Just a quick follow up to the story about Pride being sold to the Fertittas. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, who in recent days has repeatedly hinted that the sale of Pride may actually be to the FEG, the owners if K-1, rather than the Fertittas, now has the following story on his website.
—Nobuyuki Sakakibara yesterday told several members of the U.S. Pride staff that the company is in the proces of being sold to Lorenzo & Frank Fertitta. He said the agreement in principal is done but there are still some minor points to be worked out and the contract is not signed. Sakakibara said he would be leaving the company but that everyone would be keeping their jobs. The company would be operated separately from UFC, but obviously UFC could use any Pride fighter for a big match that it needed.
We’ll keep an eye on this continuing story.
News and Notes
- PRIDE USA president Ed Fishman has filed a lawsuit against Dream Stage Entertainment.
- PRIDE USA VP Jerry Millen has commented on the rumored sale of PRIDE FC to Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta.
“It’s bullshit. You can’t beleive what you read on the internet and as a matter of fact I just got off the phone with Japan and Pride has not been sold and is not being sold to anyone, especially to Zuffa. We are in the process of making some ground breaking deals that will be bringing in large sums of revenue to the company and making it stronger than ever.”
- PRIDE president Noboyuki Sakakibara feels if there is anyone that can defeat Ricardo Arona it’s Sokoudjou.
“Nobody thought he would fight so well against Rogério. We received thousands of requests from Japanese that want to see him, live, fighting, and the BTT does not want to leave things as they are, so we chose him to face Arona. Sokoudjou accepted the challenge saying: ‘The answer is yes, whether my opponent is a human, a giraffe or Arona,’” said Sakakibara. “I implore everybody to watch this fight. Sokoudjou is only 22 years old, and if there is anyone that can knock down Arona, I believe it will be someone like Sokodjou,” Sakakibara completed.
- ProElite.com will be streaming Icon Sport: Epic live March 31st. The card feature a title fight between PRIDE and UFC veterans Frank Trigg and Robbie Lawler. Also on the card is UFC veterans Jason Miller and Renato Verissimo.
Clip of the Day
Fight Opinion: Fishman Companies vs. DSE
Greg Savage of Sherdog stated earlier today on his radio show that Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, founders of UFC parent company Zuffa LLC, have purchased PRIDE FC for an estimated $65 million.
No other details concerning fighters under contract with PRIDE, a PRIDE merger with the UFC, or anything else have been announced as of yet. Be sure to check back as we will post any new information as soon as we get it…
Update 8:30 PM: It seems that this rumor/report/whatever you want to call it isn’t going to be dying down anytime soon. MMA message boards all over the ‘Net are blazing with threads upon threads on the possible sale of PRIDE to the Fertitta Brothers. I’m sure if we had forums, the same exact thing would be happening.
One of the things I was worried about when making this post was becoming the main source of this rumor/report. What happens if the deal just didn’t happen for some reason? We certainly wouldn’t want to take the blame.
Dann over at UFC Junkie had the same feeling:
Slow down. Take a deep breath. And promise me you won’t go overboard or take this as gospel.
I’m serious now.
Remember: this isn’t a report from UFCjunkie.com, and doubters shouldn’t direct their anger and criticism toward us. We’re just delivering the message.
His words suit what I’m trying to say as well…
Adding more fuel to the fire is Zach Arnold of Fight Opinion who is reporting two very interesting things of note. He reported early this morning that PRIDE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara is traveling to Las Vegas at some point this week. Normally this wouldn’t mean anything but the timing of his travel plans certainly make one thing for a moment.
Even bigger than that is the news that Ed Fishman’s lawsuit against PRIDE parent company DSE may be finalized in the coming days. It might not even have an effect on the possible acquisition of PRIDE anyway. Basically it seems that Fishman is suing DSE for breach of contract so he says, but we all know it’s because they didn’t want to sell the PRIDE product to him. Fishman wants to bring DSE to court, expose all of the things wrong with them, and be on his merry way. At least that’s the way that I’m seeing things.
I understand that many are going to counter this rumor with the fact that Sakakibara has held multiple press conferences in the last week concerning various PRIDE events in the near future. My feeling is that the Fertitta’s will most likely keep PRIDE over in Japan and run it as a separate promotion over there. Why move something when you can just make more money than you would by merging the promotion with one you already have?
Update 9:45 PM: Damon Martin and Jeff Cain of MMA Weekly have confirmed on their radio show that the Fertitta brothers have indeed purchased PRIDE including the fighter contracts, video library, and the name of the organization.