This is part four of a Q&A session with Dana White that I posted earlier. I didn’t have time to watch the whole thing before, but now that I have, I felt this part included something worthy of pointing out.
[EDIT 08/08/08 2:24AM] – Something weird happened with the video and it started playing the wrong part, or maybe I put up the wrong one (swear I double checked it) Anyways, this is the correct video.
It’s believed by many that the UFC bought PRIDE with the intentions of killing it, although when the deal took place, Zuffa claimed they had every intention of keeping PRIDE alive. In fact, according to former PRIDE owner Nobuyuki Sakakibara, part of the agreement of the PRIDE sale was for Zuffa to maintain the PRIDE brand and continue promoting shows under its banner. Obviously, that never materialized. White claimed, “I’ve pulled everything out of the trick box that I can and I can’t get a TV deal over there with PRIDE. I don’t think they want us there. I don’t think they want me there.”
Then earlier this year, Sakakibara, Ubon, and Dream Stage Holdings filed a lawsuit against PRIDE FC Worldwide, which was setup by Zuffa for the PRIDE acquisition, claiming Zuffa never had any intention promoting PRIDE events. To my knowledge, no one from Zuffa has ever admitted to purchasing PRIDE for the purpose of killing it.
Now in this video, White talks about the “real reason” why they signed Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. In White’s own words:
“Fifty times we thought it was over and we were buying PRIDE, then we hear they were talking to these guys and these guys and kept stringing us along. So when Mirko Cro Cop’s deal came up, we went after Mirko aggressively, signed him, and that really started to unravel PRIDE. He was really tight with them, so once we were able to take him away, all the other fighters started talking to us too. And that was basically the last nail in the coffin for those guys. It was really a business move to buy PRIDE. That’s why we signed Cro Cop.
It wasn’t like we brought Cro Cop in and thought he was going to take over the heavyweight division or anything. I think that’s what the fans thought—the hardcore fans who really knew a lot about PRIDE—but it was a business move to kill PRIDE.”
Maybe I’m misunderstanding what he’s saying, but it sounds like he’s admitting that they intended to kill PRIDE.