RIP Pride FC. It's not just money, it's the American rules. You simply were not allowed to not fight in Pride, it did not matter what those guys were being paid, the ref made sure they fought. MMA at it's finest.
The fighters were also in fantastic shape all the time, they had to be because every fight had a ten minute first round. People now laugh at this, saying long rounds and kicks to downed opponents are too brutal... look at the fights it produced, the FIGHTERS it produced.
I think the idea of average skill level being higher nowadays is exaggerated too.
I can't possibly get behind soccer kicks and that bogus purse deduction, I'd like to see knees to the head brought back but I think those rules are far too violent for a sport, which is why I watch MMA not for the fighting aspect but the sport aspect of it.
The stand up rule, my opinion on it is well known, it's garbage and it needs to be eliminated, the only rule change I would be open to is knees to the head, I'm sick of seeing guys put their hands on the mat and avoid getting kneed in the head.
People need to accept the fact that the sport has moved on and the Chuck Liddells, Wanderlei Silvas, Fedors of the world, they're gone or are on their way out. We're in the Jon Jones/Rory MacDonald/Anthony Pettis/Chris Weidman era right now and the money now is more than it ever has been.
They do need to make people fight though, Anderson being allowed to just sit on a title and not defend it for a year is a joke.