3.27.07 PRESS CONFERENCE Comments from PRIDE Executive Director Nobuhiko Takada
03/26/2007

I first met Nobuyuki Sakakibara in June 1996. Shortly afterwards, we formed PRIDE together, and up to now, we've created 10 miraculous years. Over that decade, Mr. Sakakibara has given his life and his reputation to foster PRIDE to where it is now. PRIDE has evolved to this stage thanks to the care and love that he, his staff, the fighters, and the fans have nurtured it with throughout the years.



All this time, I've referred to Mr. Sakakibara as "Representative," but from now on, I think I'll call him "Barachan," just like in the old days. Barachan, thank you so much for everything that you've done over the past ten years, for all your efforts and your passion. Barachan has invested his entire life into PRIDE, and as he leaves the house he helped build, we echo the same sentiment: Nobuyuki Sakakibara, please come back someday.

 

 
   

 

We have a tremendous responsibility to make sure that the MMA institution we've built remains intact for eternity. Subsequently, the existing relationship and mutual values of Barachan and Lorenzo Fertitta appears to be something of a gift from the MMA gods. Because now, Barachan bequeaths the spirit of PRIDE to Lorenzo Fertitta, who shares in the love for this sport and the fighters who compete in it. In spite of its success over the past ten years, PRIDE was on the verge of destruction by the actions of uncaring people whose only concern was money.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, PRIDE is not being absorbed or acquired by the UFC. Lorenzo Fertitta is now in possession of two different teams, neither of which is superior to the other. This will be a new era of friendly and positive competition between these two teams. This is something we've been building up to for a long time, and I am a confident that 10 or 20 years down the road, PRIDE / UFC's rivals will in fact be other sports, as well as the Olympic games.

In closing, I also want to emphasize that PRIDE will continue to be the stage for the best fights between the greatest fighters in the world. Maintaining this high standard is a responsibility that we will continue to strive for under the leadership of Lorenzo Fertitta and with the support of our fans. Rest assured that we remain steadfast in dedicating all our efforts, our heart and soul, to bringing you the best of the best. PRIDE cannot exist without its fans, and as such, we hope that you will give us your continued support.