PRIDE Boss Will Attend UFC 67, Cheer for “Cro Cop” January 29th, 2007 If PRIDE Fighting Championships’ boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara is pissed about Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s move from the Japanese-based organization to the rival Ultimate Fighting Championships, he does a good job of making you think otherwise. Filipovic (21-4-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who was the PRIDE FC 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix champion., recently signed a six-fight deal with the UFC — and instantly became one of the heavyweight division’s top contenders. You’d think Filipovic’s old organization would have some hard feelings, but if that’s the case, PRIDE’s not letting is on the secret. The PRIDE boss will not only be on hand for UFC 67 this weekend, he says he’ll also be there to support his former fighter. From GRACIEMAG.com: “Of course I will cheer for Mirko. I think that of all the new sports, MMA is the most exciting. If the UFC fighters would like to fight in Pride, then fine. If it is the other way around, and Pride fighters would like to test themselves in the UFC that is fine too. Perhaps it is a little ridiculous to have two big MMA organizations, but we are thinking 10, 20 years down the road. We are working at putting together Pride vs UFC events in the United States and one day having a Superbowl with the champions of each of the weight divisions in Dodgers stadium,” says Sakakibara. There’s no doubt he knows how to say the right things. (But whether or not he believes them is a whole other story.) But don’t expect PRIDE to simply concede the American market. Said Sakakibara: “Sending Mirko to them is our secret strategy,” he joked, amidst laughter. “The truth is that we are grateful for the development UFC has spurred in the American market and the recognition of MMA. It would be very difficult for Pride alone to catch the attention of the general public. I think it is normal that people consider the UFC the entrance to the world of MMA. Once they pass through that entrance, Pride will be there waiting for them,” he finished.