PRIDE Fighting Championships logo
PRIDE Fighting Championships logo

PRIDE Fighting Championships, or PRIDE or PRIDE FC for short, is a major mixed martial arts organization based in Japan. It is currently promoted by Dream Stage Entertainment (DSE). Its inaugural event was held at the Tokyo Dome on October 11, 1997, promoted by Kakutougi Revolution Spirits (KRS). [1]

It is the most popular MMA organization in the world based on the number of event attendees: the PRIDE Final Conflict 2003 event had over 67,000 people in the audience. The audience record is 91,107 people on the PRIDE and K-1 co-production Shockwave/Dynamite, held in August 2002.

On June 5, 2006, Fuji Network announced that they were terminating their television contract with PRIDE Fighting Championships effective immediately due to a breach of contract by DSE. [2]. This leaves PRIDE with only SKY PerfecTV, a pay-per-view carrier, as a television outlet in Japan, and the lack of the substantial revenues from the Fuji deal threatens its sustainability. DSE has been surrounded by speculation in the Japanese media, especially in Japanese tabloid Shukan Gendai, that it may be a front by a notorious yakuza group. DSE responded to the loss by stating they will continue with their schedule as currently planned, including an event in Las Vegas, Nevada, PRIDE 32: The Real Deal on October 21, 2006, PRIDE's first event outside of Japan.[3]

PRIDE announced it would cooperate with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, North America's largest MMA organization, and would be showcasing their fighters, including Wanderlei Silva and Kazuyuki Fujita, at a UFC event in November 2006.[4] However, Dana White, president of the UFC, since commented in several interviews that an announced bout between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva may no longer be happening because "the Japanese are very hard to do business with". Also, since Wanderlei Silva was actually knocked out in his last fight, due to Nevada State Althletic Commission rules he would not be allowed to compete so soon in the UFC [5]. Several other articles in August have the president of the UFC stating that there will be no crossover fights at this time. This is despite the fact that the PRIDE president, Sakakibara Nobuyuki, has suggested a variety of replacement matches in the Japanese media [6].

PRIDE has announced plans for Mike Tyson to fight in the group's New Year's Eve show. Tyson would face a PRIDE fighter under boxing rules. Since Tyson is not allowed to fight in Japan because of his criminal record, PRIDE wants to stage the fight in Macau. The fight would be broadcasted live on large television screens in the Saitama Super Arena, where the regular mixed martial arts bouts will be held. [7]


PRIDE's rules result in similar styles of fighting as seen in Ultimate Fighting Championship in the United States. Unlike the UFC, where matches take place within a cage, PRIDE holds its bouts within a boxing style ring. Other notable differences between PRIDE FC and the UFC are:

Weight classes

It should be noted that PRIDE Fighting Championships does NOT divide their fighters with weight divisons, a fighter may be booked to fight an opponent of any weight class. Weight divisions are only used for championship title bouts to crown a champion among that weight class.

Match length

Most PRIDE FC matches are broken down as follows:

Round 1 - 10 minutes
Round 2 - 5 minutes
Round 3 - 5 minutes

There are two-minute breaks between rounds.

Pride Bushido matches (lightweights and welterweights) consist of only 2 rounds (10 and 5 minutes)


Matches are won via:

  • Submission
A fighter taps either his opponent or the mat three times.
A fighter may also verbally submit
  • Technical Knockout
    • Referee Stoppage---If the referee sees that one fighter is completely dominant to the point of endangering his opponent, the referee will stop the match.
    • Doctor Stoppage---In the event that a fighter is injured (via fair methods) and cannot continue the match, his opponent will be declared the winner. The ring doctor will be the one to determine whether the fighter can continue or not. In the event that an injury was caused by illegal methods, the perpetrator will be disqualified.
    • Forfeited Match---A fighter's corner throws in the towel.
  • Decision
If the match goes the distance, then the outcome of the bout is determined by the three judges. A decision is made according to the following: the effort made to finish the fight via KO or submission, damage given to the opponent, standing combinations & ground control, takedowns and takedown defense, aggressiveness and weight (in the case that the weight difference is 10 kg/22 lb or more). The above criteria are listed according to priority. The fight is scored in its entirety and not round by round. After the third round, each judge must decide a winner. Matches cannot end in a draw.
  • Disqualification
A "warning" will be given in the form of a yellow card (along with a 10% deduction in fight purse) when a fighter commits an illegal action or does not follow the referee's instruction. Three warnings will result in a disqualification.
  • No Contest
In the event that both sides commit a violation of the rules, the bout will be declared a "No Contest."


  • In the event that a fighter is injured by illegal actions, then at the discretion of the referee and ring doctor, the round will attempt to be resumed after enough time has been given to the fighter to recover. If the match cannot be continued due to the severity of the injury then the fighter who perpetrated the action will be disqualified.
  • In the event that both fighters are on the verge of falling out of the ring, the referee will alert them and ask them not to move. The fighters must immediately stop their movements and will then be pulled back to the center of the ring, exactly in the position they were in. They will then resume the fight at the referee's call.
  • The “No Contest” Rule---When an illegal action disqualifies both fighters or the judges decide to stop the fight because of an accident (in the first round), then the fight shall be called a "No Contest." However, in the case that the accident happens during or after the second round, a decision shall be made according to the fighter's performance during the first round and the preceding round(s) before the accident occurred.
  • Upon the fighter's choice, gi, kneepads, elbow-pads, shin guards, taping and ankle supporter may be worn, but each should be checked by the referee before the fight. Mouthpieces and cups are mandatory for fighters.
  • If both fighters are in the middleweight class: If there is a weight difference of 10 kg/22 lb or more between the fighters, then the lighter fighter is given a choice on whether to permit knees or kicks to the face when the fighters are in the "four points position."
  • If both fighters are in the heavyweight class: If there is a weight difference of 15 kg/33 lb or more between the fighters, then the lighter fighter is given a choice on whether to permit knees or kicks to the face when the fighters are in the "four points position."
  • If the match is between a middleweight and heavyweight: If there is a weight difference of 10 kg/22 lb or more between the fighters, then the lighter fighter is given a choice on whether to permit knees or kicks to the face when the fighters are in the "four points position."
  • The PRIDE FC ring is 7 meters by 7 meters (approximately 23 feet by 23 feet).
  • In Pride referee can give a fighter colour cards for not being active. It came from Bushido, where referees used green cards. Every card, including warning cards, are 10% deduction of fighters purse. This was provided to prevent slow action and mobilize the fighters.

PRIDE current champions

Fedor Emelianenko, current PRIDE Heavyweight Champion
Fedor Emelianenko, current PRIDE Heavyweight Champion
Weight Division Champion
Heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko
Middleweight Wanderlei Silva
Welterweight Dan Henderson
Lightweight Takanori Gomi

Recent Tournament champions:

Year/Weight Division Champion
2000 Openweight Mark Coleman
2003 Middleweight Wanderlei Silva
2004 Heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko
2005 Middleweight Mauricio Rua
2005 Welterweight Dan Henderson
2005 Lightweight Takanori Gomi
2006 Openweight Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović

Notable PRIDE fighters

Note: some fighters occasionally change their weight class.



Wanderlei Silva, current Middleweight Champion.
Wanderlei Silva, current Middleweight Champion.



PRIDE events

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