Thursday, March 29, 2007

Japanese Magazine "Kamipro" Interview with DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara

Kamipro: Thank you for taking time out from your very busy schedule.
Sakakibara: You are quite welcome.

Kamipro: I understand that you are planning to make a major announcement very soon about the future of PRIDE.
Sakakibara: Yes. I'm making two big announcements on March 27. The first one is about me. I am resigning the post of the representative of PRIDE. And to continue the interview we had in the last issue of Kamipro, I have found a very good suitor for my "daughter" to marry (calmly).

Kamipro: Finally
Sakakibara: Please don't misunderstand my comment, PRIDE will continue. Personally I have mixed feelings. However, I have made my decision about the future of PRIDE.

Kamipro: Who is your "daughter" marrying?
Sakakibara: (By interrupting the question) Before I give you the answer to your question, I have to make sure that I give a clear explanation and the background of my decision to the fans, otherwise they won't understand. I am going to say similar things at the press conference on March 27th about the various offers of investment and acquisition for PRIDE that came from many sources. I started to consider these offers or proposals after Fuji TV gave us a one-sided notice of termination for terrestrial TV broadcasting for PRIDE, totally out of blue, which happened in 2006.

Kamipro: You are talking about the major incident that occurred last June, called the "Fuji TV shock."
Sakakibara: Because the sudden cancellation of PRIDE broadcasting was decided only by Fuji TV, on top of the negative affect caused by PRIDE losing TV broadcasting, our credibility was hugely damaged. They suddenly turned their backs on us.

Kamipro: Because Fuji TV cut their relationship with PRIDE, the general public started to believe some magazines articles reporting PRIDE has touch point to an "anti-social organization."
Sakakibara: Their sudden decision to force PRIDE from the air gave credibility to the completely groundless articles which compromised my reputation and the reputation of DSE. Their influence was devastating. Many sponsors immediately decided to cut off deals. Hotels that we've been having a quite good relationship with, and using for our fighters, refused to allow them to stay, and vendors refused to work with us unless we paid in advance. A negative chain reaction triggered by the decision of Fuji TV was almost laughable and really appalling. If I could, I want to say it out loud that it is undeniable reality and fact that nothing happened to me or DSE up today. In fact, there was nothing to hide and no serious incident which would cause Fuji TV to finish broadcasting. As I have said on many occasions, the hardest thing is to prove what doesn't exist. One friend told me "Time provides the best cure".....but we cannot wait for time to heal the wounds.

Kamipro: Also the big "tsunami" of the MMA boom in the US spearheaded by UFC was about to reach the shore.
Sakakibara: That was another big factor: The entry of powers with abundant financial resources and the big success of the UFC. Last year saw a major shift in the balance of power in the MMA market. If you compare the size of the MMA market between the U.S. and Japan, the U.S. market is 30, 40 times the size of the Japanese market.

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