Friday, January 26, 2007

Pride boss will cheer for Cro Cop

Nobuyuki Sakakibara already has plans for the upcoming 3rd. Pride’s president will be one of the spectators in the crowd at UFC 67, to take place in Las Vegas. Near the octagon the Japanese will be able to watch his former employee up close on the American stage. In good cheer, Sakakibara guaranteed he will not turn a cold shoulder to the 2006 Pride Openweight GP champion.

“Of course I will cheer for Mirko. I think that of all the new sports, MMA is the most exciting. If the UFC fighters would like to fight in Pride, then fine. If it is the other way around, and Pride fighters would like to test themselves in the UFC that is fine too. Perhaps it is a little ridiculous to have two big MMA organizations, but we are thinking 10, 20 years down the road. We are working at putting together Pride vs UFC events in the United States and one day having a Superbowl with the champions of each of the weight divisions in Dodgers stadium,” says Sakakibara.

When questioned about the battle for the American market with the UFC, Sakakibara appeared at ease. “Sending Mirko to them is our secret strategy,” he joked, amidst laughter. “The truth is that we are grateful for the development UFC has spurred in the American market and the recognition of MMA. It would be very difficult for Pride alone to catch the attention of the general public. I think it is normal that people consider the UFC the entrance to the world of MMA. Once they pass through that entrance, Pride will be there waiting for them,” he finished.

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