Sex, Drugs, Gangsters and MMA: Remembering Pride, UFC's Wild Predecessor
The UFC has become nearly synonymous with the sport of mixed martial arts. The Las Vegas-based promotion is home to many of the top MMA fighters in the world, and its events dominate the landscape. But that hasn't always been true. Before it was a piece in a billion-dollar company's portfolio, MMA was home to mavericks, outcasts and fanatics looking for a tiny slice of danger. The sport had an Eastern flair, and for nearly a decade, it called Tokyo its home. While the UFC was battling regulators, politicians and cable companies at home, Pride Fighting Championships was the dominant player in the space, featuring events equal parts ridiculous and sublime.