STRIKEFORCE® LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION GILBERT MELENDEZ DEFENDS TITLE AGAINST PAT HEALY ON SEPT. 29 AT SACRAMENTO’S POWER BALANCE PAVILION

July 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

PLUS, UNDEFEATED WORLD GRAND PRIX HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP DANIEL CORMIER RETURNS TO ACTION

Saturday, Sept. 29 from Power Balance Pavilion – Sacramento, Calif.

Live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (Delayed on West Coast)

Preliminary Card Live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Delayed on West Coast)

TICKETS ON SALE SATURDAY, JULY 28

LAS VEGAS – Gilbert Melendez, STRIKEFORCE® lightweight champion and top pound-for-pound fighter, will make his next title defense against veteran and red-hot number one contender Pat Healy, when STRIKEFORCE®: MELENDEZ vs. HEALY comes to Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, Calif. on Saturday, Sept. 29. The main event, scheduled for five rounds, will air live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

“There’s no doubt that Gilbert Melendez is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but he’s facing a tough test when he defends the STRIKEFORCE lightweight title against Pat Healy in Sacramento,” STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott Coker said. “Pat has been around the sport a long time and has put together an impressive winning streak. This is the biggest fight of his life and he doesn’t want to waste this opportunity.”

The co-main event will feature recently crowned STRIKEFORCE World Grand Prix Heavyweight champ and San Jose’s own, Daniel Cormier, returning to the cage to take on his next challenge, as he looks to keep his unbeaten streak intact and prove he truly is one of the best in the division. Cormier’s opponent will be announced in the coming days.

STRIKEFORCE®: MELENDEZ vs. HEALY will air live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast), while preliminary fights will be shown live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® at 8 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on West Coast). Additional fights scheduled for the event are expected to be released shortly.

Tickets for STRIKEFORCE®: MELENDEZ vs. HEALY, presented by Musclepharm®, go on sale to the general public on Saturday, July 28 at 10 a.m. PT and are priced at $125, $90, $65 and $40. Tickets are available at the Power Balance Pavilion Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, at Ticketmaster.com or 1-800-745-3000. Applicable service charges may apply.

UFC® Fight Club™ members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Friday, July 27 at 10 a.m. PT until 12 p.m. PT, via the website www.UFCFightClub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter and STRIKEFORCE Insider subscribers Friday, July 27, starting at 12 p.m. PT. To access this pre-sale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through www.UFC.com and the STRIKEFORCE Insider through www.STRIKEFORCE.com.

Winner of his last seven bouts and having not tasted defeat since 2008, Gilbert Melendez (fighting out of San Francisco, Calif. by way of Santa Ana, Calif.) returns to the STRIKEFORCE cage looking to cement his place as the world’s best 155-pound fighter. At 21-2, “El Niño” has career wins over fighters such as Josh Thomson, Clay Guida, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Shinya Aoki, Jorge Masvidal and Rodrigo Damm, the Cesar Gracie-trained fighter is more than ready to solidify his status as the division’s premiere fighter when he faces his toughest test to date on September 29 in Sacramento.

Following a unanimous decision victory over Mizuto Hirota on July 14 in his home state of Oregon to extend his winning streak to five, Pat Healy (fighting out of Portland, Ore.) secured a date with the STRIKEFORCE lightweight champ. At 30-15, the 28-year-old “Bam Bam” has racked up wins over marquee names like Carlos Condit, Dan Hardy and Paul Daley, and is currently riding a five-fight win streak that includes STRIKEFORCE victories over Caros Fodor and Maximo Blanco. Having fought his entire career for this opportunity, fans can expect fireworks when this grappling ace puts his skills to the test against the elite striking prowess of Melendez.

Two-time U.S. Olympic wrestler and current STRIKEFORCE World Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier (fighting out of San Jose, Calif.) meets his first opponent since defeating former UFC titleholder Josh Barnett in the finals of the heavyweight tournament last May. Since putting gold around his waist, the undefeated 10-0 AKA-trained fighter has vowed to prove he is as good as advertised and offered to fight anyone that’s put in front of him. “DC” owns additional decisive victories over Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Jeff Monson and Devin Cole and will look to use his superior wrestling ability to knock off yet another heavyweight foe.

