In a recent interview with MMAyou, Guy Mezger divulged some not quite shocking but still interesting information about his days in Pride. Apparently (are you sitting down?), not everything that happened in Pride was on the up-and-up. And when you didn’t “play ball”, you paid for it:
MMAyou.com: Here’s a question from one of your fans that I thought was a really good question. Why did the Pride judges hate you so much?
Mezger: You know, I’ll tell you truthfully man, I wouldn’t play ball with them on certain things. They wanted me to do certain things that’s just not something that I’m gonna do. It’s against my, kind of my moral code and I think it pissed them off because I’m not gonna do some of the stuff that they wanted me to do. And I knew the moment that I disagreed, that I wasn’t gonna play the game with them on that that things were gonna go south for me there.
There are a couple different ways of looking at this. One is to lob the old ’sour grapes’ accusation at Mezger. That could be part of it, but it’s not as if Mezger is some washed-up bum hanging around bars and telling people that he could have been a contender. He’s the President of HDNet Fights these days, so, you know, he’s doing all right.
He can also point to some questionable decisions that went against him (such as in his fight with Ricardo Arona), as well as Pride’s general credibility gap in this area. While he stops short of flat out saying he was screwed by Pride judges for refusing to work fights, he does heavily imply it:
MMAyou.com: Can we get into anymore then that or should we just leave that at that?
Mezger: I don’t really want to get into the whole thing you know it’s just that they were wanting me to be creative in some of the guys I fought. They wanted kind of a different outcome for the fight and when I refused… They started with the whole talking about it and I was like, “Guys, I know where we’re going with this. Before you guys say anything I’m not gonna do it. I know where we’re going with this conversation and that’s just not something I’m gonna do”. I knew when that happened that I was gonna have to knock guys out. It was kind of a drag. I knew that any of those tough close fights were gonna be… I knew it. (Editor’s note: Mezger lost 3 split decision matches in Pride and Pride officials wanted him to fight an overtime round against Kazushi Sakuraba despite his contract saying that the fight would only be one fifteen minute round with no overtime. Mezger left the ring after being advised by his trainer Ken Shamrock to do so and the president of Pride FC later made a public apology to Mezger for the miscommunication.)
Dealing with the Japanese too you know in dealing with that stuff. They have no real sanctioning body. There’s no athletic board overseeing them or signing judges or any of that kind of stuff. You know they can do whatever they want over there and they often do.
Makes you wonder. If Mezger objected because it was against “kind of [his] moral code”, who on the Pride roster might have been less rigid in their ethics? A few names come to mind…