“The Japanese newspapers reported today in Tokyo, Japan that the UFC has bought Pride. The UFC/Pride rumor has been circulating for awhile, but the deal appears to be done. One of the newspapers in Japan, SportsHochi, reported that the Fertittas, who owns Zuffa which operates the UFC, will start a new company thus disbanding DSE(Dream Stage Entertainment, which has been the company that Pride has operated under). DSE/Pride President Nobuyuki Sakikabara, who brought Pride to the United States and was successful in making the Pride brand one of the most compelling MMA promotions in the world, is reportedly resigning from his position.
The new company that Pride will operate under apparently will not be run by UFC or Zuffa, but will be it’s own entity owned by the Fertittas. Thus Pride and the UFC being run separately. But, it is being reported that the two promotions will do a joint super show once a year. SportsHochi reports that Pride 34 on 4/8 will be the last Pride show run by DSE.
So will Pride be a Japanese or a United States promotion? Apparently, Pride looks to continue to do shows in both Japan and the United States. Intentions are to still have the Light Weight Grand Prix starting in May. The GP being made up of 3 shows, all taking place in Japan. And, the New Years Eve show is still in the plans to take place in Japan. There are also plans to do 2-3 more shows in the United States this year.”
This report falls into place with previous reports not only on this sale but also on what would happen to PRIDE in the event that it would be sold. There will be a press conference tomorrow in Japan that should put the rumors to rest and confirm the sale of PRIDE to the UFC.