For more information or the latest STRIKEFORCE news, visit www.strikeforce.com. All bouts live and subject to change.

About STRIKEFORCE® – www.strikeforce.com

Owned and operated by Forza, LLC, a subsidiary of Zuffa, LLC, which also owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship® brand, STRIKEFORCE® is a world-class mixed martial arts promotion based in Las Vegas, Nev. that currently holds live events annually across the United States. First established as a mixed martial arts entity in 2006, STRIKEFORCE now broadcasts its events live on SHOWTIME® and has produced two live, primetime events on the CBS Television Network. With a growing roster featuring the world’s elite competitors, STRIKEFORCE has cemented its place as a leader in providing quality mixed martial arts action.

About Showtime Networks Inc.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD™, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution, which offers Smithsonian Channel™. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.

About Maloof Sports & Entertainment (MS&E):
Maloof Sports & Entertainment includes the Sacramento Kings and Power Balance Pavilion. Owned by the Maloof family with long-term, local partners, the organization is committed to being a contributing member of the Sacramento community. Teaming up with local leaders and non-profit organizations to give back to those in need throughout the region, MS&E has donated more than $20 million in cash and in-kind donations to more than 200 charitable entities over 13 years of Maloof family ownership. For more information about Maloof Sports & Entertainment, please visit Kings.com, PowerBalancePavilion.com or call 916-928-0000.

JOSH BARNETT & DANIEL CORMIER GILBERT MELENDEZ & JOSH THOMSON FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

May 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

Thursday, May 17, From HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (May 17, 2012) — The main players took the stage Thursday in the final press conference before Saturday’s STRIKEFORCE: World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament Final when Josh Barnett faces Daniel Cormier, live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from the HP Pavilion.

The powerful Barnett (31-5), of Fullerton, Calif., has not lost a fight since 2006 and has submitted or knocked out six consecutive opponents. The undefeated Cormier (9-0), of San Jose, is one of the most talented wrestlers in the heavyweight division and is a former star for Oklahoma State University and the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team.

Joining the pair Thursday were Gilbert Melendez (20-2), of San Francisco, and bitter rival Josh Thomson (19-4, 1 NC), of San Jose, who will fight in a rubber match of their thrilling trilogy as Melendez looks to defend his STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight Championship.

In other fights on SHOWTIME, Rafael Feijao takes on Mike Kyle and Nah-Shon Burrell battles Chris Spang. A four-fight preliminary card televised LIVE on SHOWTIME EXTREME at 8 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) will precede the four-fight main card on SHOWTIME.

Mauro Ranallo will call the action alongside analysts Frank Shamrock and Pat Miletich with Heidi Androl serving as cageside reporter. The executive producer is David Dinkins Jr.

What the principal fighters had to say on Thursday:

Josh Barnett:

On whether or not people are discounting his experience:

“I don’t care what people say. I see my experience as being the biggest advantage in this fight. All that experience comes with all the years of training and all the fights I’ve had and all the different opponents, (basically) all the times I’ve been in the ring as a pro wrestler, as a fighter. Experience is a pretty easy word to throw around. But I don’t think it’s as simple to just say experience. I have to believe ultimately in everything I do and everything I possess. So it’s the same as before and the same that it’s always going to be.”

Daniel Cormier:

On whether or not he feels like an underdog:

“Yeah I do. Honestly I do. Josh was a UFC champion and he’s done a ton of things. He’s beaten a lot of guys, but I’ve beaten quite a few of those guys too and I know I can do pretty well against the other ones, so I take it in stride. I should be the underdog because of his experience and his accomplishments, but I’ll be ready to go.”

Gilbert Melendez:

“After that first fight Josh beat me up pretty good and he helped me reinvent myself as a fighter. Not only did I learn to take the center and be a smarter fighter, not get outpointed, but he helped me learn to take my job seriously. At the time I trained to do my stuff and then after that fight I treated everything like a real professional. I structure my training camps now. I train harder. I eat smart. I write everything out. I treat it like a real profession. It’s my career now. And ever since that loss that’s how it’s been.”

