AMATEUR PRIDE
12/09/2003

The referees and judges of PRIDE have come together to assist in the development of the next generation of PRIDE fighters.

The first Amateur Exchange Meeting was held in November. The goals were to foster exchange of MMA techniques and provide a sparring opportunity that would benefit the amateur fighters. Additionally, they made selections for fighters to appear in the first amateur PRIDE event, PRIDE Challenge 1. The event is scheduled to take place in January 2004.

Only 21 people were present due to the short notice. However, there was a large group of trainers, referees, Olympic athletes and MMA fighters present to teach the up-and-comers about weight training and conditioning, wrestling and sparring.

"I'd like to have an amateur competition about once every three months. It should be a neutral ring where fighters of any style and organization can test themselves, just like the real PRIDE", PRIDE Rule Director and Referee, Yuji Shimada commented.

"Fighters with no affiliations are also welcome. It's basically impossible for someone just starting out to jump into the main PRIDE event but we would like to raise some new fighters that are skilled enough to compete in THE BEST and DEEP'S Future Fight. That's the path to PRIDE. We want to hold events across Japan in order to bring in a wide variety of competitors." Shimada went on to explain that these exchange events will be held approximately once every two months, along with seminars put on by the coaches that have created today's PRIDE fighters.