As a big fan of the now-defunct Pride MMA promotion, I was anticipating the upcoming Spike TV series Best of Pride Fighting Championships with mixed emotions: Yes, it will be great to see the best old Pride fights again, but the UFC (which now owns the old Pride footage) probably isn't going to give us great fights won by the likes of Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and Pride middleweight and welterweight champion Dan Henderson, who are now fighting for UFC rival Strikeforce.
That's one reason that the UFC's signing of Takanori Gomi is a good thing.
In 15 Pride fights, Gomi won 13 times, and some of his wins were among the most spectacular knockouts the sport has ever seen. Gomi was Pride's lightweight champion, and you can bet that now that he's with the UFC, we'll see those great Pride fights regularly on Spike.
True, we probably won't see Gomi's final Pride fight, a loss to Strikeforce's Nick Diaz that later became a no contest when Diaz tested positive for marijuana. And we probably won't see Gomi's loss to Marcus Aurelio, who was cut by the UFC in 2009. But those 13 Pride victories will be a lot of fun to see.
And who knows -- maybe the UFC will pleasantly surprise me and show some of the big wins by Fedor, Henderson, Kazuo Misaki, Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett and other accomplished ex-Pride fighters who are now fighting outside the UFC. But even if Best of Pride is used just to promote the UFC guys, it should still be a great show. And even better now that Gomi is on board.