Pride was a great show. The production itself was dynamic. It was entertainment and the people loved it. Unfortunately producing such elaborate fighting environments on such a large scale was not economically supportable. Pride was doomed to fail regardless of what Dana White did or didnt do.
That being said, when it came time to dismantle the Pride organization, Dana did not replace it with anything. Instead he gobbled up all of the contracts he could and dragged those fighters to Las Vegas to generally get their respective heads kicked in.
Many fighters rejected the UFC and won their freedom due to a just international legal system. Men such as Takanori Gomi, Fedor and Aleks Emelianenko, Joachim Hansen, Josh Thompson, Kaz Fujita, and others continue to fight in much smaller scale affairs outside of the UFC's influence.
Joachim Hansen once stated that he would rather die from a festering hemorrhoid than fight for Dana White. That is quite a strong statement and a much shared sentiment overseas as a result of Dana's mismanagement.
Now Asia has a new organization in the form of DREAM. Stars have emerged such as Shinya Aoki, Gregard, Joachim, Vitor Ribiero, Jeff Monson, Sergei, Blagoi, and others are becoming very familiar and popular figures in Japan, China, and Russia.
Even more obscure fighters are getting attention thanks to the void left behind Dana's pillaging spree. Ever hear of Alain "The Panther" Ngalani? Well maybe you should check him out- he has become a very well known fighter in the Far East. Recently he has begun training for a MMA career and has stated his desire to fight in the UFC.
He will probably take a three fight deal with M-1 Global first to get his feet wet much like Blagoi Ivanov. Who is Blagoi Ivanov? Well he is the only man to ever defeat Fedor in a Sambo tournament. He recently had his MMA debut against the tough veteran Kaz Fujita. Blagoi won a decision and still has two fights left on his contract with M-1.
The point is that Asia is rebuilding its own fight structure, and if Dana doesnt do something smart and do it fast he will be faced with a real competitor. It doesn't help that White is basically blamed -rightfully or wrongly- for the death of Pride. The fans in Japan, China, Eastern Europe, Russia, and other countries simply dont like him.
How Dana deals with this Far Eastern challenge, in addition to his new home front competition in the form of Strikeforce, will likely determine the very future of our sport. We could very well end up with a bipolar, or even tripolar, system (which means something different when applied to Dana). While that doesn't bother some fans, it does bring into question the validity of entities such as the UFC Hall Of Fame.
Finally, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty, if things keep going this way every fan will have the same question. "Who is the real Heavywieght Champion of the World?"
Is that the way MMA fans want it?
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!