Mike Tyson nearly fought Cro Cop and Fedor in Pride FC
Mike Tyson once said that he wished he had a button to kill everyone on the planet. That's a novel thought coming from a guy that said he wanted to eat Lennox Lewis' kids. Fortunately at the time, Lennox Lewis didn't have any children. There would be no baby eating on behalf of Mike Tyson that day nor was there ever a button labeled 'push to kill everyone on earth'. In a perfect world, that same button would make every MMA event from now on governed under Pride FC rules. This button would also be retroactive, meaning it would navigate throughout history and include soccer kicks and headstomps in every MMA event that ever occurred since the sports' inception. One button would rewrite the history of mixed martial arts...and Mike Tyson would be in possession of it. Amazing.
Hopefully, this button would also control Tyson's decision to participate in a Pride FC 'World Tour' which featured a fight with Fedor and Cro Cop under boxing rules that just never quite materialized. Check out this excerpt from MMA-Japan that was translated from Pride: The Secret Files.
The first meeting with Sakakibara and Mike Tyson took place in April of 2006. The location was China. Mike Tyson, during his imprisonment, had become deeply inspired by revolutionary Mao Zedong. He was in China getting a tattoo of the notorious former leader of China. SakakibaraвЂ™s killing words were вЂњcreating a world tour.вЂќ
Tyson was a huge MMA fan from the very beginning. He had even worn a Vitor Belfort t-shirt at a meeting with reporters. One drawback, as we have seen most recently, an accomplished boxer could not go into the PRIDE ring solely with one skill, for the competition pool was very deep at this time. Two other major draw backs were the fact he had his license suspended by the NSAC and Japan frowned upon allowing convicted felons to fight in their country.
This is where the idea of a вЂњworld tourвЂќ came into SakakibaraвЂ™s mind. His matches would be boxing matches, first with Mirko Crocop, and eventually with Fedor Emelianenko, two strikers that had a chance at boxing with Tyson in the PRIDE ring. The plans were for these fights to be held in Russia, China, and other venues in Europe.
A fight in Japan and the United States were planned for the future, pending the results of the legal hurdles involved in getting him licensed.
Using Tyson in this fashion, PRIDE would be grabbing a share of the market that the UFC was unable to attain.
The primary focus was moving these cards into China and breaking ground in an untapped market such as China. The huge population, the scale of the business, it would be unfathomable for them not to become an instant success. Also, China had land related to Tyson вЂ“ in SakakibaraвЂ™s eyes, this would be a huge success.