Fighters Only: Do you miss Pride?
Rampage: I tell you what, I had some good times over in Pride. The UFC treats me better than Pride but the fans, the whole atmosphere… I remember after the fights in Pride, for the longest time they used to have these after parties right there in the arena. By the time the last fight was over you’d go and have a shower and then in the back room they would have a paty and the owners would talk to you and you would have some of, I guess the VIP fans, who had paid for the expensive tickets. You came back there and had the greatest time, some of the guys would be so cool. I have so much respect for Gary Goodridge, whether he won or lost he would be back there having a good time after the fights. I f I lost I would be all [sad face], moping around, drinking a little beer and eating. Gary would be laughing and joking around. They were the best times, that’s one of the things I miss most about Pride, the after parties right afterwards.
The production was one of the best things about Pride.
The first time I fought there they lowered me down in this cage, I was like 70 feet in the air and it was scary! Me and Sakuraba were in there, he was on one side and I was on the other. I didn’t know him. That was the first time I met him, up in the cage and he reached over and shook my hand. Sakuaraba turned out to be a really cool guy actually.
So what was bad about Pride?
A lot of things man. I don’t know what their problem was but they wouldn’t promote me at all, they cheated me out of money from dolls and t-shirts, not paying me… when my contract was up and we were negotiating and I wanted more money and they were telling me ‘oh but you’re a nobody’. This was after I had fought in the Grand Prix and beat Igor Vovchanchyn. Even after I went to that K-1 fight and represented them in K-1, they were mad I won that K-1 fight! Just stuff like that.
The old president was really cool but he said if I wanted to get on the talk show they had in America, he said ‘you’ve got to kiss the American [Pride] president’s ass’. I don’t kiss ass. Go ahead, I don’t need to do your show. And I think at the time I was one of the most popular American fighters that they had there. So they put some Japanese guy on the talk show - and he didn’t speak English! I was like ’Y’all some idiots’.
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