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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pride holds Mirko's title shot hostage

Nothing is more Japanese than saying how happy you are for someone and then telling them to do what they're told or they'll be crushed. This is the oh so polite subtext I picked up from Pride's outspoken president Sakakibara in a post-OWGP interview on Sunday.
The DSE boss first was asked if a rematch between Grand Prix winner Filipovic and heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko would happen at the year's end. "I don't know, first I have to talk with Mirko formally," Sakakibara replied. "There was also talk he would compete in the United Stated event if he wasn't injured. After Mirko and Fedor fight on October 21st, we'll talk about a rematch at Otoko Matsuri on New Year's Eve."
Considering the recent financial wrangling between CroCop and Pride in the past months, I think it's safe to say that Pride is in no rush to make him champion and give him an even better negotiating position. Making participation mandatory in their US show next month is a sneaky move on their part to get a cheap fight out of Mirko or an excuse not to give him a title shot. God knows in these lean times they're lucky to have a cheap Russian heavyweight champion who is happy with 40 rubles a week, some bread crusts, and a fresh rag for his shiny pate.

Read the interview with Sakakibara here

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