Saturday, April 7, 2007


By Gino Mongelli

TOKYO, April 7 --- Mass media, press, fans and fighters gathered at Hotel East 21 in Toyocho for the PRIDE 34 “Kamikaze” press conference this afternoon, to hear that Wanderlei Silva will not be fighting in tomorrow’s event at the Super Saitama Arena, the last event under Dream Stage Entertainment 's direction before they turn the keys to the fight promotion known for housing some of the best talent in the world over to Lorenzo Fertitta and his Zuffa LLC. staff. DSE has decided to follow the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspension that stipulated Silva could not fight until 45 days after his Feb. 24 second round KO at the hands of Dan Henderson at PRIDE 33 in Las Vegas.

DSE and Silva made every effort to provide the NSAC requisite documentation to greenlight the former PRIDE Middleweight Champion – particularly a medical clearance from a physician - but complications arose and it was decided that for the future of Silva in PRIDE, he should sit this one out.

DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced that he will try to bring in one or even two additional “surprise” matches to keep the fans happy. As well, an eighth official match was announced featuring 10-year PRIDE veteran Akira Shoji, and the ever-dangerous Holland striker Gilbert Yvel. Shoji personally asked DSE President Sakakibara to be in this 10-year commemoration event, and he learned he would be fighting a short 24-hours before the event is to take place.

Nobuhiko Takada made the opening speech, thanking Sakakibara for PRIDE’s 10 years and 600 matches. The fighters were all introduced to the crowd and Sakakibara made his speech, stating that PRIDE now has a chance to become bigger, more globalized and stronger than ever before.

When the microphone was turned to the fighters, American heavyweight Don Frye had everyone in the room laughing, comparing his British opponent James Thompson to Frankenstein’s monster.

“I’ll grab him by one of the little bolts sticking out of his neck and just get to wailing,” the PRIDE crowd favorite said.

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