Ok, Scott, I see what you have been doing. You have brought in a bunch of Pride's former stars, and even broke the bank for their most storied one in Fedor Emelianenko, and now have a strong collection of the former organization's fighters under one roof. You went ahead and hired Bobby Lashley and are now even talking about Dave Bautista fighting in the first half of the coming year. You are looking to book grudge matches like Nick Diaz vs Mayhem Miller. FEG is crumbling before our very eyes and the last vestiges of Pride are about to disappear forever. It is time to stop pussyfooting around. You have been poaching from Pride, now it's time to deliver the real thing. As Kid Nate discusses in his recent article FEG is for sale. Do I think you should buy them? Of course not! That is one huge mess over there. But, you should get the biggest shopping cart you can find and load up on what should be a great Yard Sale. Here is the shopping list you should bring back from Japan and incorporate into your organization as soon as the first card of the New Year:
1. The Yellow Card
Polls have been done over and over again and the result is almost always a resounding YES for the use of yellow cards in US MMA bouts. Inactivity in the cage kills interest. Whether it is the wrestler holding position or the dirty boxer leaning against the wall, none of us want to see it. Also, one thing that pisses me off a ton in US MMA is fighters grabbing on to the cage to gain control. It is not legal and it can turn the tide of a fight instantly, and all there is every time is a quietly barked warning from the ref. A fighter employs any one of these tactics and BOOM, Yellow Card, and 10% of your purse. You have three strikes and you are out. Watch how quickly these fighters adapt and relish the joy you have brought to thousands of fans.
2. The Stage
Pride FC 2006 Opening (Clear image!) (via Dunafraid)
No matter what, it is a show. We want to be entertained. I have long felt that the entrances for MMA fighters here in the US are beyond bland. When you look at the grand, monumental entrances of the Pride events it dwarfs anything we have seen here in domestic MMA. Instantly, you are transported to the importance of what you are about to witness. As these fighters, who many are larger than life, take that stage before they do battle, they fill it with the promise of what is to come. I would love to see that stage in some the great arenas across the US. When Fedor finally faces off against Fabricio Werdum, that is the stage both of them should enter through. Not the pedestrian catwalk and rinky dink pyros Strikeforce currently uses. Kick it up a notch!
3. The Ring
If FEG goes down I fear we might see the end of "The Ring". More and more of the smaller organizations, in order to resemble the brand that is UFC, have begun to do away with the ring and move to a cage. The ring is on the "endangered species" list in MMA and that you should do something about, Scott. There are so many reasons why you should incorporate the ring into Strikeforce. First, it would help define your brand in a similar way the Octagon defined the UFC brand. Second, your production value looks like it is on a budget and it probably is. The ring instantly gives you much better angles and gets us closer to the action without you having to spend a fortune on jib arms and such. Turn a weakness into a strength. Third, your most prized fighters are better suited to the ring. Some, like Fedor, have barely logged 10 minutes in a cage and it shows. Work to your strength. Your fighters will look and perform much better in the comfortable confines of a ring. It offers a real MMA alternative. A clear cut difference. I can already hear you saying "Yeah, we can try that for an event or two and see how it works." Fuck that. Just do it. Commit to it. Say this is who you are!
4. The Grand Prix
You wanted to do a one night Middleweight tournament and it got shot down. You have three divisions that are loaded with talent in your Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, and Heavyweight divisions. Instead of banging your head against State Athletic Commission's walls put on a Grand Prix tournament. Your best bet is probably the Middleweights but I have to say Heavyweight would be pretty damn awesome. Don't worry about injuries. Just line up the fighters, have legit alternates and do it. Opening night will be huge! You will have one of your biggest events of the year and your Final could be on CBS, hell, you might even make it to PPV.
There ya go. You have been playing around with this. C'mon. Admit it. You sit at home watching the monster events at Saitama, when Dana White was wishing he could get a third of that audience to watch his product, and it sends goosebumps down your back. You know there is a whole bunch of us out there that are just itching for you to take the plunge wholeheartedly. You will be able to put your own stamp on it. PRIDE ultimately failed. FEG is following in its footsteps. But, that failure was much more attributed to corruption than the actual product that was put on in the ring. That magnificent form of MMA still exists. As big time Japanese MMA suffers its last gasp you have the opportunity to pick up the mantle and bring it home, here, to our beloved States. Show us all the grandeur it was before it is gone forever. Be bold, Scott, and you will be rewarded!
Pride FC - Passion (My Love) (via Makaveli8)