Oh man, PrideFC. Where do I begin?
As you guys already know, I’m a huge MMA fan. I started watching MMA matches casually at my cousin’s house, and they were usually PrideFC matches. I didn’t understand just how epic and awesome the promotion was until I bought my own PrideFC DVD’s and started doing my own research (Wikipedia and other internet sites, what can I say, I’ve got some free time).
Most of the MMA events that are going on these days follow the “Mixed Martial Arts Unified Rules of Combat“. These rules are set up to offer maximum protection to the fighters involved, and with good reason. Besides winning a match via KO or unanimous decision, one can win a match via submission. That just increases the ways that anyone can get hurt. PrideFC….did things just a little bit differently. (Wikipedia, thanks again)
- Pride allows kicking and kneeing the head of a downed opponent. This is considered a foul in the Unified Rules, which only allows kicks and knees to the head of a standing opponent.
- Pride allows a fighter to stomp the head of a downed opponent. This is considered a foul in the Unified Rules.
- Pride allows a fighter to spike (piledriver) an opponent onto the canvas on his head or neck. This is considered a foul in the Unified Rules.
- Pride does not allow elbow strikes to the head of an opponent. The Unified rules allows elbows provided they are not striking directly down with the point of the elbow.
- Pride’s matches include a ten minute first round, with two minute rest periods. The Unified rules allow rounds no longer than five minutes, with rest periods not exceeding one minute.
- Pride’s matches are not judged on the ten point must system, rather judges score the whole fight. The Unified rules call for all matches to be judged using the ten point must system.
There were some opportunities for some real mayhem, as you can see above. Coupled with an insane production budget, PrideFC put on some amazing events. Besides the awesome numbered events (such as Pride.31), PrideFC also hosted the “Bushido” tournaments, which really pushed the pace of MMA fights. Stalling tactics and slow-paced action would be penalized by purse deductions, making for some fast-paced exciting combat.
For American broadcasts and subsequent DVD releases, we were treated to color commentary by MMA legends Bas Rutten and Mauro Ranallo. For someone that was just starting MMA training, their commentary and insight was nothing short of a godsend.
The people that competed in PrideFC comprise a true “Who’s who” in the MMA world. Here’s a (really) short list of their fighters.
- Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
- Murilo “Ninja” Rua
- Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
- Mark Coleman
- Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic
- Chuck Liddell
- Kazuyuki Fujita
- Shinya Aoki
- Tatsuya Kawajiri
- Sergei Kharitonov
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Big Nog)
- Antônio Rogério Nogueira (Little Nog)
- Josh Barnett
- Alistair Overeem
- Fedor Emilianenko
- Alexander Emilianenko
- Mark Hunt
- Dan Henderson
- Don Frye
- Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi
- Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva
- Fabricio Werdum
- Kazushi Sakuraba
- Ryan Gracie
- Rickson Gracie
- Akihiro Gono
- Denis Kang
Some of the names stand out more than others I’m sure, but it’s a testament to the caliber of fighters that fought in the Saitama Super Arena (mostly).
You also had some crazy ring entrances. Oh yes. Even featuring current pop stars that wear pompadours. (Akihiro Gono, you card.)
In 2007, the PrideFC organization folded, due to a myriad of factors. Its soul lives on in the “Dream” fight organization, as many of the staffers that ran PrideFC joined the Fighters’ Entertainment Group (FEG). Many of their fighters joined up with Dream afterwards, and their sister group in the US, Strikeforce.
You’re probably asking…what made PrideFC so special that even long after its demise, MMA fans still talk fondly about it? If you ask me, I think it’s…love. The people that put PrideFC together had a lot of pride and love for their events and it shows. You did see the intro sequences for the events earlier on in the blog post, didn’t you? That stuff was epic. The PrideFC theme song, Lenne Hardt’s crazy announcing, the fireworks, the fighters, the roaring crowd…it was all so much to take in. The spirit of PrideFC still lives on, even today.