Josh Thomson:

“Not much has changed for me since the second fight. Basically I’m just following a different game plan. The second time I fought I had to come off a 15-month layoff so I was just excited to be back in the cage. Anyone who has seen me fight can tell by the smile on my face that I enjoy to fight. I love it. So not much has changed, but I’m just going to change my game plan.”

About STRIKEFORCE® – www.strikeforce.com

Owned and operated by Forza, LLC, a subsidiary of Zuffa, LLC, which also owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship® brand, STRIKEFORCE® is a world-class mixed martial arts promotion based in Las Vegas, Nev. that currently holds live events annually across the United States. First established as a mixed martial arts entity in 2006, STRIKEFORCE now broadcasts its events live on Showtime® Networks, Inc. and has produced two live, primetime events on the CBS Television Network. With a growing roster featuring the world’s elite competitors, STRIKEFORCE has cemented its place as a leader in providing quality mixed martial arts action.

About Showtime Networks Inc.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD™, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution, which offers Smithsonian Channel™. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.

FIVE NIGHTS OF STRIKEFORCE MMA NEXT WEEK ON SHOWTIME® AND SHOWTIME EXTREME®

May 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News 

Relive the Excitement of Barnett, Cormier Tournament Fights,

Melendez-Thomson I & II & More, Weeknights on SHOWTIME EXTREME®

STRIKEFORCE World Grand Prix – Heavyweight Tournament Final

Live on Saturday, May 19, on SHOWTIME, Prelim Fights Live on SHOWTIME EXTREME

NEW YORK (May 9, 2012) — As a prelude to the STRIKEFORCE: World Grand Prix – Heavyweight Tournament Final on Saturday, May 19, SHOWTIME EXTREME will offer replays of STRIKEFORCE fights featuring the four top fighters on the May 19 event — Josh Barnett, Daniel Cormier, Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson. Additionally, a number of previous fights including all the heavyweight tournament fights are currently available online at http://sports.SHO.com.

The Saturday, May 19, Barnett-Cormier clash for the World Grand Prix heavyweight championship highlights a live four-fight card on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). In the co-feature at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., Melendez defends his STRIKEFORCE lightweight title against former champ and longtime adversary Thomson in the rubber match of an exciting rivalry. Preliminary matches on SHOWTIME EXTREME begin live at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Next week’s line-up of replays will air on SHOWTIME EXTREME beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT as listed below.

Monday, May 14, will feature Melendez-Thomson II, a thrilling match from 2009 that aired as the undercard of Cung Le vs. Scott Smith.

Wednesday, May 16, Melendez’ fight with Tetsuji Kato will be shown.

Thursday, May 17, SHOWTIME EXTREME will look back at the tournament semifinal fights Barnett vs. Sergio Kharitonov and Cormier’s upset victory over Antonio Silva.

Friday, May 18, just one day before the third fight of their epic rivalry, SHOWTIME EXTREME will re-air the first fight between Melendez and Thomson.

Full-length fights from every stage of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament can now be viewed online at http://sports.SHO.com, or by clicking on a link below. You are free to link to our online exclusive videos solely as a promotion of our upcoming event, the Strikeforce World Grand Prix Tournament Final, live on SHOWTIME Saturday, May 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Melendez vs. Thomson I

http://sports.sho.com/#/mma/videos/980

Thomson vs. Melendez II

http://sports.sho.com/#/mma/videos/981

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Silva

http://sports.sho.com/#/mma/videos/983

Andrei Arlovski vs. Kharitonov

http://sports.sho.com/#/mma/videos/982

Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum

http://sports.sho.com/#/mma/videos/984

Brett Rogers vs. Barnett

http://sports.sho.com/#/mma/videos/985

Cormier vs. Jeff Monson

http://sports.sho.com/#/mma/videos/986

Barnett vs. Kharitonov

http://sports.sho.com/#/mma/videos/989

Silva vs. Cormier

http://sports.sho.com/#/mma/videos/990

About STRIKEFORCE®

Owned and operated by Forza, LLC, a subsidiary of Zuffa, LLC, which also owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship® brand, STRIKEFORCE® is a world-class mixed martial arts promotion based in Las Vegas, Nev. that currently holds live events annually across the United States. First established as a mixed martial arts entity in 2006, STRIKEFORCE now broadcasts its events live on Showtime® Networks, Inc. and has produced two live, primetime events on the CBS Television Network. With a growing roster featuring the world’s elite competitors, STRIKEFORCE has cemented its place as a leader in providing quality mixed martial arts action.

