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Zuffa paid PRIDE CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara $10 Million for a 7-year non-compete clause

New documents shed light on Zuffa’s acquisition of Pride Fighting Championships. 

PRIDE Fighting Press Conference With Tommy Lee - January 11, 2006 Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Getty Images

New un-redacted legal documents from the UFC antitrust lawsuit reveal an interesting detail about Zuffa’s acquisition of Pride Fighting Championships. According to legal documents highlighted by Jonathan of Kowloon on Twitter, Zuffa paid $10 million to PRIDE CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara. This occurred during Zuffa’s acquisition of PRIDE. In return for the eight-figure sum, Sakakibara was to agree to a seven-year non-compete clause.

Sakakibara and fellow PRIDE executive Nobuhiko Takada officially announced on March 27, 2007, that Zuffa and its subsidiary Ultimate Fighting Championship had acquired Pride Fighting Championship. Sakakibara announced the signing of Fedor Emelianenko to his new promotion, which would go on to be called Rizin, on Sept. 19, 2015 -- one-and-a-half years after the non-compete clause would have concluded.

PRIDE officially stood for 10 years from 1997 to 2007. At its height, PRIDE was the number one promotion worldwide and boasted legendary fighters like Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Mirko Cro Cop, Kazushi Sakuraba, and more.

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