The Weekend Australian Magazine just released a gripping feature about Miro Mijatovic, former manager of PRIDE heavyweights Fedor Emelianenko and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović, who was taken hostage by yakuza goons (Japanese organized crime) in an attempt to extort him out of the rights to his fighters. Mijatovic is the reason why PRIDE FC, once the largest and best MMA promotion in the world, burned to the ground.

IMPRISONED in a Japanese hotel room with a Beretta 9mm pistol pressed against his temple, a grim calculus of life and death began to play out in the mind of Australian businessman Miro Mijatovic. Death, as he saw it, was a possibility but not a certainty.

“I am 6’6″ [1.98m] and I was pretty sure they were going to struggle to deal with getting a body the size of mine out of the hotel,” he recalls…

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I conducted extensive interviews with Miro Mijatovic during the research for Pound for Pound: The Modern Gladiators of Mixed Martial Arts. He was a useful source of information on a number of topics, including Fedor Emelianenko and Mirko Cro Cop’s routines; the financial dealings between fighters and PRIDE; and most importantly–his role in ensuring the destruction of PRIDE FC itself.

After emerging from hiding, telling his story, and building his own love hotel management business in Japan, Mijatovic’s struggles with the yakuza are far from over. The New York Times covered the recent dealings between Mijatovic’s company Alchemy, which managed a group of hotels for CarVal that were sold to the yakuza-backed company Kato Pleasure Group.

“Our complaint to CarVal is that they ignored credible advice that they were dealing with a suspected organized crime entity,” said Miro Mijatovic, Alchemy’s chief executive.

It seems like the same issues and problems that plague the world repeat themselves over and over again. We must be diligent in listening to the right opinions and not allowing this type of corruption to eat away at the social fabric.