NOTE: Okay, the video won’t let us embed it to start at the 35:00 mark, so you’ll just have to go there yourself.
What you see above is the complete video of PRIDE Shockwave 2005, an event that featured Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop, Dan Henderson, Mark Hunt, Kazushi Sakuraba, Takanori Gomi — should we keep going? alright, then — Minowaman, Ricardo Arona, Aleksander Emelianenko, Hayato Sakurai, Giant Silva, James Thompson, Zuluzinho, Murilo Bustamante, Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett and a main event between two Olympic judokas (Hidehiko Yoshida and Naoya Ogawa) that reportedly earned both men $2 million.
It might have been the most talent-rich MMA card in the history of the sport, and if you have seven hours to watch the whole thing, go for it. But we’ve cued it up to one moment in particular: A six-minute tap dancing presentation that leads directly into PRIDE’s traditional taiko drums and fighter introductions. That’s right, I said tap-dancing. And the crowd loved it!
The spectacle of PRIDE couldn’t possibly be sustained. (I wonder what the total fighter payroll was that night, including Yoshida and Ogawa’s $4 million?) But it’s nice to remember that for one moment in time, in one part of the world, MMA looked like this. PRIDE was wild, unpredictable, a feast for the senses, and willing to try anything to please its fans.
Or as one reddit commenter put it: “Yeah. I mean, the UFC has some videos, lights, and music which are cool and all but Pride choreographed entire fight cards.” LOL…