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CBSSports.com Interview: Former PRIDE executive speaks out on the record

I know that there are a lot of PRIDE fans that never got straight answers about the inner-workings of the company that led to its downfall earlier this year.

I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a few key people from PRIDE over the last year and learned a lot of interesting things that answered a lot of questions. Unfortunately, none of them wanted to go on the record.

That is, until now.

Hardcore fans know the name Turi Altavilla as the former Vice President of Production and Marketing in PRIDE’s U.S. office in Los Angeles.

A tell-all interview with Altavilla is now available on CBSSports.com.

Altavilla is now a Vice President with EliteXC and recently expressed an interest in going on the record about a great many topics pertaining to PRIDE.

I’ve done a lot of interviews for CBSSports.com this year and enjoyed them all. However, few come close to this interview in regard to major revelations.

It’s an explosive interview that I think PRIDE fans will find illuminating. For example, here’s an excerpt of Altavilla being asked to point to a reason for the downfall of PRIDE:

Q: I wanted to ask you some questions about Pride because you got to see the promotion from the inside. Can you pinpoint a top reason as to why the promotion fell from grace, so to speak?

TA: I don’t think it can be just one reason (but) I can tell you what my perspective was … I saw things from a different perspective in the U.S. I think what was happening in Japan has been talked about over and over again. The way that I pictured things was that Japan was the main engine of our airplane and when that main engine failed we should have had the auxiliary engine ready. That auxiliary engine should have been the U.S.

For years I had been pushing and pushing along with Jerry Millen. There were so many things that we wanted to do that we were not just able to do because it was either not a priority or we wouldn’t get the response in the time we needed them. I don’t think the group that Pride had heading the U.S. office — the two Japanese that were heading the office in Los Angeles — I just don’t think they were the right people. I don’t think we were able to develop and push Pride in the U.S. the way that we should have…

At one point during the interview, Altavilla even revealed that a meeting took place between Spike TV and PRIDE executives following the first season of The Ultimate Fighter:

Q: Reality TV really changed the game for the UFC. Did Pride ever make a strong pitch to do a reality TV show?

TA: There were conversations with Spike that I was not involved in. After season one there was a meeting between Pride and Spike. Unfortunately, the duo that went on behalf of Pride to go to that meeting didn’t have any television background, marketing background, or even an MMA background. They went and took that meeting and obviously nothing happened.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Click here to read the interview in its entirety.

4 COMMENTS
  • RT says:

    Great interveiw Sam! lots of good questions that finally shed some light on the biggest MMA story of 2007.

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  • jaydog says:

    Sounds like Gomi is going to EliteXC.

    Don’t care where. Just wanna see him fight again.

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  • MMA SKOOL ™ says:

    That’s a good interview. I didn’t even know Pride had a US office. I’m a fan of Pride mainly from watching those DVD sets you can buy off Amazon. It grows on you. Been a UFC fan for a while, but the slightly different rules of Pride and the difference between Bas and Co. and Joe and Goldie is a nice change.

    Turi says Pride was failing in Japan and ultimately failed overall because it didn’t get established in the U.S., but he didn’t say WHY it failed in Japan… The Fetittas brothers might have kept it going in Japan and the US if it wasn’t failing in Japan, right? So why was it failing in Japan? Yakuza connection rumors killing the Japanese TV coverage? Pride bankruptcy in Japan? Still curious.

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  • Zurich says:

    #3, go read up about it on Fight Opinion, there’s a ton of information out there on the topic. The short of it is, a sports magazine ran a negative feature on Pride, linking them to the Yakuza. Fuji TV quickly dropped them, and without national TV coverage Pride basically lost its principle source of revenue. What’s new from this article is that it seems Pride’s Japanese management screwed up royally by not supporting their US office. If Pride had gotten a TV deal in the US, that could have changed everything.

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