PRIDE Fighting Championships holds a special place in the heart of many old school mixed martial arts (MMA) fans. It featured some legendary fighters in legendary fights, but there was a whole lot of sketchy stuff going down in the Japanese promotion, too.
There were rumors of fight fixing. PRIDE ended up imploding after connections to the Yakuza were revealed. And then there’s its well-documented policy toward performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), which was basically: let ‘er rip!
In a recent interview with Quinton Jackson, Tito Ortiz and Frank Mir on The HJR Experiment, “Rampage” talked about how PRIDE was different.
“I loved fighting in Japan, I liked what they stood for,” Jackson said. “They was more about entertainment in Japan and UFC, it was more always about who’s the best. In Japan they didn’t care about who’s the best. Who was the most exciting? That was my style, I liked exciting people.
“A lot of people, they think the reason PRIDE fighters didn’t do well when they came to the states was because steroids,” Jackson continued. “Because in Japan, they didn’t test for steroids. I remember in the rules meeting, they’d give you a sheet of paper — ‘Here’s the rules.’ First thing on the paper was, ‘We do not test for anabolic steroids.’ And I’d never heard of anabolic steroids, and I was like, ‘What is this anabolical steroid?’ And a couple of fighters looked at me [laughing].”
“The rumor that we always heard over here was that everybody over there was doing meth,” Frank Mir said. “Because you’d see Wanderlei [Silva] throw 500 punches per round, you’d see guys just brawling and going nuts.”
“Probably EPO,” Jackson replied. “I think they were probably doing EPO. It was rumored that ‘Ninja’ and ‘Shogun’ [Murilo and Mauricio Rua] was on EPO because they was going crazy and never got tired. Our rounds were 10 minutes, the first round was 10 minutes. So, I was in great shape, but I wouldn’t go crazy.
“They test for, like, weed and like, cocaine and whatever,” Jackson added. “They test for that stuff, but they didn’t test for steroids.”
Just in case that sounds too crazy to be true, former PRIDE fighter, Enson Inoue, has receipts. Earlier this year, he shared an old document from PRIDE confirming what Jackson and other fighters have said: the promotion specifically stated it wouldn’t test for steroids, but it would test for recreational drugs ... and catch fighters too.
So, probably not a ton of meth, Frank.
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