A company president who organized “Pride” mixed-martial arts matches has been found dead in a Tokyo hotel in an apparent suicide, police said Thursday.
Police said they believe Naoto Morishita, 42, hanged himself. The body was found at 1 a.m. Thursday.
Along with K-1, which mixes elements of karate, kick boxing and kung fu, Pride has boosted the recent popularity of martial-arts bouts.
Compared with K-1, Pride is generally more violent. Fighters can virtually use any technique in the ring except biting or attacking the eyes or groin.
Since the first match was organized in October 1997 at the Tokyo Dome, Pride has become increasingly popular due to a number of star fighters, including Kazushi Sakuraba and Brazilian Rickson Gracie.
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