It was 1992 and I was in 3rd grade art class which took place in my school’s dimmed cafeteria between lunch hours. I want to say it was November, but it could’ve been earlier, maybe even later in the year. Regardless, the conversation of what me and my tiny friends wanted for Christmas came up. In retrospect, discussing with other kids what you wanted for Christmas or your birthday was the kid equivalent of small talk about the weather or whatever the local sports team is doing in town. Then Ryan Letszeizer, a spitting image for the kid in A Christmas Story, nonchalantly walked up to our table and matter-of-factly stated ‘Santa’s not real fellas’. Then pushed up his glasses and walked away.
That moment really sucked.
UFC Undisputed may make us feel otherwise, but Pride is dead. Dead as Whitney Houston, and all of our hopes and dreams of something ‘special’ happening at next week’s UFC 144 event at the Saitama Super Arena have officially been Ryan Letszeizer’d by Dana White. Here’s the proof from MMAJunkie:
“Do I think this is going to be a PRIDE event and 100,000 people are going to show up, and it’s going to be like that?” UFC President Dana White asked. “No, I don’t think that. But I think that there is a fanbase there for the UFC.
“People keep asking me, ‘Oh, will you play the PRIDE music? Will you do?’ No, this isn’t PRIDE. It’s the UFC. The UFC is coming to Japan, and what the people in Japan are going to see is what they see on television, if they’re UFC fans.”
“We’re going to slowly try to build that market back up, and we’ll see what happens. There’s no pro wrestlers, and you’re not going to see some 400-pound dude fighting a 100-pound dude. None of that stuff’s going to happen. The UFC is going to go in there, and we have fans there already. Those fans are going to show up.”
“The one thing I know is that whether we put on a FUEL TV fight on Omaha, Neb., in front of 7,000 people or we do a 56,000-seat arena in Toronto, we put on one of the best live shows there is in sports. We’re going to go in and hit that market like we do every other market, and people are going to leave that arena that night, and they’re going to have seen a great show.”
All I wanted was Lenne Hardt and Bruce Buffer (I’m not greedy, both!), maybe a white cage, a ramp, fireworks and Sakuraba in the crowd smiling at me with half an ear falling off. Oh well, 144 is still going to be awesome, just not Pride Santa soccer kicking awesome.