Statement from Nobuhiko Takada, PRIDE General Manager, during PRIDE 26

"I thought of a message for everyone so please give me a moment of your time (pulls out a sheet of paper). Tonight is the 26th event in the PRIDE series or 28th if you count the Grand Prix.

Looking back on it, it has been a bumpy road for PRIDE but we made it this far by keeping our eyes on the road ahead. PRIDE will not stop in its tracks. PRIDE will not stop advancing. PRIDE is aiming for a new world and will be reborn as many times as it takes. The name of this even is REBORN (in Japan) and that's a message to ourselves and a statement of intent to the fans. The same as the fights here tonight, no matter what hits you take, you always get up.

That is the spirit of REBORN. This year in August, we will enter a new ground again. It will be the toughest tournament in the world under the blazing August sun. It will be the PRIDE middleweight tournament."

(suddenly, the spotlight moves to Wanderlei Silva at ringside)




Takada: Wanderlei Silva, good evening.
Silva: Good evening.
Takada: As the Champion, will you fight in the Grand Prix?
Silva: I will.
Takada: I see. You are a man!
( Rampage appears behind Takada)
Takada: Rampage, if you want to fight Wanderlei Silva, fight in the Grand Prix.
Rampage: I'll fight him.
Takada: You too are a man.
(From outside the ring: Wait a minute! Mr. Takada!)
Renzo Gracie: Do you plan on putting on a Grand Prix without a Gracie?
Takada: Are you going to fight Renzo? (laughing)
Renzo: Unfortunately, no. We're going to send someone from the Gracie family.
Takada: Ok, I see. The Gracies are men among men. But, aren't we forgetting someone important? Sakuraba! Get out here!
( Sakuraba makes his masked entrance)
Sakuraba: I'm a little shy so I'll keep the mask on. Recently I've had a lot of losses. I'm sick of losing. Mr. Takada, I accept your offer to fight in the PRIDE Grand Prix.
Takada: Saku. Are you okay?
Sakuraba: Yes, I'm fine.
Takada: Sakuraba, you are also a man among men. Everyone, August 10th will be an incredible battle. Let's all meet in Saitama!