The Best Middleweight (Not) Headed to the UFC?

Today's FightOpinion leads with a headline wondering where the world's best Korean-American middleweight is headed now that PRIDE is gone. Why all the hubbub?…

By: Nate Wilcox | 16 years ago
The Best Middleweight (Not) Headed to the UFC?
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Today’s FightOpinion leads with a headline wondering where the world’s best Korean-American middleweight is headed now that PRIDE is gone.

Why all the hubbub? Check out his reel (sorry for the lame music, just turn down your sound),

As CBS Sportsline says Kang is:

One of the most well-rounded fighters you’ll find amongst the ranks at 185 pounds, Kang holds impressive career wins over the likes of Amar Suloev, Akihoro Gono, Andrei Semenov, and EliteXC middleweight champion Murilo “Ninja” Rua.

That same Sportsline column has an interview where Kang talks about his feelings for PRIDE and its downfall:

Q: A lot of fighters felt a strong sense of loyalty towards Pride. Can you talk about where that loyalty comes from?

DK: The sense of loyalty came for Pride and Pride itself. When the UFC bought Pride, Pride stopped being Pride. You know what I mean? I’ll tell you right now I loved Pride. Pride in my opinion was the best show in the world with the production. You ask anyone that’s fought for Pride and everyone remembers fondly about waiting backstage and hearing the Pride music for the introduction of a fighter, the lighting and the fireworks — there’s no experience like it. I’ve been backstage at UFC, K-1, Bodog, you name it and there’s nothing else like Pride in the world. It’s too bad because Pride was the s—, quite simply.

It was beginning to go down hill right before it got bought by the UFC and you could just see the corruption coming out. I heard reports that Pride was imploding and I think that’s a correct term. Things were going wrong on the inside.

Q: Can you talk about those things that went wrong?

DK: I think everything started with the loss of the sponsor. I was actually in Japan and I think I had just finished fighting “Ninja” (Murilo Rua) when the news broke that Pride had lost the Fuji TV sponsor. At that time I was a little worried but I guess I didn’t even realize what was going on. Pride kept trying to keep everyone’s morale up by saying “it’s no big deal” but it turned out to actually be a big deal. That was the beginning of the end right there.

Q: For all of its great fights, Pride seemed disorganized at times. They lost their TV deal as you mentioned and they did things like not announcing certain fights until the last minute. When it came time to fight, did you sense any chaos from the company or did things run smoothly from your vantage point?

DK: No, absolutely not. Actually, the shows ran really smooth. As far as being organized and things like that, it was top notch. I have seen it elsewhere in places like the UFC and K-1 but the way the show was run was very professional.

And as long as we’re fantasizing, there’s a YouTube clip of a Kang/Anderson Silva match in the full entry.

Yeah so it’s not real, it’s still kind of entertaining.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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