January 12, 2007
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Kickstart My Heart:
Overachiever Dan Henderson to Fight Wanderlei Silva for Title as Pride Moves Forward in the States
By Steven Marrocco
Only in Hollywood. Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee marked the second stunt casting in Pride’s pre fight presser, stepping behind the mic to announce the main event and proclaim his love for Pride. Strangely, Mike Tyson was nowhere to be found.
Announced formally was Pride 33, "The Second Coming" at the Thomas and Mack Center on February 24th, as Pride attempts to build its audience and establish roots in the US. Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson, looking to settle a score and add some silver to his mantle, will challenge Wanderlei Silva for the Middleweight title.
When probed for the reasoning behind Henderson getting the shot as opposed to another Middleweight, placing him in the position of defending two belts, Executive VP Jerry Millen had two words.
"Why not?" he said breezily.
CEO Nobuhiku Sakikibara also officially announced Pride’s schedule for the year, with three more events to come to the U.S. (at unspecified locations) after Pride 33.
As to be expected, Wanderlei was extremely confident in another victory. With Silva the poster child for soccer kicks and stomps that are the signature of the promotion, the question was posed how the NSAC’s rules would affect his game plan. "It’s going to take me a little more time to knock him out, but I’m going to knock him out," he said through his translator, Jorge Olivera. "I will destroy him."
Sensing heat, Millen playfully goaded Henderson by asking him what he thought of that.
"He’s a funny guy," Henderson shot back to the laughs of the audience. Wanderlei was not smiling.
"This is something I’ve been wanting for a couple years now," Henderson continued. "I think it would look nicer at my house anyway."
If he manages to win both belts, Henderson said wryly, "I’ll be busy this year."
"I fought in the United States eight years ago," Silva concluded. "I’ve had forty fights in my career, but this is going to be one of the best for my career."
Only in Hollywood.