Oh Pride Fighting Championships, where have you gone? Where are your soccer kicks and head stomps now? Where are you flamboyant entrance and unforgettable characters? Sorry to say it but PRIDE is dead and itâ€™s not coming back. When PRIDE collapsed it left a vacuum of power in the Asian MMA scene. Out of the ashes of PRIDE arose several smaller organizations, each trying to become the new PRIDE but not quite able to do so. Now, a few years after the collapse (think Roman Empire) things have settled down. No one organization is trying to reclaim the massive territory that PRIDE once commanded (except for ONE FC, ironically). The Asian MMA scene is not one giant empire but now a series of smaller shows still putting on great fights. Letâ€™s look at some of the organizations that have inherited the â€œwill of fireâ€, and continue to put on great shows.
Based out of Hong Kong, Legend FC is a relatively new player to the Asian MMA scene. Their fights take place mostly in Macau, a never-before-tried move in terms of venue. Legend FCâ€™s unique approach seems to be to influence MMA through China. On any card there will a plethora of Chinese fighters, with fighters from Korea, the Fillipines, India, New Zealand, and anywhere else the Pacific touches. I met with the Co-Founder of Legend FC, and on our subway ride into town he seemed very interested in grooming Chinese talent. Ideally, Legend FC will do for Chinese MMA scene what the NBA did for Chinese basketball scene..
Remember Spirit MC? Probably not. It was a small Korean-based MMA organization that Denis Kang made a name for himself in. Unfortunately, MMA wasnâ€™t very popular in Korea back them and Spirit MC is no longer with us. With the influence and then collapse of PRIDE, the popularity of MMA in Korea has risen significantly, but still lacks key numbers. Road FC looks to expand those numbers, bringing back the old â€œgrand prixâ€ format for their middleweight tournament. Talent is mostly Korean, but it should be noted that quite a few international competitors are present at every event. An interesting part of Road FC is the â€œYoung Gunsâ€ category, which is basically unaired preliminary matches. As the name suggests the fighters are usually raw and are looking to cut their teeth on the professional scene. Also, the Young Guns cards tend to hold a lot of fights, so you can be sure that on any Road FC card youâ€™ll get the most bang for your buck. Or Won, thatâ€™s the currency they use here.
ONE FC has been rumored to be the illegitimate child of PRIDE FC. Think Arnold and his cleaning ladyâ€™s son: it sounds awesome, but we donâ€™t know if theyâ€™ll stand the test of time. Veterans from the UFC and PRIDE stud every event card, and even the rules remind us of the good old days. Remember knees to the head on the ground? Theyâ€™re back. With a confirmed partnership with Road FC, it should be interesting to see how far this organization can go. With high production value and a solid stable of veteran fighters, itâ€™s a prospect that any fight fan can get excited for. Itâ€™s too early to tell how serious a player ONE FC will be in the Asian MMA world, but hopefully with the credentials from a fallen empire behind it theyâ€™ll give the world something to look forward to.