A press conference to announce the card for the PRIDE Bushido 4 card (Nagoya City, July 19 th ) was held in Tokyo on July 1 st. DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara and General Director Nobuhiko Takada had startling news. If the fighters in this Bushido don't show some promise, there may not be another Bushido!




A wave of nervous tension ran through the conference room and even the fighters were clearly shaken. It was Takada that lit the fuse, "I always save a few words at the rules meetings before every rule meeting, whether it be for PRIDE or Bushido. And, I always say the same thing. ??our fight will not be judged by you or someone on your team. The fans are the ones that judge your fight. If the fans don't rate you highly, then you don't rate at all.' That ring is a place where you can express yourself but it also your workplace. No matter how much hard work the promoters put into the show, it's up to the fighters in the end to make that workplace be all it can be. That's how PRIDE became so great. Unfortunately, Nagoya ticket sales aren't going so well, despite having these great fighters. I want everyone to be themselves, fighting as aggressively as possible for yourself and give a fight that will leave the MMA industry, the fans and the press in a state of shock. This Bushido, the 4 th , will be a turning point. I'm asking you, from my heart, to give the greatest fights possible and show what each of you is worth."

Hearing this, Sakakibara added, "We are going into the Nagoya event with the resolve to make it the last, depending on the results. If the fans don't support it, there's no reason to continue. We are in a position to create events so we can't be satisfied with things that only please ourselves. I hope that we will be able to present Bushido 4 in a way that as many people as possible will scream with excitement."

Sakakibara continued the tough talk after the press conference, "This event will decide everything. That's how serious we are. Carrying on any further would just be masturbation. We're not demanding that they produce results immediately. What we are asking for is that the fighters show us that they have what it takes to amaze the fans. Bushido is definitely in trouble."

As you can tell by reading this, neither President Sakakibara nor General Director Takada has a positive outlook for Bushido. They're not saying that it's boring or that they want to quite, either. They are asking the fighters directly, why aren't the fans happy despite having this caliber of fighters?

A gap between Bushido and PRIDE has definitely developed and the spectators' movements and the reaction of the fans at the event demonstrate this. It's probably accurate to say that, from a fan's perspective, if they're going to pay the same amount of money, they might as well go to PRIDE.

In the past 3 Bushidos, there were many fights that stalled or went to decision. Even fights that were able to get the hardcore fans excited have not been able to thrill the average fan. What are the fans paying for? They are paying for an exciting fight, a fight that they can enjoy watching. No matter how many great fighters you get together, if the fights aren't just as great, the fans will leave. On that point, Bushido has been a let down compared to PRIDE, when the quality of the fights are compared.

Some of the fighters gathered on this day were probably upset at hearing this. If that's the case, they need to take that anger out in the fight. It would be better for them to show aggressive, exciting and thrilling fights, that don't fail in comparison to PRIDE, and then say "What do you think of me now?" It's not enough to fight for yourself. A pro fighter has to fight to entertain the fans.

Don't let the Bushido fire die out! They can't let the "dream stage" that was built for the light and middleweight fighters to just disappear. No matter how good the performers and the equipment are, what the fans are really judging is the fight itself. This may be their last chance so these fighters must fight as if the fate of the entire show depends on them and put everything on the line.