Wednesday, May 17, 2006
World Fighting Alliance Comes Out Swinging By Signing International Mixed Martial Arts Superstar Quinton Jackson - Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
World Fighting Alliance Comes Out Swinging By Signing International Mixed Martial Arts Superstar Quinton Jackson
Jackson vs. Olympic Silver Medalist and Former UFC #1 Contender Matt “The Law” Lindland Fight Among Star-Studded Lineup For The WFA’s Inaugural “WFA: King of the Streets” Event at The Forum July 22nd
LOS ANGELES, May 15, 2006 – The World Fighting Alliance (WFA) was officially reborn today as a “fighter-first” association featuring the world’s toughest mixed martial arts (MMA) athletes. The announcement coincided with the WFA’s signing of international MMA superstar Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the man who destroyed reigning UFC light-heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, ending months of speculation about which association Jackson would call home. The WFA also announced its inaugural event, “WFA: King of the Streets” to be held July 22nd at The Forum in Los Angeles, California.
The WFA is designed to be the world’s premier professional Mixed Martial Arts association, providing fans, sponsors and the media with an incomparable entertainment experience. As a “fighter-first” association, the WFA will showcase its athletes’ skills and personalities to the sport’s growing legions of fans through compelling match-ups, in-depth interviews and features highlighting the twisted roads and difficult paths that have led them to the pinnacle of the MMA world.
“As mixed martial arts continues to evolve into a mainstream global sports and entertainment attraction, it’s critical that we preserve the competitive balance and integrity of the sport, while continually upgrading the entertainment experience for consumers,” said Jeremy Lappen, CEO of the WFA. “To date, other organizations have not done a very good job of developing and marketing their fighters. The WFA, however, is founded on the belief that it’s the fighters, their unique stories, and the rivalries and drama between them that will take the sport to even greater levels of success.”
Those stories, rivalries and the drama that follows will be showcased at the inaugural “WFA: King of the Streets” event taking place on July 22nd at The Forum, a historic venue rich in fighting history. Located in the heart of Inglewood, Calif., the venue provides an appropriate urban setting to kick off the WFA’s street-brand of MMA entertainment.
“For so many of our fighters, the hardships of the streets demanded physical dominance as a matter of pure survival. They come from rough and humble beginnings, but the commitment to training and developing their MMA fighting skills is what got them off of the streets,” said Lappen. “The WFA celebrates the street origins of our sport and what better place to pay respect to our edgy roots then in the heart of Los Angeles at the historic Forum.”
In addition to “Rampage” Jackson, the WFA’s star-studded lineup of fighters includes:
Street fighting legend and former UFC superstar heavyweight Kimo Leopoldo
The undefeated Brazilian Lyoto Machida, the only man to beat UFC Champion Rich Franklin (he ko’d him), and whose career record also includes victories over stars BJ Penn and Stephen Bonnar
Former boxing star Jeremy “Half-Man, Half-Amazing” Williams who’s crossing over into the MMA realm after a stint as one of the featured trainers on ESPN’s popular boxing reality show The Contender
Jason “Mayhem” Miller, one of the sport’s most exciting young fighters and a self-made internet celebrity whose fan club, the “Mayhem’s Monkeys” comprises thousands of rabid MMA fans.
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez who looks to regain his crown as the top fighter in the world.
World-class kick boxer-turned MMA competitor Kit Cope looks to finally establish himself as a legitimate force in the cage in the WFA.
The official fight card for “WFA: King of the Streets” features a “who’s who” of established MMA stars, now fighting under the WFA banner. The WFA sought to present the most intense head-to-head match-ups possible, loaded with significant history and animosity between scheduled opponents. The result will be one of the most action-packed and controversial fight cards in MMA history.
Following is a breakdown of the WFA King of the Streets bouts confirmed to date.” The complete fight card will be announced in the days to come once all match-ups become official:
Quinton Jackson (24-6-0) vs Matt Lindland (18-3-0)
After a highly-touted five-year fight career in Japan, one of MMA’s most popular fighters is reborn in North America with the arrival of the WFA. Jackson takes on former Olympic silver medal-winning wrestler-turned submission specialist Matt Lindland. Lindland, the former #1 contender at 185 lbs, has moved up to the 205 lb. weight class and recently scored an impressive first round submission win against Mike Van Arsdale.
