DSE/Pride just won a settlement against Royce Gracie over a dispute that started more than a year ago. Apparently, Gracie broke his contract with Pride last year when he declined an offer from them and took a match with Akebono in K-1 instead.
The last time Royce fought in Pride was in the New Year’s Eve show of 2003 against Yoshida, a fight that Royce wanted very badly to avenge his loss to the Judoka in an earlier match. DSE had a contract with partial rights with Royce that said that Pride could match any offers made to him within a year after his fight with Yoshida before he could accept an offer from another company. This put Pride in the position to keep Royce on their show in case their competitor K-1 wanted to use him on the following year’s NYE show, which they did. The NYE shows in Japan are the biggest shows of the year, drawing crowds of 45,000 to 60,000 people to the live events. They also include very lucrative TV deals with the shows being aired on public, primetime television.
Royce accepted the match against Akebono in K-1 for the New Year’s Eve show. Pride matched the offer, but Royce ignored it and went on to fight Akebono. Consequently, DSE/Pride sued him in court in Los Angeles, California.
A year later, a settlement was reached between Royce Gracie and DSE/Pride and Royce admitted that he broke the contract and issued an official apology this week in Osaka, Japan.