Wednesday, March 28, 2007

UFC buys out the competition.

The UFC announced the purchase of its main rival, Pride FC, which is based out of Japan. The move will bring most of the world's top MMA fighters together under one company although the two leagues will continue to be run as separate entities but will utilize the same rules. The merger makes possible future super fights between champions like Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Liddell, who had such a bout cancelled in November because of disagreements between the two organizations. Pride fell onto hard times financially when they lost their lucrative TV contract after allegations surfaced regarding possible ties to organized crime. The UFC purchase should allow for a renewed TV contract as well as providing current UFC fighters an ability to increase their international profile by fighting in front of the 80k+ crowds that regularly fill Japanese arenas to watch MMA, compared to the 30k that usually watch in the United States. My personal hope is that Pride also switches to the octagon style cage employed by the UFC in lieu of their current boxing ring type setup. The cage limits the number of restarts which occur quite frequently when fighters get tangled up in the ropes.

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