Ricco Rodriguez (22-6-0) vs Ron Waterman (13-3-2)
Following a lengthy absence, this former UFC heavyweight champion makes a highly anticipated return to the cage in a battle against long-time rival Ron Waterman, who defeated Rodriquez in their only match prior to “WFA: King of the Streets.” Rodriguez will enter this bout looking to not only settle unfinished business with Waterman, but to reestablish him as a force to be reckoned with in the sport.
Lyoto Machida (7-0-0) vs Vernon White (24-27-2)
This bout features one of MMA’s brightest new stars against one of its most respected veterans. With one of the most impressive winning streaks in MMA, Machida, an undefeated knockout specialist with victories over top stars Rich Franklin, BJ Penn, and Stephan Bonnar looks to establish himself in the WFA by going head to head with the “Tiger.” White has shown impressive hands of late, knocking out his last two opponents, and a victory over this young prodigy would go far in refuting those who believe his best days are behind him.
Ivan Salaverry (11-4-0) vs Art Santore (14-4-0)
This bout pits two of the sport’s most technically sound fighters against each other. MMA veteran Salaverry is used to competing with top talent on a daily basis, having come out of the AMC Pankration camp of Bob Sapp and Josh Barnett. For Santore this fight against the proven Salaverry represents one of his biggest challenges to date. However, on the heels of capturing the UMMA World Middleweight title, Santore looks to continue his steady rise to MMA prominence with a victory at WFA King of the Streets.
Kimo Leopoldo (9-5-1) vs Opponent TBD
After a successful career establishing himself as one of the sport’s most dynamic and imposing forces, defeating such notable MMA stars as Tank Abbott, Bam Bam Bigelow and Kazushi Sakuraba, Kimo overcame his biggest battle against drugs and alcohol. The born-again Christian now backed by faith, intends to return to a position of dominance in MMA, beginning with “WFA: King of the Streets.” His opponent will be announced in the days to come.
Rob McCullough (11-3-0) vs Opponent TBD
Following a successful kick boxing career that earned him a reputation as a dominant lightweight striker, McCullough has made a successful transition into MMA. The O.C. local looks to take his career to the next level fighting for the WFA. His opponent will be announced in the days to come.
Jason Miller (14-4-0) vs. Opponent TBD
Jason “Mayhem” Miller brings his trademark wild style as the still-reigning Icon Sport Welterweight champion. The wily submission expert has made huge strides in MMA over the past several years and is determined to establish a legacy of dominance in the WFA with his outrageous and aggressive style.
Tickets for “WFA: King of the Streets” at The Forum went on sale this afternoon and are available at all Southern California Ticket Master outlets (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino and Ventura Counties), online at Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (213) 480-3232, (714) 740-2000, (661) 322-2525 or (805) 583-8700.
The event will also be shown live on pay-per-view television (details to be announced in the days to come).
Intimidating forces like Jackson will have significant input into the way they are marketed, providing fans with the greatest access ever to their favorite athletes.
“When Jeremy (Lappen) shared his vision for the WFA with me, it was clear that this was an organization committed to its fighters and to consistently putting the highest level of MMA talent in the cage for the fans,” said Jackson. “The decision was easy for me. The WFA is going to take this sport to an even higher level of competition and entertainment and I wanted to be a part of that.”
The WFA’s management and ownership group includes Lappen, Las Vegas attorneys Ross Goodman and Louis Palazzo, and retired businessman William McFarlane. The WFA has been reborn through the team after a six-year hiatus. The commitment to working in tandem with the fighters is fueling the rebirth and attracting many of the sport’s most recognizable names.
For more information on the WFA and “WFA: King of the Streets,” July 22nd at the Forum in Los Angeles, visit www.wfa.tv.