by Korey Howard
July 17, 2005, Nagoya Rainbow Hall – Between the 5th and 6th matches on the Bushido 8 card Nobuhiko Takada took the ring in front of 9784 fans and officially announced the holding of the Bushido Grand Prix. This Grand Prix has been rumored for several months now, and it will become reality on September 25 at Tokyo’s Ariake Colosseum.
According to Mr. Takada’s announcement, the Grand Prix will be held in two weight classes, welterweight(83kg) and lightweight(73kg), with 8 participants in each weight class. He stated that the first and second rounds will be held on 9/25, and that the finals will be held within the year. The winners of each weight class will not only be crowned as Grand Prix champions, but will also be named as the first welter- and lightweight champions of PRIDE.
In his statement to the press later on in the evening, Dream Stage Entertainment president Nobuyuki Sakakibara further clarified Mr. Takada’s announcement. According to Mr. Sakakibara, other than the 9/25 start a lot has yet to be decided about the GP. “We have not yet decided who will be invited to compete. We also don’t know at this time what the ratio of Japanese to non-Japanese fighters will be, but given the number of world class fighters in these weight classes, it is going to be tough to narrow the field down to 8 (at each weight).”
Mr. Sakakibara went on to say that there are still decisions to be made concerning when each round will be held. He commented, “The scenario Takada announced is only one that we are looking at at this time,” but indicated that there is a good possibility that the final round will be held at this year’s Man Festival.