Dana White is pleased with the response that the "Best of Pride FC" series has garnered. So pleased, in fact, that he even mentioned the possibility - however minute it may be at this point - of the revival of Pride Fighting Championship in the future.
Speaking with Sun Media's Scrapyard, White said, "You never know, anything is possible," when asked about hosting events in the ring under the Pride brand.
He explained that the first episode of the series, which started airing on January 15, recorded a solid rating in spite of its time slot on Friday night. If a growing number of fans continue to tune in to the series that revisit some of the most memorable fights hosted by the epoch-making Japanese MMA organization, Zuffa may give the revival of Pride brand a serious consideration.
Pride FC reigned as the premier MMA organization in the world throughout the early part of the millenium. Boasting a stable of top talent - Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Dan Henderson, and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, to name a few - Pride was the number one competitor to UFC for many years. In 2007, in the wake of the allegation of ties to organized crime that ultimately led to its dissolution, Pride was purchased by Zuffa.
While Zuffa initially attempted to run Pride, the hostile, labyrinthine business climate in Japanese fighting industry hampered the effort. White commented, "I don’t want to say the Pride name is dead. It’s still a strong powerful brand. But the reality is that us running Pride in Japan, that completely fell apart."
As exciting as the reincarnation of Pride sounds, how will Zuffa realize this lofty vision? How will the UFC audience respond to the ring, different rules, etc? Also, Grand Prix tournament-style fights were one of the hallmarks of Pride but have been absent in UFC since the pre-Zuffa days. Above all, there is the elusive task of maintaining the essence of Pride brand while tweaking it to appeal to the American audience.
At this point, Pride revival will remain a remote possibility. Nonetheless, we can at least dream about what would have happened if UFC and Pride had managed to literally merge as one: