Pride FC at one point was the most powerful organization in MMA, with a deep roster, a TV deal in Japan and bigger live gate and sales than any other organization. That was until the Japanese public learned about their involvement with the Japanese Mafia known as the Yakuza. Soon after the company was publicly outed as being involved with figures of the underworld, DSE (Pride’s parent company) lost their TV deal and began to lose money. Now Dana White is saying part of the reason why there is no UFC in Japan is because of troubles with the Mafia in the Land of the Rising Sun.
White spoke to Fighters Only about the trouble with reviving the once powerful promotion in Japan.
“We had plans for Pride, we were going to do Japanese shows, but the mafia runs that place and it is very hard to do business over there,” White was quoted by Fighters only magazine. “That basically killed the brand.”
White also spoke about the same kind of treatment when attempting to expand to Mexico when attempting to set up UFC events south of the border.
“The Mexican initiative” is taking “a lot longer than we though it would, basically because five families control all of Mexico”.
White looked at the corruption as a small hurdle and remained confident that the UFC will broadcast in the two countries and chalked it up to a different way of doing business in foreign countries.
“A lot of these places are tough, White said. “you just have to work your way around it. The corruption in Japan, the way things are in Mexico, you know? In every country you go to there are different ways of doing business.”
Zuffa and the UFC faced a lot of criticism from long time fans who were promised a Pride show, at least now we have some more insight as to why they never took place. Hopefully Lorenzo Fertitta along with Dana can find a way into the Far East and help revive the sluggish Japanese market. With Dream and World Victory Road losing money on network TV in Japan, hopefully they can also contribute and be helped out with a UFC co-promoted show.