(Props: UFC on YouTube.com)
While kidnapping princesses in Japan last month, UFC president Dana White spent some time with MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba (and a translator, and another Japanese dude who was apparently just there to hang out), and talked to Saku about his days in PRIDE. The resulting video is above, although as Dana tells us, there was a lot that Sakuraba asked him not to include. Some thoughts and observations, in no particular order…
- Is it me, or does DW seem really jet-lagged in the intro? Dude is running on fumes.
- The sociopathic matchmakers at PRIDE wanted Sakuraba to fight Fedor Emelianenko at one point; that was the only fight he ever turned down. And no, Sakuraba wasn’t paid extra money whenever he fought a 205-pounder or a heavyweight.
- White can’t help crapping on PRIDE a bit for their handling of Sakuraba. “Imagine if they promoted fights the right way, and did it the way it should have been done,” White says. “Sakuraba is a fighter and an attraction that they could have took all over the world…if Sakuraba was at 170 and, at that time we’re talking the 170-pound division was Matt Hughes, Carlos Newton, Pat Miletich. All those guys that competed at 170 at that time, imagine Sakuraba coming into Las Vegas to take on one of those guys. They could have done big things.”
- Dana apparently isn’t aware that Sakuraba did indeed fight Carlos Newton in PRIDE, and that it was awesome. White also never watched Sakuraba vs. Akiyama. When Dana says this, Sakuraba thinks he’s joking. Clearly, the UFC president isn’t a real fan.
- Somebody who speaks Japanese should do a transcript of this video. I’m guessing that White only got about 15% of what was actually being said at that table.
- The last 30 seconds of the video are great — Saku hasn’t lost his pro-wrestling ability to oversell an armlock — although we did shed a single tear when Dana sunk the rear-naked choke.
- Please, Dana. Do one with Giant Silva next.