Taping his fists as he and The revelation, years old by the time it was made public, was far from shocking, but coming as it did in a high-profile magazine article, Fuji TV was forced to take action.Pride was cancelled in 2006, less than a year after judo stars Hidehiko Yoshida and Naoya Ogawa squared off in its highest-profile fight ever.
Anjo, considered the toughest of Takada's crew in a real fight, called a press conference to challenge Rickson, telling the world he could beat the jiu-jitsu ace in less than a minute.
Though Rickson watched the tape at his home in Pacific Palisades, California, he had no response.
Nobuhiko Takada, a popular box office attraction with matinee-idol looks and vicious leg kicks, was walking a similar path and perhaps saw Gracie as his Muhammad Ali.
When Rickson refused a series of pro wrestling matches with Takada, the promotion pivoted adeptly, challenging the Gracie brothers to fights they knew could never happen, a tactic they commonly used to shame other pro wrestlers in Japan who wanted no part of swaggering bullies from the Union of Wrestling Forces International.
organization," former heavyweight contender Heath Herring says.
"UFC was around, but it wasn't anything compared to Pride when it came to pay days or how many people were watching."Pride was the big show, the epitome of the sport at that time."This year marks the promotion's 20th anniversary.
The fight that birthed Pride, the legendary Japanese MMA promotion, took place far away from the cavernous Tokyo Dome that would later be filled to the brim for its biggest events.
The promotion's fights would later air to television audiences numbered in the tens of millions, but only a select few have seen the carefully guarded VHS tape of this particular bout.
In March 2007, the UFC swept in, buying Pride's assets and promising to create an MMA Super Bowl.