About Showtime Networks Inc.:

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD™, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ ON DEMAND, and the network’s authentication service SHOWTIME ANYTIME®. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution, which offers Smithsonian Channel™. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.

FULL TELEVISION LINEUP ON SHOWTIME® AND SHOWTIME EXTREME® CONFIRMED FOR THE STRIKEFORCE® WORLD GRAND PRIX HEAVYWEIGHT FINAL

May 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News 

SATURDAY, MAY 19 – From HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

Main Card Live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT

Preliminary Card Live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® at 8 p.m. ET/PT

NEW YORK (May 7, 2012) SHOWTIME® and STRIKEFORCE® have confirmed the full fight card for Saturday, May 19, when former UFC® titleholder Josh Barnett will meet two-time Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier in the much-anticipated conclusion of the STRIKEFORCE® WORLD GRAND PRIX HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT. The STRIKEFORCE lightweight championship will be on the line in the evening’s co-feature, a rubber match between two long-time rivals, when champion Gilbert Melendez defends his title against no. 1 contender Josh Thomson.

Also on the SHOWTIME card, former STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight champion Rafael Feijao will rematch against Mike Kyle, whom he lost to on June 6, 2009. In the opening fight of the telecast two up-and-coming welterweights will face-off when Nah-Shon Burrell takes on Chris Spang.

The main card, headlined by Barnett vs. Cormier will air live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast), while preliminary fights will be shown live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® at 8 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on West Coast).

MAIN CARD – LIVE ON SHOWTIME AT 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast)

* All bouts are subject to change.

STRIKEFORCE World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament Final – 5 Rounds

Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier

STRIKEFORCE Lightweight Championship – 5 Rounds

Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson

STRIKEFORCE Light Heavyweight Special Attraction – 3 Rounds

Rafael Feijao vs. Mike Kyle

STRIKEFORCE Welterweight Special Attraction – 3 Rounds

Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Chris Spang

PRELIMINARY CARD – LIVE ON SHOWTIME EXTREME AT 8 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast)

* All bouts are subject to change.

STRIKEFORCE Lightweight Special Attraction – 3 Rounds

JZ Cavalcante vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg

STRIKEFORCE Light Heavyweight Special Attraction – 3 Rounds

Virgil Zwicker vs. Carlos Inocente

STRIKEFORCE Light Heavyweight Special Attraction – 3 Rounds

Gian Villante vs. Derrick Mehman

STRIKEFORCE Welterweight Special Attraction – 3 Rounds

Quinn Mulhern vs. Yuri Villefort

Mauro Ranallo will call the action alongside analysts Frank Shamrock and Pat Miletich with Heidi Androl serving as cageside reporter. The executive producer is David Dinkins Jr.

The STRIKEFORCE® GRAND PRIX HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT FINAL will emanate from HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Tickets are on sale and available at the HP Pavilion ticket office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are priced at $175, $125, $75 and $45.

For information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please visit the website at http://sports.SHO.com.

About STRIKEFORCE®

Owned and operated by Forza, LLC, a subsidiary of Zuffa, LLC, which also owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship® brand, STRIKEFORCE® is a world-class mixed martial arts promotion based in Las Vegas, Nev. that currently holds live events annually across the United States. First established as a mixed martial arts entity in 2006, STRIKEFORCE now broadcasts its events live on Showtime® Networks, Inc. and has produced two live, primetime events on the CBS Television Network. With a growing roster featuring the world’s elite competitors, STRIKEFORCE has cemented its place as a leader in providing quality mixed martial arts action.

