Sunday, 02 October 2011 20:52
Business is War
The Inside Story of the UFC’s Acquisition of Pride FC
In March of 2007, the owners of the Ultimate Fighting Championship completed a deal to purchase their biggest MMA rival, Japan’s Pride Fighting Championships. It took a full year of intense negotiation to get the deal done, and there was much behind the scenes drama, intrigue, death and destruction. Now, for the first time ever, the true story of this historic deal is revealed.
An incessant ringing woke me from my slumber. I looked at the clock: 3AM. Who the hell is this, I wondered as I reached for the phone. “TheGARV here.”
“Garv. I’m sorry, did I wake you?”
“No problem. I had to get up to answer the phone anyway.” The pause on the other end was interminable. “Who is this?” I said.
“It’s me, Garv. Dana. Dana fucking White.”
“Dana, it’s 3AM.”
“It’s only fucking midnight.”
You gotta be kidding me, I thought. “Where are you?”
“Well, I’m in New York City, okay? And I need to get back to sleep. What do you need?”
By this time there was a stirring in the bed. The call was disturbing not only me, but also Scarlett Johanssan and Jessica Beil. I told Dana to hold on while I got out of bed and took the call in the study.
“This better be important.”
“It is important, Garv. I’m in deep fucking shit here and I need your help.”
Now that I was fully awake, I could hear the tension in Dana’s voice.
“What’s going on?” I said.
Dana explained that he and the Fertitta brothers were in talks to buy Japan’s Pride Fighting Championship. They felt a merger would allow them to dominate the MMA market share.
“So what’s the problem?”
“The problem is the fucking Yakuza. These guys are fucking crazy. They’re fucking kamikazes.”
“No shit,” I said. I’d had my own dealings with the Yaks, and they were anything but warm and fuzzy.
Dana went on, “But that’s not all. The fucking Mob is a big fucking problem too. They're supposed to be on our side, but these fucking goombahs can’t swallow their fucking pride just once to secure a deal. At the last meeting with Sakakibara, they almost started a fucking shooting war with the fucking Yakuza goons. Both sides are just too fucking trigger happy, which means I’m fucked.”
I still didn’t see how I fit into the picture. “What does this have to do with me?”
“I don’t want to fucking die!” Dana shouted into the phone.