PRIDE was awesome. Sure it was corrupt and some of the fights were rigged. Yes, there was no drug testing, and some have suggested PEDs were actually encouraged. Ok, they denied opportunities to more qualified fighters in order to frequently showcase Bob Sapp. This isn’t to say it was perfect.
In many ways if PRIDE existed today it would be torn apart by purist MMA fans, but that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t awesome.
PRIDE was great at building larger-than-life stars out of their fighters. Then again that isn’t very difficult when you have guys like Wanderlei “the Axe Murderer” Silva, Fedor “the Last Emperor” Emelianenko, and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. PRIDE seemed like it had a fight for the ages on every show, and many fans really miss the Japanese promotion.
New organizations such as DREAM and now Ryzin’ have attempted to bring back the style of organization that PRIDE was, but so far nobody has been able to recreate the aura of the original.
In honour of PRIDE’s contribution to mixed martial arts, we are counting down the top 8 craziest slugfests from the Pride FC days…
8. Fedor Emelianenko vs Mirko “Cro Crop” Filopovich PRIDE Conflict 2005
At the time of this fight in August of 2005, Cro Crop was a 30 year old member of the Croatian Parliament, a former head of a government anti-terrorist program, an established K-1 star, and a legitimate contender for Fedor Emelianenko’s heavyweight championship. In an era when Fedor seemed invincible Mirko represented a legitimate threat to his title, and the anticipation for this match was high.
An interesting note regarding this fight. Around the 5 minute mark Cro Crop is in Fedor’s guard and PRIDE commentator Mauro Ranollo mentioned that Cro Crop was being trained in BJJ for this fight by Fabcrio Werdum, the man who would end Emelianenko’s undefeated streak by choking him out from his guard in Strikeforce.
The bout lived up to the hype, and will go down as a classic fight in PRIDE’s history. In the end Fedor was more well-rouded than Cro Crop, and was able to work from Mirko’s guard for a good portion of the fight and earned a decision victory.