Q AND A WITH SAKAKIBARA, FUJITA, TAKADA, INOKI
04/21/2003

DE Executive Producer, Antonio Inoki
Do you feel alive? PRIDE is alive today. What will happen from now on? Move forward without fail. When you move, you will understand! An exciting PRIDE is waiting for you and that's why we've got this press conference today. At the same time of PRIDE's rebirth is the appointment of the new General Manager, Nobuhiko Takada. I believe that he's going to help PRIDE become even more exciting and ask you all for your support.

PRIDE General Manager, Nobuhiko Takada
As the Executive Producer, Mr. Inoki, said, I was appointed to General Manager recently. I promise that I will do my best to improve PRIDE and do my job in a way that I can be proud of. As a part of that, I'd like to announce one fight for PRIDE 26.

As many of you remember vividly from RPIDE 25, there was a man who completely dominated Nogueira. That man, Fedor, with his incredible strikes will be challenged head-on by Kazuyuki Fujita. I feel certain that this will be an excellent card for PRIDE's restart. Now, I'd like to get some comments from Fujita, who has come here today.

Kazuyuki Fujita
Good afternoon. It will be about 2 years since my last appearance in PRIDE. Being the man I am today is due to PRIDE. PRIDE's eternal theme is a call to the strongest and that's why I've come back. That's why I decided to fight Fedor, the current PRIDE Heavyweight Champion. He's the best and the brightest at this moment. That's all.

 

       

 

Pride Fighting Championships : How many fighters will participate in the PRIDE GP?
Nobuyuki Sakakibara: We are currently thinking around 8 fighters. But, honestly, we're not sure. It will be really tough to pick just 8 fighters out of the Middleweight division. We are still leaving the option of 16 fighters open.
Pride: Mr. Takada. What will you be responsible for as the "General Manager"?
Nobuhiko Takada: To put it simply, I'll do anything asked of me. (laughing)
Pride: Will Fedor vs. Fujita be a Heavyweight Championship match?
Sakakibara: It will be a NON-title match.
Pride: Mr. Fujita, what do you think of your fight being a non-title match?
Kazuyuki Fujita: I'd like to get my hands on the belt, of course, but fighting the strongest fighter in the ring is the most important thing. Rather than fight for the belt, I want to fight to see who's got the most heart.
Pride: You will also be fighting a Vale Tudo match against Nakanishi Manabu at the May 2nd New-Japan Pro-Wrestling event.
Fujita: I feel proud that I will be able to fight the world's strongest man in PRIDE and the world's stupidest man in New-Japan.
Pride: Will the January event be the only event held in America next year?
Sakakibara: The January even is the only one finalized but I'd like to have 2 or 3 more in America. It's possible that both the preliminary and final rounds of the PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix will be held in America. We've only announced the schedule as far as March of next year but I think it will be safe to say that there will be more matches in America. In the mean time, we want to have the January event and see how that goes.
Pride: Mr. Takada, do you think Sakuraba will be fight in the July or August events?
Takada: He wants to fight but it will depend on his training, among other things. My honest opinion is that I would like for him to concentrate solely on PRIDE Grand Prix.
Pride: Will your main responsibility be match making?
Takada: I believe that the fans are basically the ones that do the match making. Based on the fans' voices, fighters and promoters make interesting events. It's not the case that only 1 person decides who fights.