| | Possible Reasons why Sakuraba left Pride
Credit: Fight Opinion . com
By: Zach Arnold
Shukan Gendai: PRIDE & Kiyohara (Fuji TV) try to stop Sakuraba from leaving DSE
In a short article in this week’s edition of Shukan Gendai, the magazine talks about Kazushi Sakuraba leaving PRIDE because they claim that he has been concerned with what has been going on in PRIDE for a long time. Second, the magazine states that Sakuraba was getting a few million yen per fight appearance (while putting himself at physical risk), whereas contemporaries like Hidehiko Yoshida and Naoya Ogawa were taking giant paydays on New Year’s Eve. (Editor’s note — While I do believe it is true that Sakuraba was getting paid less fight money than Yoshida and Ogawa, I do not believe that it was just “a few million yen” per fight.)
The magazine notes that Kunio Kiyohara apparently called Kazuyoshi Ishii to complain about Sakuraba leaving PRIDE and tried to stop Sakuraba from showing up at the HERO’s 5/3 Tokyo, Yoyogi National Stadium Gym I event. Gendai claims that Kiyohara/PRIDE even tried sending a car to block Sakuraba’s driveway on the day of the HERO’s show in an attempt to actually stop him from going. The magazine claims that Ishii responded to Kiyohara’s complaints by stating, “I thought that you and Fuji TV had nothing to do with fighter contracts, and you didn’t take any action when K-1 fighters left for PRIDE. Has your policy changed?” Gendai says Kiyohara didn’t answer this question.