About Showtime Networks Inc.:

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD™, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ ON DEMAND, and the network’s authentication service SHOWTIME ANYTIME®. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution, which offers Smithsonian Channel™. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.

STRIKEFORCE® RETURNS TO SAN JOSE ON MAY 19 WITH AN ACTION-PACKED EVENT

April 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News 

GRAND PRIX HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT FINAL

JOSH BARNETT vs. DANIEL CORMIER

LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT – RUBBER MATCH

BAY AREA’S GILBERT MELENDEZ DEFENDS HIS TITLE AGAINST SAN JOSE’S JOSH THOMSON

PLUS:

RAFAEL ‘FEIJÃO’ CAVALCANTE vs. MIKE KYLE

BOBBY VOELKER vs. NAH-SHON BURRELL

Saturday, May 19 from HP Pavilion – San Jose, Calif.

Live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (Delayed on West Coast)

Preliminary Card Live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Delayed on West Coast)

TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY, APRIL 6

LAS VEGAS – The much-anticipated conclusion of the STRIKEFORCE® GRAND PRIX HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT has been announced for Saturday, May 19, as STRIKEFORCE® returns to HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Former UFC® title holder Josh Barnett will meet two-time Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast), to determine the eight-man tournament champion.

The fight card will also feature a rubber match for the STRIKEFORCE lightweight championship between two long-time rivals when champion Gilbert Melendez defends his title against number one contender Josh Thomson. Additionally, former STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight champion Rafael ‘Feijão’ Cavalcante takes on the heavy-handed Mike Kyle and Bobby Voelker clashes with Nah-Shon Burrell in a welterweight tilt.

STRIKEFORCE® GRAND PRIX HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT FINAL will air live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast), while preliminary fights will be shown live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® at 8 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on West Coast). Additional fights scheduled for the event are expected to be released shortly.

“STRIKEFORCE is coming back to where it all started – San Jose,” STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott Coker said. “The Bay Area has some of the best fight fans in the world and we can’t wait to get back with an event like this on May 19. With the Heavyweight Grand Prix final between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier, along with Gilbert Melendez’s lightweight title defense against longtime rival Josh Thomson, you don’t want to miss this card!”

Tickets for the STRIKEFORCE® GRAND PRIX HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT FINAL go on sale to the general public on Friday, April 6 at 10 a.m. PT and are priced at $175, $125, $75 and $45. Tickets will be available at the HP Pavilion ticket office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

UFC® Fight Club™ members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Thursday, April 5 at 10 a.m. PT until 12 p.m. PT, via the website www.UFCFightClub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter and STRIKEFORCE Insider subscribers Thursday, April 5, starting at 12 p.m. PT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through www.UFC.com and the STRIKEFORCE Insider through www.STRIKEFORCE.com.

Currently riding an eight-fight win streak that includes tournament victories over Brett Rogers and Sergei Kharitonov, Josh Barnett (fighting out of Fullerton, Calif.) is hoping to conclude his run in the heavyweight tournament with an exclamation point by finishing his third opponent and claiming the trophy belt. At 31-5, the catch wrestling expert has proven he possesses a complete MMA skill set to compete with anyone he stands across the cage from. Now known as “The Warmaster”, Barnett owns career wins over legendary veterans including Randy Couture, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Pedro Rizzo and Dan Severn, and will look to add Daniel Cormier to his long list of conquests.

Daniel Cormier (fighting out of San Jose, Calif.) has experienced an incredible ascension through the heavyweight ranks since he began his professional MMA career in September 2009, after representing the U.S. at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics as a member of the freestyle wrestling team. Training at the famed American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Cormier has had the advantage of training with some of the sport’s best athletes. The Oklahoma State University All-American wrestler earned his way into the tournament as an alternate after defeating experienced veteran Jeff Monson last summer in a reserve bout and went on to knock out Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in dramatic fashion in his semi-final matchup. With a record of 9-0, “DC” looks to stay undefeated and make the most of this opportunity that will surely catapult him to the top of the heavyweight division.

