The Fertitta Files: Sayonara Pride Fighting Championships

via www.worldofcombat.net

We've talked about the UFC's foreign adventures this week, discussing mostly Lorenzo Fertitta's plan to bring the UFC to Asia and into mainland Europe. It's an exciting time to be a fan of MMA-this decade we could be looking at hundreds of fight shows taking place every year all over the world. But before getting worked up, it's important to remember the lessons learned from Pride, the UFC's first major Asian entanglement.

Last weekend, in case anyone had any wild pipe dreams, Fertitta killed the Japanese promotion. The UFC's owner put a stake in the heart of any potential Pride comeback:

Originally, when we bought Pride, we were going to keep it running. In fact there was an event scheduled and we were going to try to pull it together. The deal got hung up and we had to cancel that event. One thing led to another and it didn't make sense to keep going...you never say never, but right now we don't have any plans to bring back Pride. It's a cool brand and we are selling a lot of the merchandise. But one of the things we've found is that it's hard to rebuild that momentum.

Josh Barnett blamed the UFC's failure in Japan on a cultural divide.  MMA fans in Japan already had a product they were comfortable with.  They wanted Pride, not a UFC event with merely cosmetic changes and a different logo:

"The Japanese had no interest in it after Dana White said they were going to make changes to the regulations to make it like the UFC," Barnett explained. "Basically, everyone told me, `That's it, we don't want this. We won't support this. Pride Worldwide is basically just UFC in Japan, so we don't want anything to do with it.'"

This is what concerns me about the UFC's efforts in China and Germany. The UFC can promote successfully in a variety of locales, but they will have to make concessions to local style and custom. A cookie cutter approach won't work. The lessons of Pride loom over all future expansion efforts.  Has Zuffa learned them?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker