PRIDE BEER GARDEN HELD IN TOKYO
09/02/2006

The PRIDE BEER GARDEN, an exclusive PRIDE Fan Club event, was held in Tokyo on September 1st. PRIDE General Director Nobuhiko Takada, PRIDE BUSHIDO Public Relations Office Shigeru Saeki and PRIDE fighter Hidehiko Yoshida all participated in the event.


Approximately 100 fans gathered to drink, play games and make predictions on who would win the Grand Prix.


"CHEERS," Nobuhiko Takada, General Director of PRIDE, began the event on a hot summer night in front of the large groups of fans gathered at the beer garden. Takada was careful to keep everything under control, though, and drank slowly as the talk show began.

Takada was to give a review of the PRIDE BUSHIDO 12 event held the previous month at Nagoya's Rainbow Hall, but handed the baton off to Saeki, saying that Saeki knows more about BUSHIDO than he.

"There were many incredible fighters," Saeki responded. "It was good too, too much of a competition. Gomi said that there were talking about him behind his back and they should get into the ring after his fight. It would have been even more interesting if someone had actually taken the bait."

Takada's opinion, however, was a little more pointed, "I could really feel their techniques and spirit. I know that Misaki and Gono were in top form but I had hoped for them have a little more rage." Yoshida hadn't seen the fights yet because of his trip to Las Vegas and only knew the results. He praised Chonan, who was training with Kazu (Nakamura), "Chonan was injured and had just left the hospital. He had a plate in his face so he was probably frightened. He lost to Paulo but I think that it's amazing that he still fought under those conditions."

The three men then made predictions on who would win the PRIDE FINAL CONFLICT ABSOLUTE 2006, the Final Round of the Open Weight Grand Prix, to be held on September 10th at the Saitama Super Arena. All four remaining fighters are rivals and all four are the legitimate top fighters of their divisions. As such, predictions were divided. Saeki predicted Nogueira, Takada predicted Josh and Yoshida predicted Mirko to become the first Open Weight Division Grand Prix Champion. Yoshida, who has lost to Mirko previously, said, "Getting kicked by Mirko feels like being beaten with a wooden bat but I'd rather have Mirko win and then have a revenge match."


Finally, the topic of conversation moved to the PRIDE THE REAL DEAL event, to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada in October Even some fans gathered at this event in Tokyo intended to travel to Las Vegas for THE REAL DEAL.

Take spoke confidently about one of the highlights of the event, Mark Coleman VS Fedor Emelianenko, "I think the American fans are going to be shocked to see PRIDE Fighters' level of strength compared to that of UFC Fighters."

The possibility of Mike Tyson fighting in PRIDE has also gained a lot of attention. Yoshida, having already spoken with some media about his desire to fight Mike Tyson in a comeback match, spoke about his secret strategy, "I'm ready to fight. I will have to guard my ears so he doesn't bite them off, though."

In the 2nd half of this night's event, the three men spent time with the fans, including shaking all their hands and playing games. One prize given away was the right to climb into the ring before the Grand Prix Final Round begins and have commemorative photos taken.

The even was two hours long yet it still felt as if it was over in just minutes. Takada had a great time meeting the fans and closed out the event with a word of thanks, "We will use the support we receive from all of you as energy and continue to do our best in the future."