The problem is the fights were fixed in Pride. Everybody in MMA in Japan knows this. It was run by the Yakuza simple as that. Yakuza pay you lots of money to fight, and they tell you to do something you do it.
Those guys were earning peanuts back then so its hard to blame them going there and making some cash. Its not as if the sport was in the worlds eye demanding integrity from role models
All of those fighters sonnen is talking about are good fighters. I would say Nog is a great fighter. Fedor we'll never really know. Cro Cop, what a fu**in disaster and a let down. "Right foot stuck to the floor, left foot stuck up his ass" Wandy, well the point about him getting destroyed in the UFC and then going to be a legend in pride is pretty valid.
The fact is, because none of them have been UFC champs or done well in the UFC (except nog who I think has performed well) so what Sonnen says is correct to a degree. Its just the way he says it people don't like.
I mean if you come out and say King Kong Bundy was a great fighter you'd be laughed at for being so naive as to think wrestling wasnt fixed. Its the same with Pride. It was fixed for betting, and to think otherwise is naive. Go down the local sushi restaurant and ask the chef and he will tell you. I wouldn't be talking too much shit about it either if I was one of those fighters - 'oh yeah those yakuza guys, they are gay, they fixed everything in pride". So thats why its not talked about.
Sonnen is the king of trash talk, the gag about the bus is brilliant. But jeez I wouldn't be going to brazil any time soon if I were him!
actually every mma org in japan has influence from the yakuza, and pretty much every1 knows this, pride got shut down because it became public news, but every1 knew about it
the yakuza just want the org to pay them so they can keep running their company, they do this even with small orgs like sengouku, and you can bet dream is involved with them also
i do agree that some fights were fixed though, pride was becoming huge and i think the bigger it became the more influence the yakuza had on it, they wanted more money, wanted to protect the top fighters, i wouldnt say the fights were fixed in a wrestling sort of way, its obvious the contact was real
but i wouldnt be surprised to know that some fighters were paid to take dives against guys like wandy, cro cop or fedor, they also matched them up many times with guys they knew werent good enough to beat them
i do think they were protected, but they still had amazing legit wars also