SHOCKWAVE PRESS CONFERENCE HELD IN TOKYO
11/28/2006

The first press conference concerning PRIDE's New Year's Eve show SHOCKWAVE, to be held at Saitama Super Arena, was held at the Dream Stage Entertainment office in Tokyo on November 21st. PRIDE General Director Nobuhiko Takada announced the SHOCKWAVE fight card and made comments regarding possible fighters, television broadcasts and a big surprise.

The first press conference concerning PRIDE's New Year's Eve show SHOCKWAVE, to be held at Saitama Super Arena, was held at the Dream Stage Entertainment office in Tokyo on November 21st. PRIDE General Director Nobuhiko Takada announced the SHOCKWAVE fight card and made comments regarding possible fighters, television broadcasts and a big surprise.


2006 was a roller-coaster year for PRIDE with their withdrawal from regular television and their full-scale entry into the American market. Nobuhiko Takada, PRIDE's General Director, announce the main outline of the event that will close out 2006, SHOCKWAVE, including a partial fight card. The themes and subtitles for the previous two New Year's Eve events were "destiny" and "summit". However, the theme for this year's SHOCKWAVE was appropriately decided as "indestructible." Takada commented on the decision, "This has been a busy year for PRIDE and I have also used the word "indestructible" several times. We used "indestructible" as the subtitle for the New Year's Eve event in order to reflect the return to our roots while overcoming difficulties and to get off to a good start as we move into 2007."

The first match announced for SHOCKWAVE was a PRIDE Heavyweight Championship title match between the current Champion Fedor Emelianenko and Mark Hunt. Takada explained how this match developed, "After taking the belt from Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Fedor defended the Heavyweight Championship title against Nogueira and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic a total of three times. A rematch with Mirko was our first choice. However, Mirko has had surgery on his leg and he is not in his best condition. We want them to fight each other when they're both in top condition and didn't want to rush it, so we decided against a title match with Mirko.

The next name brought up was Josh Barnett. Josh has already fought six matches this year, much like Mirko did for a time. 2006 was a hard year for Josh, full of tough opponents in a tough schedule. For those reasons, he hasn't been able to take care of his body as well as he needed to. Josh wants to fight (Fedor) in his best condition and we want to put that fight together when he is in his best condition but for now, we have decided against it.

So, we decided that Mark Hunt would be the best opponent in terms of the fight card's impact. Hunt only made it to the Best 8 of the Open Weight Grand Prix but when I think about the time that Fujita's punch made Fedor's knees wobble, a match with Fedor against Hunt, MMA's hardest puncher and the toughest chin in the business, would likely be an exciting fight. There is always the chance that Hunt will knock Fedor out and Hunt has wins over Mirko and Wanderlei Silva in previous New Year's Eve events. There are also man fans that want to see a Fedor versus Hunt match and that is how this title match was realized."

Hunt began training immediately after the Open Weight Grand Prix concluded and is apparently in top condition. Hunt has given up his days of lazy training and is now training hard as he aims for PRIDE's summit. Fedor himself has previously mentioned Hunt as a possible title match opponent and negotiated towards that matchup, and current information indicates that he's fully satisfied with this decision. "We don't expect Fedor to grapple right from the start," Takada said. "Of course, I think they will trade strikes at first. I'm sure we will be able to see the striking battle that the fans and the staff here hope for."

Takada also announced some additional "PRIDE ALL-STARS" that will compete. "We are planning for a total of 10 fights. So, as you can tell by looking at these names, only the best of the best fights will be matched.

Today we have announced a Heavyweight Championship title match but there is still a possibility of a title match or matches in other weight classes, too.
Regarding Japanese fighters, Hidehiko Yoshida and Kazuyuki Fujita are almost confirmed. There are also some expectations for BUSHIDO fighters, too, so the percentage of Japanese fighters will probably increase. There was a big impact last year so we want to see, and put together, a Japanese versus Japanese match. We want to put together a card that will exceed last year's Yoshida versus Ogawa match, regardless of weight class. We need at least one or two fights between Japanese fighters. Our intent is to put together a fresh card like you've never seen before rather than rematches and revenge matches."

"We have some surprise fighters," Takada continued, predicting a surprise. "If I told you who there are though, they wouldn't be a surprise, right? (laughing) We are working on putter together a surprise card. Please be surprised when we make the announcement!" Although Takada didn't make any clear declarations, he doesn't usual speak of surprises so this must be something big. "We are also currently in final negotiations regarding television products," Takada added. "Last year, we had them open up six hours in prime-time on New Year's Eve.

We've had a lot of calls from fans that can't come to the venue (this year) and we won't give up until the end. Of course, there are some people that may say we should give up but it's not as though the (TV networks) have told us that there is no chance."

Everyone's attention is now focused to see how this New Year's Eve SHOCKWAVE will develop..