‘New PRIDE’ to be called Rizin Fighting Federation
A press conference was held in Tokyo, Japan, and some details about the show informally called “New PRIDE” were detailed.
First, the name is not Samurai FC as had been rumored. It is Rizin Fighting Federation.
The greatest heavyweight in MMA history, Fedor Emelianenko, had already been announced for the main event. Although promotional materials had said his opponent would be named, none was.
Fedor is rumored to be fighting Indian-Japanese heavyweight kickboxer Jaideep Singh. Singh is on a three-fight losing streak in kickboxing, losing one in each of the past three years. He has not won since 2011. In 2013 he had the first and so far only MMA fight of his career, a win over an Iranian fighter who was then 0-1, and has not fought since. In 2010 Singh had a grappling match with Hideki Sekine and lost 1-27.
Prior to the rumor about Singh, the boss of the new organization, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, has set expectations high.
“We would like to select a fighter who will mean something for the future of mixed martial arts,” he said.
The news that Fedor would be fighting someone unfit to be his sparring partner was not well received. Jaideep Singh does not mean something for the future of mixed martial arts, hopefully. Hopefully a new opponent will be named. Hopefully the new opponent is not Bobby Ologun.
As long as we are all hoping, let's hope New PRIDE does not collapse. Old PRIDE died when Miro Mijatovic, the former manager for Mirko Cro Cop and Fedor Emelianenko, filed a lawsuit in Japan that alleged Yakuza ties to the promotion. This resulted in a loss of the television deals that were at the center of PRIDE's financial viability. For details, check out Dan Herbertson's interview of Miro Mijatovic on Spike TV's MMA Uncensored.
Mr. Ishizaka (Kim Dok Soo), the mob boss who is believed to have acquired control of PRIDE, and later sold it to ZUFFA, reportedly fled to Korea when Yakuza ties to PRIDE were alleged in the suit, and repeated in newspaper articles. Ishizaka's front man was alleged to be Nobuyuki Sakakibara, the new boss at Rizin.
The new promotion will begin with a three-day extravaganza, called the Rizin Fighting World Grand Prix 2015. It will take place in Saitama Super Arena, PRIDE's former home.
There will be fight events on Dec 29 and 31, with a fan day on the 30th. It will air in the USA on Spike. Bellator's Sean Grande and Jimmy Smith will do the color commentary for Spike.
Bouts will be fought under PRIDE Rules. Rizin has partnered with Bellator MMA, KSW, Jungle Fight, BAMMA, and King of Kings for talent, although little was announced for fights.
Fedor will fight TBA on Dec 31.
Kazushi Sakuraba will fight Shinya Aoki on Dec 29.
Gabi Garcia will fight TBA (not Rena Kubota)
Rena Kubota will fight TBA (not Gabi Garcia)
Further details should come out in the coming weeks and months.