PRIDE FIGHTING'S first United States auditions took place this past Saturday, November 20, 2004. Over 100 participants from around the globe convened at the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) for the opportunity to be the next PRIDE FIGHTING SUPERSTAR. At stake-- PRIDE FIGHTING contracts and mixed martial arts scholarships.

Photo Gallery, Click Here.

The event was kicked off with speeches by the president of Dream Stage Entertainment, Mr. Nobuyuki Sakakibara, as well as by PRIDE's executive producer, Nobuhiko Takada. From there, lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight participants were given an opportunity to show their stuff by demonstrating their striking, grappling, and take down abilities. Among many, the judging panel included the likes of Bas Rutten, Matt Hume, Dan Henderson, Yuji Shimada, and Takada.

A myriad of talented fighters tried out including ex-Washington Redskins all-pro wide receiver, Michael Westbrook, who is looking to make the jump from the NFL to MMA.

PRIDE fighters in attendance included Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Dan Henderson, Carlos Newton, Dean Lister, and Chris Brennan.

To keep the atmosphere loose and entertaining, prize packages were given out containing PRIDE merchandise. Categories and winners included:

"Best Striker"
Karl-James Noons

"Best Shooter" (take downs)
Jake Draves

"Best Grappler"
Heath Simms

"Best Looking Fighter"
Nick Ring

"Best Physique"
Edwin Aguilar

"Globetrotter Award" (Fighter who traveled from the farthest location to attend the auditions)
Paul Colesby and Hakan Volkan (tie, both came from the United Kingdom)

"Gray Beard Award" (oldest fighter)
George Koeing

"Diaper Award" (youngest fighter)
Zach Taylor

"Bushido Award" (chosen by Nobuhiko Takada)
Chael Sonnen

"Grand Prize Winner" (random drawing for a trip to Japan to watch a PRIDE event)
Dan Theodore

With the auditions now complete, judges will review their notes and study video footage to come to their conclusions in awarding both the PRIDE contracts and MMA scholarships. Announcements will come in approximately one month.

For photos of the auditions please visit the "News" section of