Tuesday, March 27, 2007


By Gino Mongelli

TOKYO, March 28 – Less than 24 hours following the announcement that Las Vegas casino magnates ans Ultimate Fighting Championship oweners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta had purchased PRIDE Fighting Championships from Dream Stage Entertainment, there was possibly not as much coverage of this huge announcement in the mainstream press as one would’ve hoped. The reactions that came, however, were surprisingly positive.

With the troubles PRIDE had in 2006 and 2007 stemming from the loss of their broadcast television contract with Fuji TV as the background, the Mainichi newspaper – one of the three major publications in the country - commented on the power of the “American millionaire” Lorenzo Fertitta. “[He] brought about the return of terrestrial broadcasting for the UFC, so there is confidence for a recovery for PRIDE from the negative image and poor finances of DSE / Sakakibara / et al.”

According to Sports Hochi – equivalent to an Associated Press – the separation of DSE and its CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara from PRIDE was also speculated as a necessary step in returning the promotion to television. “Revival is possible if complete evacuation occurs.”

Mainichi also reported that regardless that the president of the new parent company to PRIDE has not been announced and that Sakakibara is removing himself from the concerns of management, PRIDE is planning on business-as-usual for the year, including their spectacular “Men’s Festival” New Year’s Event. It was also reported the event will receive a five-billion yen (USD approx. $42M) performance “upgrade,” according to Nikkan Sports, a major sports daily.

Sports Hochi reported that not only will all of the rights to PRIDE be moving to the new company, but so will the staff as well.

It was reported in Japan today that the amount of sale is under a confidentiality contract, which can be taken to mean the sale was, at the very least, over 100 million yen (USD approx. $1M); while the U.S. Associated Press speculated yesterday PRIDE sold to the Fertittas for just under 70 million dollars.

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