By Chris Howie
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
With UFC 144 taking place in Japan this weekend it should come as no surprise that discussions of the UFC vs. PRIDE come up during press conferences and interviews.
UFC President Dana White was asked this week about how he felt about Japanese fans booing him when his face came on the jumbo screens during the press conference and 5th round has a recap:
“[Fans might boo me after they] see my face on the screen? Oh, I see. You’re saying I’m not very popular over here,” White said in response to a local reporter who suggested the UFC’s brash boss might not get the favorable reception he’s grown accustomed to. “Listen, I can take some boos. I can handle it. I’m pretty thick skinned.
“We didn’t kill Pride. I’ve said this many times, Pride is the only other organization that I’ve ever respected. Pride was an organization here in Japan that did huge sell-out shows. There were tons of Pride fans in the United States. There are a lot of big stars, not just out of Japan, but worldwide that came from Pride. It’s the only other organization that I have ever respected or given credit to.”
When asked if the UFC would consider promoting a future Pride-themed card in Japan just for good ol’ time’s sake – featuring past stars like Dan Henderson, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Fedor Emelianenko – White quickly shot the prospects down.
“Not Fedor,” White mumbled under his breath. “I don’t think so. The Pride thing didn’t work out. We gave it a shot, it didn’t work out."
“The gentleman that asked earlier that I was the one who killed Pride, it’s completely not true … The UFC will be the events that we bring here. The great history of Pride, there’s no more Pride events."