Friday, March 30, 2007


By Al Yu



- noun

1. great importance or consequence: affairs of magnitude.

2. greatness of size or amount.

After much speculation, the face of mixed martial arts has changed forever. The sale of Pride Fighting Championships signified the largest acquisition in MMA history. Reactions spanned the spectrum of emotions as the monumental news set in. Some were saddened. Many were ecstatic. Others are still in disbelief. Gone are the wearisome, yet often tumultuous UFC vs. Pride debates. The obstruction to the seemingly unattainable match-ups has been lifted.

At Tuesday’s press conference in Japan, sadness could be sensed from Dream Stage Entertainment CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara. Say what you will about Sakakibara, his passion for the organization was unmistakable. Unfortunately, 2006 was a damaging year for DSE and the company continued to hurt financially into the New Year.

Enter the Fertitta brothers.

Casino moguls Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta are intelligent businessmen. Along with Dana White, they brought the UFC out of the depths and turned it into a mainstream juggernaut. Although the sale of Pride must have been a difficult decision for Sakakibara, he chose to put the company into the capable hands of the Fertittas.

I’d be lying if I said part of me wasn’t sad. However, I remain optimistic with the notion that Pride’s new owners will keep the organization intact. I’m confident that they have the expertise and resources to turn Pride around and possibly secure another television contract in Japan.

New management may have been the financial savior for the ailing organization but the uncertainty of the future peaks some of our curiosity. We can be thankful that Pride will sustain its existence. However, for some, graciousness has been met with an equivocal attitude. Loyal fans savored their fondest Pride moments as if a sinking ship were left to meet its final resting place. To them, Pride Fighting Championships was a revered work of art, the perfect blend of competitiveness and showmanship. Utilizing that successful formula, Pride entertained fans with its trademark production value.

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