For 10 years, there were two major MMA promotions: the UFC and PRIDE FC. Fans were split down the middle on who thought which had the better fighters and put on the better shows. Hypothetical matchups between fighters of each organization were every day debates.
In 2007, Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, bought PRIDE and all of its assets for something near $70 million. An era was over and mixed feelings covered the mixed martial arts world.
Some were happy that the matchups they had dreamed of were finally going to come true. Others were shocked and saddened to see the grand events they loved coming to an end.
Well, I would say that the result was a mix of both of those feelings. We have been able to see matches that we never would have if Zuffa had not made the purchase, but for many there has been a void left by the fall of the only rival the UFC ever knew.
PRIDE had a different mentality than the UFC. It was thought that in PRIDE if you gave a great effort and entertained the fans, that you would always be invited back. Unlike the UFC, where fighters sometimes lose a single fight and are given their walking papers.
There was also a more patient mind state in the world of PRIDE. Fights were never booed by the audience for lack of action, and stand-ups were far less frequent by their referees. The clock wasn't even shown during the fight, showing contrast from the countdown oriented Western train of thought.
It was easy to get lost in a PRIDE event. From the visually stunning opening ceremonies to the experimental, sometimes off the wall, matchups, it was always a spectacle.
Here are five memorable PRIDE events that would put any recent UFC pay-per-view to shame. Gone are the days, but long live the memories.