by Zach Arnold – FightOpinion.com
Zach Arnold of FightOpinion.com has been one of the news leaders in covering the current situation with Dream Stage Entertainment/Pride now that Fuji TV has cancelled its contract with DSE.
For the first time, DSE executives have commented on the monumental move that was made by Fuji TV earlier this week. Plus, Antonio Inoki makes a public statement about the situation, and Fuji TV takes further action against DSE. The following text is courtesy of Zach Arnold of FightOpinion.com.
DSE press conference notes
A very mixed, but big crowd showed up at the press conference. Normal fans, fighter supporters, hardcore types, and many other various types of groups showed up.
DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara went into an explanation about how Fuji TV canceled the contract with PRIDE. He stated that on Monday, he was busy with Nobuhiko Takada and Fuji TV (sports producer Kunio Kiyohara) to announce the launch of the “Dreamers” dojo in Tokyo that would be open to the public. At 4 PM that day, Fuji TV brought their lawyer for an meeting with Sakakibara. Fuji TV handed a termination notice to him. Sakakibara was shocked at this.
Sakakibara made several strong denials about being affiliated with the yakuza. He said that if he was working with the yakuza, that he would have already been arrested. He said that the fact he was there at the press conference today showed that he had no relation to the yakuza.
DSE did not take any questions from the press or the fans about the Fuji TV/yakuza situation.
The rest of the press conference was focused on the 7/1 Saitama Super Arena card line-up. Yoshida and Fujita were there, with Mirko & Silva having video messages played. Silva said that Fujita has a big heart, but that he would win the fight.
Mirko said that he didn’t understand why Fuji TV wouldn’t broadcast PRIDE and that he would make sure Fuji TV regretted their decision by putting on an amazing fight with Yoshida which would rival the World Cup. Mirko’s statements in support of PRIDE and against Fuji TV were the strongest statements made by anyone associated with PRIDE at the press conference. He stated that the fight against Yoshida would become a fight of Japan vs. Croatia.
When the Fuji TV discussion/part of the press conference was over, about half of the people in attendance who were not affiliated with the media left.
Inoki comments on PRIDE/Fuji TV situation
Yesterday, Antonio Inoki made comments to the mass media about the PRIDE/Fuji TV situation. He stated that he would help PRIDE fighters find new places of work if PRIDE could not survive. He said that without Fuji TV’s money that he expected the scale of PRIDE’s show sizes to decrease in nature. Inoki said that the guaranteed money for fighters got too expensive to sustain in the PRIDE business model. He mentioned his role in the IFL.
Fuji TV blacklists anyone connected to PRIDE
In addition to Fuji TV canceling their contract with PRIDE, Yomiuri Hochi (via Yahoo Japan) reports that the network has also issued an order stating that any PRIDE fighters or people associated with PRIDE cannot appear on any Fuji TV shows. This includes variety shows, sports shows, and other programming. This is a big development because Hidehiko Yoshida is a commentator for judo programming on the network.
In essence, fighters like Hidehiko Yoshida, Mirko Cro Cop, Emelianenko Fedor, and Kazuyuki Fujita are being blacklisted from the network.
Nikkan Sports reports that Razor Ramon HG is about to leave Hustle [the pro wrestling company owned by DSE] due to orders from his bosses at Yoshimoto Kogyo.
With the news of Fuji TV blacklisting anyone associated with DSE/PRIDE, this has sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Nikkan Sports says that Yoshimoto is worried about the situation, because they cannot afford to have their top talent banned from the Fuji TV network — there’s too much money at stake.