Classic Pride Footage | lets take a look back at Pride 31, February 2006. Fresh of his Grand Prix victory, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua faces off with Heavyweight MMA Legend Mark Coleman. Shogun plants his arm during a take down and it snaps in half. Wanderlei Silva and the rest of the Chute Boxe team storm the ring and attack Coleman. Phil Baroni and Mark’s dad join in the wild brawl. What’s even better is what happens backstage afterwards.
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Pride Fighting Championships (Pride or Pride FC, founded as KRS-Pride) was a Japanese mixed martial arts promotion company founded by Nobuyuki Sakakibara and Nobuhiko Takada. Its inaugural event was held at the Tokyo Dome on October 11, 1997. Pride held more than sixty mixed martial arts events, broadcast to about 40 countries worldwide. Pride held the largest live MMA event audience record of 91,107 people at the Pride and K-1 co-production, Shockwave/Dynamite, held in August 2002, as well as the audience record of over 67,450 people at the Pride Final Conflict 2003. For ten years PRIDE was one of the most popular MMA organizations in the world.
In March 2007, Dream Stage Entertainment (DSE) sold Pride to Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta III, co-owners of Zuffa, which owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). While remaining as legally separate entities with separate managements, the two promotions were set to cooperate in a manner akin to the AFL-NFL merger. However, such an arrangement did not materialize, and in October 2007, Pride Worldwide’s Japanese staff was laid off, marking the end of the organization as an active fight promoter. As a result, many of the Pride staff left to form a new organization alongside K-1 parent company Fighting and Entertainment Group. That new organization, founded in February 2008, was named Dream. In 2015, Pride’s co-founder and former president Nobuyuki Sakakibara established Rizin Fighting Federation in Japan with the same philosophy and ambition as for the defunct Pride organization.
Pride Fighting Championships was initially conceived of in 1997, to match popular Japanese pro-wrestler Nobuhiko Takada with Rickson Gracie, the purported champion of the Gracie family of Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners. The event, held at the Tokyo Dome on October 11, 1997, and organised by the KRS (Kakutougi Revolutionary Spirits) promotion, attracted 47,000 fans, as well as Japanese mass media attention. The success of the first event enabled its promoters to hold a regular series of mixed martial arts events, and a year later in 1998, to promote a rematch between Takada and Gracie. With K-1 enjoying popularity in Japan, Pride began to compete with monthly showings on Fuji Television, as well as pay per view on the newly formed satellite television channel SKY PerfecTV. The series was taken over by the DSE after the dissolvement of the KRS following the fourth event and it was accordingly renamed as the Pride Fighting Championships.
In 2000, Pride hosted the first Pride Grand Prix, a two-part openweight tournament held to find the “world’s best fighter”. The tournament was held over the course of two events, with sixteen fighters competing in an opening round and the eight winners returning three months later for the final round.