Tag Archive: PRIDE


Many thanks to Chris Leslie of MMAFrenzy.com for giving Pound for Pound a great review:

The book’s opening section on UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre seems particularly relevant in the wake of his recent title defense at UFC 158 and the attacks on the champ’s persona by opponent Nick Diaz.

If you recall the lead-up to UFC 158, Nick Diaz made assertions that St-Pierre had an easy life, saying that he was “pampered,” etc. This, of course, could not be further from the truth regarding Georges St-Pierre’s true beginnings.

Also worth reading, is a great interview that I did with Leslie, made all the better by his educated questions:

MMAFrenzy.com: One of the most fascinating personalities in the book, to me, was that of Fedor Emelianenko’s former manager Miro Mijatovic. What was it like hearing this story?

Brian D’Souza: Miro Mijatovic appeared on the debut episode of the Spike TV show MMA Uncensored that aired on February 23, 2012. This was the first time he really talked to the public about what had gone on in Japan regarding his management of Fedor, Cro Cop and the fall of PRIDE. My own personal takeaway was that Mijatovic had remarkable business acumen, not only in securing the best financial deals possible for his clients, but also in working to increase the amount of leverage and security the fighters he promoted would have well into the future. Like “Tall Poppy Syndrome,” sometimes your reward for high achievement is for people to come at you and try to destroy you, which is what happened to Mijatovic. The Al Capone character in The Untouchables has his famous line, “When you got an all-out prizefight, you wait until the fight is over, one guy is left standing. That’s how you know who won.” PRIDE is dead, but despite the contracts that were put on his life, Miro Mijatovic is still alive.

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New Review from BloodyElbow.com

Thanks to Kid Nate from BloodyElbow.com for this stellar review of the book:

I just finished reading Brian J. D’Souza’s Pound for Pound: The Modern Gladiators of Mixed Martial Arts and have to strongly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn more about what goes on backstage in the lives and careers of MMA’s top athletes.

The book focuses on five of the greatest martial artists in the sport’s history including UFC champs B.J. Penn, Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua as well as Pride legend Fedor Emelianenko. I consider myself someone who follows the sport extremely closely and has since its inception in the early 1990s but this book had a TON of new facts, new stories and new insights into what really happens in the MMA business…

Read the full review at BloodyElbow.com here.

Also check out the MMA Tete-a-tete that I did with Kid Nate in the video below discussing the sorry state of MMA management, which fighters will end up broke and other topics:

FightOpinion.com transcribed part of the interview here:

NATE WILCOX: “Do you think we’ve seen the end of BJ Penn?”

BRIAN J. D’SOUZA: “He’s got some kind of surgery for his cataracts or something and apparently there is something put into his eye. He probably can’t spar safely or he’s taking a risk, he’ll be out a year or two while he’s having this surgery done. Fighters don’t want to retire. In the back of his mind, he’s looking at these new Lightweights and he’s saying to himself, “I can kick every one of their asses.” That’s the dialogue I think he’s having in his head. You hear Larry Holmes say this all the time, “the new Heavyweights ain’t shit, I can kick this guy’s ass.” Larry Holmes comes back when he’s old to beat up Butterbean and he does it. He does it. I wouldn’t count a comeback like that out of BJ. So, within a couple of years maybe, yeah, we’ll probably see it. I really believe it, surgery or not.”

NATE WILCOX: “BJ’s done pretty well for himself financially in his MMA career. He’s also got some inherited wealth. What’s your bet for the Joe Louis %, any chance, what’s the odds BJ Penn ends up in the men’s room handing out mints?”

BRIAN J. D’SOUZA: “Zero percent, zero percent, and the reason this is is because his Dad is a smart man and his brothers are smart men. BJ has his own web site. When you read BJ Penn’s book, OK, I remember when I met Georges (St. Pierre) I started talking about Larry Holmes but when I met Jon Jones I think I mentioned BJ’s book and, “hey, have you read his book, do you know what’s in there?” because BJ really is a smart guy, OK? He has got some good net wealth. He even has a deal with the UFC for the UFC gyms, so he’s making money from them with the UFC gym in Hawaii and this came about after Weintraub was thrown over the boat. So, you see, BJ’s not… whatever you think of his fighting, he’s the winner in my mind because I believe behind the scenes he’s done all the right things. Zero percent chance he’s broke. *laughs*”

Listen to me talk with host Greg DeLong on his show Inside the Cage Radio discussing why I selected the five fighters for Pound for Pound, how I got into writing about MMA, shady dealings in Japan and more. Link to the podcast is available here.

 

Listen to internet radio with Inside The Cage MMA Radio on Blog Talk Radio

The very first review of Pound for Pound: The Modern Gladiators of Mixed Martial Arts is up courtesy of FightOpinion.com.

Some quotes from the review by Zach Arnold:

“For 2013, there’s already a candidate for book-of-the-year that deserves your attention.”

“Brian J. D’Souza’s new book, Pound for Pound: The Modern Gladiators, is a fantastic read.”

“It’s outstanding reading and will keep you entertained the whole way through.”

(Read the review here)

The Smashing Machine

One of my favorite documentaries is The Smashing Machine (2002), the story of ill-fated MMA fighter Mark Kerr. The narrative traces Kerr’s career in Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championship, where he has mixed success. Outside the ring, he struggles with an abusive co-dependent relationship, and an addiction to opiates.

Why did Kerr turn to different methods of coping with his situation? I think it comes down to fear, anxiety and pressure. The fight game exerted too much force on him, and he was bound to break apart. The opiates helped take the edge off, to numb him, and allowed him to function.

He was never really at his best when he was using drugs. They decreased his sensation of pain, but suffering can be a barometer for calibration, optimization. We know what needs to be fixed when we are in pain. Changes have to be made, and they can’t be ignored.

What is Kerr’s legacy today? The documentary tracks his self-destruction. He lost many more fights than he won after 2000, fell from relevance, and eventually faded from the MMA scene.

At one point, Kerr was selling luxury cars in Arizona. Maybe he’s better off away from the sport.

Miro Mijatovic and the Yakuza

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…

(story continues here)

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.