i thought that in the early 2000's pride was the premier organization. i think the ufc was still trying to recover from the damage done by the prior owners and the fact that so many people were still against it here in the states. japan was much more open and welcome to all kinds of fighting sports and had already established fighting as a part of their culture. just look how long pride went without changing any rules like soccer kicks and kneeing to the head of downed opponents, they still had them when Zuffa purchased them. the ufc had already done drastic rule changes since their early days.