Dream Stage Entertainment
|This article is outdated. (November 2010)|
Dream Stage Entertainment (DSE) was a Japanese company that promoted various wrestling and mixed martial arts events, most notably mixed martial arts Pride Fighting Championship and Hustle professional wrestling events.
Currently, there is speculation in the Japanese press that DSE was a front for Yamaguchi-gumi, a notorious yakuza organization. On June 5, 2006, Fuji Television announced that they were terminating their television contract with DSE effective immediately due to a breach of contract. This leaves Pride and Hustle without a television outlet in Japan, and the lack of the substantial revenues from the deal threatens its sustainability. Furthermore, Fuji has banned anyone connected with DSE on their programs.
On June 12, 2006, SKY PerfecTV!, Japan's leading satellite broadcasting company, announced that they will continue to carry DSE programming, such as Pride and Hustle. Hustle, and the second round of the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix, both scheduled for the Saitama Super Arena, will be broadcast live to millions of homes across Japan. It is important to note that SKY PerfectTV! executives mentioned the decision to carry DSE events is not final and any future problems regarding the alleged connection between DSE and Japanese mafia, as reported by Shukan Gendai, might be reason enough to discontinue the relationship.
DSE's impacts in the US
On October 21, 2006, Pride held its first MMA event in USA, Pride 32: The Real Deal' took place at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. It was the first Pride event to be held outside Japan, and in front of an audience of 11,727.
A buyout of the company by Zuffa, the operators of UFC, had been rumored since late 2006, but on 26 March 2007, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta held a press conference in Japan alongside Pride F.C. Executive Nobuyuki Sakakibara, announcing the complete buyout of Pride F.C. and all of its assets by Zuffa (sources close have indicated the buyout to be slightly under $70 million USD). While little official information has been released following the buy-out, it is presumed that DSE will fold and PRIDE F.C. will be operated by the newly created parent company, PRIDE F.C. Worldwide.
Executives from Dream Stage Entertainment entered into a partnership with FEG, Dream replaced FEG's previous-run mixed martial arts fight series, K-1 Hero's. The series retained many of the stylistic flourishes and personnel from Pride FC broadcasts, including fight introducer Lenne Hardt.
- Nobuyuki Sakakibara - President and CEO
- Nobuhiko Takada - General Director and President of Hustle
- Sotaro Shinoda - Vice President
- Shigeru Saeki - Public Relations Director and Deep Promoter