Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Mixed Martial Arts: Frank Shamrock to Fight Cesar Gracie March 10 in San Jose, CA, in First State-Sanctioned Card 

This should be an event which should sell itself.

The first legal and sanctioned mixed martial arts card in California not on Native American land will be held Friday, March 10, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The main event will feature a former perennial MMA fighter of the year, until he retired, Frank Shamrock, facing a member of the First Family of MMA, Cesar Gracie.

California's athletic commission had actually approved rules to regulate MMA several years ago, but has only begun receiving funds from the state for the administrative costs to implement them. This initial outlay will no doubt be made up very quickly in various fees.

This should also serve as a lesson to those few backwards states which still outlaw MMA -- are you listening New York? -- that they should adopt legislation similar to the laws already in force in states including Nevada, New Jersey, and now California.

The event also marks the entry into the MMA promotional game of Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment (SVSE). This organization has wide experience promoting events in the world of sports, including promoting "Miller Lite Fight Night" boxing events as well as those of the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks. Hopefully this event will be promoted as a real sport, and not as a knockoff of the fake pro "wrestling" but with real fights, as some other MMA promoters have been doing.

For those who cannot get to San Jose for this historic event, we have been informed that a TV deal is in the works and will be announced shortly.

Here is the press release announcing this fight card:

***For Immediate Release***

For more information, contact Mike Afromowitz

Shamrock-Gracie Finally A Go
Cung Le To Debut In California's Historic First MMA Event

January 10, 2006; New York, NY….Mixed martial arts's oldest family rivalry will be re-ignited when former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight king Frank Shamrock (20-7-1) collides with undefeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Cesar Gracie (14-0) in a showdown at San Jose, California's HP Pavilion on Friday, March 10th. Undefeated world San Shou kickboxing champion, Cung Le (16-0 (10 KO's), will make his highly anticipated mixed martial arts debut while rising star Josh "The Punk" Thomson (10-1 (1 no contest) and seasoned veteran Eugene Jackson (12-7-1) will return to action during what will be the first mixed martial arts fight card sanctioned in California since the sport was officially legalized there last month.

"This guy came out and challenged me, hid behind his name, hid behind his students and, now, I'm finally gonna get a crack at him," said Shamrock of his opponent and the feud that has been brewing between the two for the last two years. "I've always wanted to fight a Gracie and they've always ran from me but, suddenly, this one's gone nuts so I'm gonna take care of him."

At 33 years of age, Shamrock, a San Jose resident, is recognized as one of the greatest forces in mixed martial arts's 12-year history. During his career, he has defeated the likes of former UFC light heavyweight king Tito Ortiz; Bas Rutten; and 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist, Kevin Jackson, whom he stopped in a world record 14 seconds by way of armbar submission. His victory over Japan's Minoru Suzuki in January of 1996 earned Shamrock the prestigious King Of Pancrase championship.

The matchup with Gracie will be Shamrock's first since March 27, 2003 when he easily submitted Bryan Pardoe by way of armbar in less than two minutes. In 1999, Shamrock temporarily retired to pursue a career in Hollywood. To date, he has appeared in the former HBO hit prison drama series, OZ, and Chuck Norris's former CBS television blockbuster series, Walker Texas Ranger, as well as a nationally televised spot for fast food conglomerate, Burger King. Later this year, Shamrock will make his silver screen debut in the cage fighting drama No Rules that stars Gary Busey, Pamela Anderson, and Tom Sizemore. The film also features appearances by mixed martial arts legends Randy Couture and Don Frye.

A veteran of over 200 Jiu-Jitsu contests, Gracie has become a fixture in Pleasant Hill, California where, as a trainer, he has produced a host of world-class mixed martial arts talent by imparting on his students the teachings of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, the progressive style of combat conceived in the early part of the 20th century by his grandfather, Carlos. "This is a great opportunity for me to showcase my skills," said Gracie. "Of course there's a lot of pressure in terms of upholding the family legacy but, ultimately, the only person I can represent is me and I'm going to do that and show the world what I'm made of when I come face to face with Frank."

The Shamrock-Gracie saga began twelve years ago when Gracie's cousin, Royce, defeated Shamrock's brother, Ken, en route to becoming champion of the first-ever UFC. The two fought to a draw during a rematch a year and a half later.

Le's transition from the world of stand-up combat serves as a response to fight fans who have long beckoned the 185-pound limit, Vietnamese-born fighter to test his superior technique in the fiercely competitive waters of mixed martial arts.

Le's last start came on June 4th at the HP Pavilion where he earned a unanimous decision over Shamrock protégé, Brian Ebersole, in a bout contested under San Shou rules. Le is also a four-time victor of K-1 "Superfights" staged in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Thomson is a veteran of both the UFC and Japan's Pride Fighting Championship. His last start, a Muay Thai rules on the Le-headlined June 4th card, saw him quickly stop Toshiyuki Nakagawa only 54 seconds after the opening bell rang.

The matchup between Shamrock and Gracie was originally scheduled to take place on October 1st of last year. A delay in the proceedings necessary to ratify the bill sanctioning mixed martial arts in the state of California, however, caused a postponement of the bout.

Tickets for "Shamrock vs. Gracie" will officially go on sale on Saturday, January 28th at the HP Pavilion box office and at all Ticketmaster (408-998-TIXS) outlets nationwide. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the Ticketmaster hotline at 408-998-TIXS or by visiting Ticketmaster online at http://www.ticketmaster.com/. Ticket prices will start at $30.

Doors to the event will open at 5 PM Pacific Standard Time on March 10th. The first preliminary bout will begin at 6 PM.

The "Shamrock vs. Gracie" bill is being promoted and produced by Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment (SVSE, http://www.svse.net/), a leading producer of major sporting and entertainment events and the exclusive producer of such events for San Jose, California's largest entertainment arena, the HP Pavilion. SVSE's many properties include "Miller Lite Fight Night," world championship boxing; the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks; and the annual ATP men's professional tennis "SAP Open" event.

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