UFC proves you can buy PRIDE
Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, owners of the UFC, have agreed to purchase PRIDE, including all contracts and tape archives, for $65 million dollars from majority owner Nobuyuki Sakakibara. The new company will be called Pride FC Worldwide Holdings LLC, and plans are already in the works for a couple of massive PPV events and some serious title unifications.
The Brothers Fertitta have been quite active in the MMA world over the last year. Their acquisition of PRIDE comes on the heels of their recent purchases of competitors World Extreme Cagefighting and World Fighting Alliance. One of their former WFA fighters, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, is set to challenge Chuck Liddell for the UFC Heavyweight Championship in Las Vegas at a May 26th pay-per-view event, so look for the PRIDE fighters to be added to the mix immediately.
While this is a great thing for mixed martial arts in general, it is very bad news for K-1, Showtimes upstart EliteXC, and the International Fight League. The UFC surpassed $200 million PPV revenues, and routinely surpasses boxing events in total buyrate, so the rich keep getting richer.
If it brings MMA to greater visibility, then awesome. As any boxing fan can tell you, too many sanctioning bodies dilutes the quality of competition and harms the image of the sport. So does rampant corruption. As long as the Fertittas can keep the Mafia and Yakuza away, and keep their corporate nose clean, this is great news for violence fans.