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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

UFC - Pride Super Bowl?

Interesting commentary from NBC Sports on the merger comparing the merger to the AFL - NFL merger. Most importantly it speaks to the potential of future explosive growth.

"Well, the Pride deal is finally, officially done.

The Fertitta brothers will create a new company called Pride FC Worldwide Holdings LLC that will run the group independently of UFC. Lorenzo Fertitta told reporters and fans at the press conference that they will look to put on the dream fights fans have always wanted to see.
Speculation has surrounded this move for months now, and while many fans doubted that Pride would be sold to any US-based interest, it quickly became apparent that UFC would be the best match from both financial and business standpoints.

Perhaps another group could have offered more, but that would have meant handing over the keys to the company to someone who'd never put on a show at a similar level. Only UFC could promise to continue running the company at the same high level and show its experience as proof it wouldn't fail. Because this wasn't only about money; it was also about growing the sport.
Perhaps one day this will be looked back upon like the NFL-AFL merger, as Lorenzo Fertitta compared it to. Because what the Fertittas did in one fell swoop is position themselves to dominate both the U.S. and international markets.

While many fans rued the day such a thing would happen, history has shown that at least in sports, such a setup has resulted in explosive growth. Football, basketball and baseball at one time all featured more than one professional league. And the continued rise of mixed martial arts should help smaller leagues because of the interest. In fact, UFC and the new Pride FC Worldwide will have a vested interest in the health of such groups as feeder organizations.
This is a historic day in MMA. If one day it is to become a major sport alongside the NFL, MLB and NBA, today is the day it will begin."

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