission put its trust in us”.

With its rapidly growing fan base in North America, PRIDE PC is gearing up for a banner year. Together with its pay-per-view carriers and partners, Dream Stage Entertainment will soon be able to bring the incredible excitement of PRIDE to virtually every cable and satellite home in the U.S. and Canada.

The tentative schedule of PRIDE Fighting Championships 2003:

March 16th

PRIDE Fighting Championships: Body Blow

Location: Yokohama Arena

PPV Carriers: DIRECTV, DishNetwork, Bell ExpressVu, Viewer’s Choice Canada

May 24th


Location: Osaka Castle Hall

PPV Carriers: DIRECTV, TVN, DishNetwork, Bell ExpressVu, Viewer’s Choice Canada

August 10th

PRIDE Fighting Championships Grand Prix 2003: Opening Round

Location: Saitama Super Arena

PPV Carriers: DIRECTV, TVN, DishNetwork, Bell ExpressVu, Viewer’s Choice Canada

November 9th

PRIDE Fighting Championships Grand Prix 2003: Final Round

Location: Tokyo Dome

PPV Carriers: DIRECTV, TVN, DishNetwork, Bell ExpressVu, Viewer’s Choice Canada

Additional Events: TBA

*Event name TBD

This is not the kind of press release that you would expect from a company that is about to shut down, and the confirmation that the Pride Grand Prix remains on the schedule is encouraging. On the other hand, the press release does not address the persistent reports that Pride will cut back on the amount of foreign fighters who appear in its show.

Really, we will only begin to get a feel for how Pride will position itself in the future when we see the card for Pride 26. Until then, be sure to take all Pride news, good and bad, with a grain of salt.

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