Former Pride FC boss and current Rizin FF owner Nobuyuki Sakakibara has a wish list of fighters to be on his Dec. 31 show in Japan that would resemble the old days of PRIDE FC.
“We had plans at the invitation of Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop, but only Fedor was free from various linking contracts,” Sakakibara told cageside.ru. “The Japanese public is very curious to see Wanderlei Silva at our tournament, but he is bound by the obligations with UFC. If he is freed, then we’d definitely get in contact with him.”
Sakakibara said that he has contacted other former PRIDE fighters that are not contracted with the UFC. “I want to see all of US fighters who fought in PRIDE. I contacted Ricardo Arona, and invited him, but he was forced to reject because of his knee injury, and he does not know how long it will take to recover,” Sakakibara said.
Ken Shamrock has expressed interest and Royce Gracie told Sakakibara that he is ready to fight, with a potential Walid Ismail and Royce Gracie match in the making.
With many of the former PRIDE fighters being contacted for the NYE card, Sakakibara insists that the Rizin FF event will be something totally new.
“On December 29, we will hold a tournament that will remind everyone about PRIDE. Everything will take place in exactly the same ring. The December 31 tournament will be held with more refined measures. The tournament will be in a ring, but not an ordinary ring. This will be something you have never seen before. We are building it now. You will be shocked. The show will have nothing to do with PRIDE.”
What do you think of the former PRIDE stars fighting back in Japan? Tell us what matches you would like to see for the eventful NYE card in the comment section below!