by Ken Pishna and Scott Petersen – MMAWeekly.com
Ed Fishman is a revolutionary in the modern gaming industry. Can he do the same for modern day mixed martial arts? Struggling to remain competitive, Fishman is looking to lead the resurgence of the Pride Fighting Championships.
The president of Pride USA, Fishman is currently in negotiations to purchase Pride FC outright. Sources indicate that he is no longer interested in being a non-controlling investor in the promotion, but wants to own and direct the worldwide operations of the company.
Mixed martial arts is emerging as one of the fastest growing sports and entertainment properties in the world, but the longtime Japanese promotion has struggled recently with the loss of their television contract in Japan. It is believed that Fishman wants to take control so that he can lead the promotion out of its downturn. Apparently, there are already several international sponsorship deals, as well as major new television deals already in the works and close to being finalized.
If the deal does go through, in addition to continuing Pride’s presence in Japan and expanding in the United States, the promotion would likely move to include events in England, South Korea, and Macau (a special administrative region of China).
At this point, there are ongoing negotiations, but nothing has been finalized. Sources close to the situation are confident that Fishman will get the deal done and move forward with his plans to re-establish Pride as the global leader in the industry.
Those same sources indicated that the Ultimate Fighting Championship made an offer to purchase Pride, but their offer was declined.