Nobuhiko Takada

Two Bouts Added to Yarennoka!

Officials running the Yarennoka! show scheduled to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan held a press conference earlier today to announce two additional bouts for the event.

Reigning K-1 lightweight tournament champion Gesias Calvancanti will face Shinya Aoki for the first time in their respective careers.

Calvancanti had a monster year in 2007, stopping Nam Phan, Vitor Ribeiro, and Andre Amade in consecutive fights to win the K-1 Hero’s lightweight tourney for the second straight year. Calvancanti’s lone career loss came at the hands of Joachim Hansen at a Shooto event in 2004.

Aoki is 2-1 so far in 2007, submitting Brian Lo-A-Njoe at PRIDE 34 in April and earning a close split decision win over highly touted welterweight Akira Kikuchi at Shooto’s first “Back to our Roots” show in February.

The second bout announced at the press conference was Hayato “Mach” Sakurai returning to action against Hidehiko Hasegawa.

Sakurai last fought at PRIDE 33 where he knocked out current Ultimate Fighter contestant Mac Danzig.

Sakurai’s confirmed participation as this event should dispel the rumor that he had signed with the UFC to compete at welterweight. The UFC even showed him as a UFC welterweight during a PPV broadcast earlier this year but I’m assuming that contract talks thought to be a done deal may have fell apart. Either that or Sakurai is being lent to the show by Zuffa.

Hasegawa has been fairly active in 2007, earning a majority decision win over Jutaro Nakao in his first bout of the year. Hasegawa then faced Dong Hyun Kim in consecutive fights; Kim defeated Hasegawa in August by TKO before the two fought to a draw last month.

An official opponent for Fedor Emelianenko was not announced at the press conference. Officials present included M-1 Global CEO Monte Cox, FEG president Sadaharu Tanigawa, former PRIDE official Nobuhiko Takada and DEEP president Shigeru Saeki.

Saitama NYE Event Press Conference Notes

A press conference was held earlier today in Japan to officially announce a New Year’s Eve MMA event that will take place at the Saitama Super Arena, in Saitama, Japan.

Now I can’t speak a lick of Japanese so I can’t tell you who exactly the promoter is behind this whole thing but I’ll be able to find out later today.

Zach Arnold at Fight Opinion has an awesome recap of everything as always. So awesome in fact, that M-1’s Russian site has decided to re-write it and post it.

The press conference was attended by a load of former PRIDE and DSE officials, including Nobuhiko Takada. Many of them will be involved in the running and production of the event. The event will be broadcast on SkyPerfecTV PPV and as of right now, there are no plans to have anything other than a Japanese-only broadcast.

Fighters that have been announced as officially competing at the event are Fedor Emelianenko, Hayato Sakurai, Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Mitsuhiro Ishida. Other fighters that were mentioned as possibly competing at the event were Kazuo Misaki, Joachim Hansen, Ricardo Arona, Gilbert Melendez, Luiz Azevedo, and Hidehiko Hasegawa.

There was no mention of Hong Man Choi in any forum, leading more credibility to The Fight Network’s Brian Knapp and his report via Monte Cox that Hong Man Choi is not signed to fight Fedor and is nothing more than an option as of right now.

Cox mentioned a few details in terms of the lending out of Fedor by M-1. Fedor is set to be paid $1.5 million by the Japanese promotion and they are also responsible for choosing Fedor’s opponent:

“Part of the deal is that they choose the opponent,” Cox said. “They’re choosing an opponent that makes sense for the Japanese market.”

I’ll update this post whenever I receive more information on the press conference.

Zuffa Unable to Secure Japan TV Deal for PRIDE

It seems that PRIDE is dead again.

UFC President Dana White stated at the UFC 74 post-fight press conference that Zuffa has been unable to secure a Japanese television deal for PRIDE. You know, the former MMA mega power that White and company purchased back in March. Whatever happened to that?

Many thought that the revamped promotion would be holding a show in October when Nobuhiko Takada announced future plans in June. Apparently the report was false.

Now White believes that no one over in Japan wants Zuffa to attempt to resurrect PRIDE:

“I’ve pulled everything out of the trick box that I can and I can’t get a TV deal over there with PRIDE. I don’t think they want us there,” said White. “I don’t think they want me there. PRIDE is a very powerful brand, and we want to keep it alive, but I’ll tell you what, the brand is very tainted, not only over there but over here.”

White also stated that Zuffa would not be shelling out the money to bring the brand to the US for a trial run.

Report: PRIDE Now Returns October 11

Japanese news outlet Daily Sports is reporting that PRIDE representative Nobuhiko Takada has stated that PRIDE’s next show will take place on October 11th, not the originally rumored date of August 18th. Takada apparently made the announcement at a local Tokyo high school yesterday.

Takada said that the card will feature an all-star cast of fighters and that the organization is currently attempting to have Rickson Gracie fight on the card. October 11th would mark the 10th anniversary of PRIDE’s first show, an event   where Takada and Gracie fought each other.

No one from Zuffa’s side of things have confirmed anything about PRIDE returning at this point.

PRIDE Planning Museum Establishment

PRIDE Worldwide owner, Lorenzo Fertitta, has stated he has plans to build a museum establishment along with gyms and sports bars. Apparently the museum will be built in Tokyo and it will include a section commemorating PRIDE’s past and present champions.

From Nikkan Sports:

In the face of Headquarters Chief Takeda, the darkness completely it was not. On the contrary beginning and ending, “PRIDE museum” establishment plan was revealed with bright expression. With idea ??????it is the owner of the American comprehensive case competition group UFC, as for Headquarters Chief Takeda “in the vague place, it is the intention which is established in city center such as thought and Roppongi which is not the intention of making”. The museum the sport bar which lets flow the treasure goods exhibition and past tournament image of the successive ace, putting in place the actual ring, becomes the synthesis facility e.g., it can do also release practice and the fitness.