BUSHIDO: PRESS CONFERENCE AND INTERVIEWS
09/29/2003

A press conference was held on September 18th at a Tokyo hotel to announce the lineup for the October 5th PRIDE BUSHIDO.

The 5 announced matches will all be under a Japanese team vs. Gracie team theme. Unfortunately, "Mach" Sakurai, who was supposed to lead the Japanese team, will no longer be able to participate.

PRIDE BUSHIDO will be held on October 5th at Saitama Super Arena as a venue for next-generation, under-83 kg fighters to make a place for themselves in the MMA world.

The Gracie team, coached by Royce Gracie and consisting of Renzo, Ryan, Ralph, Rodrigo and Daniel had been announced previously. This day's meeting was to announce their Japanese opponents.

There was, however, some bad news at the conference. "Mach" Sakurai, who had been scheduled to fight Renzo, injured his right eye in his 9/15 DEEP match and will not be able to participate in BUSHIDO. Mach was intent on competing and had initially received an OK from the doctors. However, follow-up testing revealed that the orbital bone around his eye is broken. Mach apologized to his fans that were looking forward to seeing him fight and expressed his intent to fight harder in the future.

"Sakurai always said, and continues to say, that he wants to fight," explains DSE President Sakakibara, "but as the promoter, it would not be right for me to let him do so. I would like to see him fight once he is back in top mental and physical shape."

In addition to President Sakakibara and PRIDE's General Director, Nobuhiko Takada, the President of DEEP, Dokonjonosuke Mishima, Kazuhiro Nakamura and Daiju Takase were also present. Kazuhiro Hamanaka is currently training in America and was unable to attend.

 

 

 

DSE President Sakakibara: It's important to raise a new generation of fighters. I want these fighters will gain experience, improve their records and eventually fight in the Grand Prix. DSE and DEEP will combine their strengths to create a new stage for the fighters.

DEEP President Saeki: If it will help the martial arts community and help create a new environment, I'm willing to do everything from booking to sweeping the stadium to managing the fighters.

DSE General Director Nobuhiko Takada: These 10 fighters gathered here have the skills and the heart to become the best of the best. Facing a Gracie has been a test since the beginning of PRIDE. I think this line-up has real vitality. It's unfortunate about Mach. However, Carlos Newton will take his place. Newton has the samurai spirit and by his own choice, joined the Japanese team. I believe that these fighters will give us high-skilled and action-packed matches.

It seems that President Sakakibara originally asked Takada to be the coach of the Japanese team. Takada declined on the grounds that he is a middle-man and would be better suited to watching from the sidelines. Sakakibara replied "I think I'll call (Hidehiko) Yoshida, then. He's got experience as a coach."

Sakakibara also explained "as this is the first event, we're going by trail-and-error. I hope to have the final card by the end of this month and it will clearly show PRIDE's greatness." As possible candidates, he listed some names such as Emelianenko Fedor's brother, Chute Boxe's Assuerio Silva and Shogun, Murilo Ninja's brother, Norihisa Yamamoto, Eiji Mitsuoka and Yushin Okami (Mitsuoka and Okami are both Pre-Pride Champions).

President Saeki also indicated that Dos Caras, Jr. may fight. According to Sakakibara, there are around 12 planned fights but that will probably be squeezed down to 9 fights. There may also be a one-match fight between current top-class PRIDE fighters as the main event.

Fighter Comments

"I want them to be glad that they let me fight."
Dokonjyonosuke Mishima: This is the lightest weight-class so I want to show everybody my speed and technique. PRIDE is the top event in MMA and I'm very happy to be able to fight. I want them to be glad that they let me fight. I only now saw Ralph's profile and face. He looks violent so I'll train with Ryan in mind.

"He's getting better at striking so I'll trade with him"
Kazuhiro Nakamura: Chances like this are limited and I want to win. His striking has improved and I'll keep that in mind when training. I've also been putting a lot of work into my striking and I hope I'll be able to show it to you. I will definitely win.

"It'll be a fight to the death and I want to win."
Daijyu Takase: I think (Rodrigo) is the strongest out of all the Gracies. He's even stronger than Anderson (Silva) so I think it'll be a fight to the death and I want to win.