ANNOUNCE THE RENEWAL OF PRIDE BUSHIDO
04/11/2005

A press conference was held on April 6 to announce the renewal of PRIDE BUSHIDO. Until now, BUSHIDO has been a mix of themes but from now on, it will focus on the light-middleweight division. Dream Stage Entertainment CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara had harsh words for the fighters but fighters and promoter alike will work together to make BUSHIDO the greatest ring for light-middleweight in the world.

The main theme for this year's BUSHIDO series will be the PRIDE BUSHIDO Grand Prix schedule for this fall. According to Dream Stage Entertainment CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara, there will be two 8-man tournaments held at the same time for the -73kg and -83kg divisions. The May 22nd and the planned July BUSHIDO event will feature candidates fighting to prove that they deserve to be in the tournaments.

To achieve this goal, PRIDE will invite many strong fighters, regardless of nationality, in addition to light-middleweight fighters that have already appeared in PRIDE events. "We had Brazilians in the last BUSHIDO," Sakakibara explained. "However, we are inviting UFC fighters and Russian fighters to fight on May 22nd. After consulting with the UFC, they've agreed to send a UFC representative to fight in the May 22nd event. We also want to have both known and unknown fighters in May and July. There are a lot of foreign fighters with the potential to become professionals that Japanese fans have yet to see. There are a lot of foreign fighters like Mirko and Silva, so let's get them in the ring, pair them off with a Japanese fighter and let them fight it out."

As a renewal event, Gomi, Chonan, Mach or Minowa will be in the main event. Of the 10 expected fights, 8 will be light-middleweight fights. Although there will be a special heavyweight fight, according to Sakakibara, the promoters want to have a clear concept for each event, "As the promoter, we want to show the light-middleweights. We'll save the fights like Kosaka vs. Fedor for the regular PRIDE numbered series. We want to have distinct events with distinct themes, like the Grand Prix series, the numbered series and the BUSHIDO series."

Apparently, PRIDE has made offers to some top-level Japanese fighters in the stacked Japanese light-middleweight class. "I've talked to Ozaki, President of Pancrase, and Misawa and Gono are possible candidates. I'll be announcing even newer Japanese faces soon. We've already informally agreed with some big-name light-middleweight fighters to participate.

There will probably be some amateur athletes, as well. This morning, I went along with Chairman Fukuda from the Japan Wrestling Federation to watch a special all-Japan training session for amateur wrestlers. I want to give them a chance to become professionals if they are willing to give it all they have.

Takimoto has said that he would also like to fight at 83kg. I'm thinking of having him in a single match, in either June or August, then putting him into BUSHIDO. I'm sure he won't let us down. I also want to have more Japanese vs. Japanese matches."

It looks like BUSHIDO is going to become even harsher, where fighters try to survive, making it one of the toughest rings in the world.