NOBUYUKI SAKAKIBARA COMMENTS ON CROCOP'S WIN AND OCT 21ST'S: THE REAL DEAL
09/15/2006

Dream Stage Entertainment CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara responded to media questions following the September 11th post-PRIDE FINAL CONFLICT ABSOLUTE 2006 press conference held at a Tokyo hotel. Sakakibara commented on Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic's future schedule and the October Last Vegas event.


Nobuyuki Sakakibara, Dream Stage Entertainment CEO: I spoke with Mirko in the dressing room. Apparently, Croatia is going crazy (over his win). The entire country of Croatia is supporting him, enough so to gain a 50%~60% viewer share when they broadcast Mirko's fights on TV there. He's a national hero. I think Mirko's Open Weight Grand Prix victory was inspiring for the Croatian people. When I spoke to Mirko, he was smiling and he seemed to be enjoying the feeling of his dream finally coming true.
Wanderlei has some injuries from being hit but nothing that will have aftereffects, like a broken orbital bone. Nogueira is apparently really upset with the decision and he thinks that he won that fight. At any rate, I want to meet with him and listen to what he has to say.
I haven't spoken with Mirko about his next fight yet. He said that he wants to rest and after the fight he gave yesterday, it would be too cruel for me to come here today and say that "Mirko's next fight will be in the Las Vegas event against so and so." (laughing) This is a time of happiness for Mirko and I don't want to bring him back to reality yet. Mirko still has Fedor as a goal and Mirko is not the type of fighter to hesitate in the face of a challenge or to put one off. If he doesn't have any damage, I would like to arrange for him to compete in the Las Vegas event in October and if the timing is good for both fighters, I'd like to have a Fedor versus Mirko fight on New Year's Eve.
(Asked about a Croatian PRIDE event) Mirko said before that he would like to fight Nogueira in Croatia. Mirko probably envisioned himself beating Silva and then getting revenge on Nogueira in the Final Round. I'm sure that Mirko feels very strongly about paying Nogueira back (for his previous loss). Croatia is close to Europe and it's a resort location, so I think there is a possibility of holding a PRIDE Croatia event.
There are a lot of filing requirements for the event in America, so I hope to decide on the fight card within the next week to ten days. That decision will also include whether Mirko and Josh will fight, of course. Once those issues have become clear to us, we will announce additional cards. Among the Japanese fighters, my first task will be to see if Kazuyuki Fujita wants to fight. Then, we have to think about what to do with Hidehiko Yoshida and Kazuhiro Nakamura. We are also speaking to fighters in the Lightweight and Welterweight Divisions. I would like to have five Japanese fighters are the most and three and the least. We plan on a total of nine fights in the event."