It appears Rizin Fighting Federation wanted to recreate the Pride FC days as much as possible for their first Dec, 31st show.
According to a recent interview with Russian media, former Pride FC boss and current Rizin FF owner Nobuyuki Sakakibara showed interested in veterans Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Crocop. However, he was unable to obtain them due to their contractual obligations with the UFC.
"We had plans at the invitation of Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop, but only Fedor was free from various linking contracts," Sakakibara told cageside.ru. "The Japanese public is very curious to see Wanderlei Silva at our tournament, but he is bound by the obligations with UFC. If he is freed, then we'd definitely get in contact with him."
Despite his inability to negotiate with the Pride legends, Sakakibara added that he had several other legends that he was currently considering for the event.
"I want to see all of US fighters who fought in PRIDE. I contacted Ricardo Arona, and invited him, but he was forced to reject because of his knee injury, and he does not know how long it will take to recover.
"We also want to give a chance to fighter over 45 years old. We see that Dan Henderson is 45 and continues to compete. When I was in the United States today, I spoke with Royce Gracie. He said that he is ready to fight. Ken Shamrock is also interested. We could organize a fight between Walid Ismail and Royce Gracie, for example."
Nevertheless, while it appears that Sakakibara is out to resurrect Pride FC, he insists that that is simply not the case.
"On December 29, we will hold a tournament that will remind everyone about PRIDE. Everything will take place in exactly the same ring. The December 31 tournament will be held with more refined measures. The tournament will be in a ring, but not an ordinary ring. This will be something you have never seen before. We are building it now. You will be shocked. The show will have nothing to do with PRIDE."