Former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira made a statement to his fans and the media following his performance in the 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix. One of the favorites of the tournament, Nogueira defeated Hirotaka Yokoi, Heath Herring, and Sergei Kharitonov to reach the finals against Fedor Emelianenko.

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From Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

I am very disappointed at the outcome of the final round of PRIDE FC: FINAL CONFLICT 2004.

I trained very hard to win the title of tournament champion. I was ready to give my life for this tournament and I made it to the final round against Fedor Emelianenko, who still owes me a shot for the heavyweight title.

After I lost to Fedor at PRIDE FC: BODY BLOW (March 16th, 2003 at Yokohama Arena), I reflected on everything and worked very very hard to reach my final destination and goal---defeating Fedor. In the biggest and the best ring of this universe at PRIDE FC, I was stopped before being able to give 100% in order to accomplish my goal. I am still coping with the whole situation. The decision made by the promoter, Dream Stage Entertainment (DSE), was the right decision as a promoter of the fight; however, I am not satisfied with the whole ordeal. I believe that I should have been the winner of the fight, under every circumstance, because I was still able to continue fighting, as opposed to Fedor. However, if the fans are hoping for the final showdown between me and Emilianenko Fedor, I am not able to give specific dates, but I will fight for my fans and for myself, in order to resolve this situation once and for all. I will win the tournament belt and also the heavyweight belt that was taken from me by Fedor.

I am repeating myself, but I want to make my point clear---I have been training rigorously, so that I can stand at the apex of PRIDE FC. I want to prove that I am the strongest and best fighter in the world.

I promise my Brazilian Top Team teammates, who have given me the utmost support, and last but not least, to my fans, that I will be standing at the apex.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira