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Mixed Martial Arts Groups Fight In Court

LAS VEGAS (CN) - Nobuyuki Sakakibara, a Japanese mixed martial arts outfit, says the Ultimate Fighting Championship lied in its promise to keep the venue alive if allowed to buy the "Pride" brand. Nobuyuki said it sold "Pride" to UFC, relying on UFC's promise to keep it going and "create the possibility of holding major mixed martial arts events comparable to the World Series and the Super Bowl." But UFC acquired Pride to destroy it and eliminate competition, according to the federal complaint.

Nobuyuki Sakakibara claims that F.C. Worldwide Holdings, owner of the UFC brand, had no intention of holding and maintaining Pride shows. It claims that it turned down more lucrative offers to sell the Pride brand to UFC, and that unbeknownst to plaintiffs, while the deal was being hammered out, the defendants were contacting Pride fighters and signing them up to join their competing league.

On Oct. 4, 2007, defendants fired all of the Pride employees in Japan and closed its offices. Plaintiffs, represented by Thomas Kummer, seek at least $10 million.

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