Dreamstage Entertainment produced Pride 34: Kamikaze today in 2007. Pride FC‘s first event held after Zuffa acquired it, it was the last event the Japanese fight promotion would ever hold.
The card proved less than stellar, with a key-lock submission by former boxer Butterbean on the hippo-sized Brazilian “fighter” Zuluzinho proving to be the highlight of a dull night of fights.
After the event many an idealist-mma fan held out hopes of Dana White and the Fertitta Bros. allowing Pride FC to continue operations, perhaps in parallel to the UFC, allowing them to organize unification super-fights between their rosters champions and contenders.
This would prove to be a pipe dream for fight fans as Zuffa quickly announced plans to dismantle the company, absorb some of it’s roster to the UFC, and let go of all other former staff.
This did allow the UFC to in the following year hold a number of fights that it previously hadn’t been allowed, Wanderlei Silva’s sort-of-super-fight with Chuck Liddlell and Dan Henderson’s two title fights against Rampage Jackson and Anderson Silva among those bouts.
The only remnants left of Pride FC now are all DVD’s produced prior to the buyout (all readily available on amazon and some even for rental on Netflix-ahem- mailing service) and what Zuffa chooses to air on Fox Sports or have available for streaming on their web service.
With it’s shameless pageantry and more brutal rules, Pride FC captivated fight fans world-wide. Competing head to head with what would become the global king of combat sports during a time when competition among promotions was vital for encouraging high quality events from both products.
To the bitter end Pride maintained an identity all it’s own. With events that had extravagant sets, post fight monologues from fight winners, and freak show fights, Pride FC held unique shows mixed martial arts fans still hold fondly in their hearts today.
The latest Today in MMA History post can be found here.