Considered by most to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA today, current STRIKEFORCE lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (fighting out of San Francisco, Calif. by way of Santa Ana, Calif.) is looking to continue his dominance and extend his six-fight unbeaten streak with a successful title defense in the finale of this exciting fight trilogy. In addition to splitting wins with Thomson, “El Niño” also owns victories over Jorge Masvidal, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Shinya Aoki and Clay Guida, bringing his overall record to an impressive 20-2. Former STRIKEFORCE lightweight champ and UFC veteran Josh Thomson (fighting out of San Jose, Calif.) steps back into the cage looking to reclaim what he feels is his and to earn his spot back atop the division. With a record of 19-4, 1 NC, “The Punk” recently outpointed KJ Noons in a number one contender’s match, and has defeated top stars such as Melendez, Duane Ludwig, Nam Phan and Pat Healy. Fans can expect these fighters to leave it all in the cage and pull out all the stops in this historic all-Bay Area championship matchup.

In what many considered a huge upset at the time, Rafael “Feijão” Cavalcante (fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) was defeated by the always dangerous Kyle in June 2009 in his STRIKEFORCE debut. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt would rebound nicely and go on to defeat “King Mo” Lawal for the STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight championship, and more recently he knocked out Olympic wrestler Yoel Romero. At 11-3, he will look to even the score when he gets his rematch with American Kickboxing Academy powerhouse Mike Kyle (fighting out of San Jose, Calif.). Never one to settle for an easy fight, “MAK”’s wars with fighters like “Bigfoot” Silva and Fabricio Werdum are well noted throughout his career. This matchup seems tailor-made for the 19-8-1, 1 NC kickboxing pro who is looking to build off his win over Marcos Rogerio de Lima in September and firmly establish himself in the division.

Bobby Voelker (fighting out of Kansas City, Mo.) steps back into the cage for the first time since defeating Roger Bowling in back-to-back welterweight battles. With a current record of 24-8, “Vicious” has developed a reputation for being an exciting fighter who never likes it to go to the judges, as evidenced by his 19 finishes. He meets Nah-Shon Burrell (fighting out of Philadelphia, Pa.) who owns an 8-1 overall record and is currently riding a six-fight win streak, including a victory over James Terry. At only 22, “The Rock-N-Rolla” is looking to make a name for himself in the welterweight division with an impressive performance over an MMA veteran.

For more information or the latest STRIKEFORCE news, visit www.strikeforce.com. All bouts live and subject to change.

About STRIKEFORCE® – www.strikeforce.com

Owned and operated by Forza, LLC, a subsidiary of Zuffa, LLC, which also owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship® brand, STRIKEFORCE® is a world-class mixed martial arts promotion based in Las Vegas, Nev. that currently holds live events annually across the United States. First established as a mixed martial arts entity in 2006, STRIKEFORCE now broadcasts its events live on SHOWTIME® and has produced two live, primetime events on the CBS Television Network. With a growing roster featuring the world’s elite competitors, STRIKEFORCE has cemented its place as a leader in providing quality mixed martial arts action.

About Showtime Networks Inc.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD™, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution, which offers Smithsonian Channel™. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.

About HP Pavilion

HP Pavilion at San Jose hosts nearly 100 sporting events annually including more than 40 San Jose Sharks regular season home games, SAP Open men’s professional tennis, and the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. The building hosts approximately 170 events every year — including Olympic athletes, Grammy award-winners and a variety of family and children’s favorites that account for more than 200 event days. Pollstar, the leading concert industry trade magazine, nominated HP Pavilion at San Jose as “Arena of the Year” for 2005 and 2007. In 2007, Pollstar also recognized HP Pavilion at San Jose based on non-sports attendance as fourth in North America, top 10 in the world. Over the past 10 years, HP Pavilion at San Jose has consistently been in the Top 5 in North America and top 10 in the world.

Melendez retains Strikeforce Lightweight crown

December 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Gilbert Melendez retained the Strikeforce Lightweight championship with a five round unanimous decision over Jorge Masvidal at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California.

Melendez was dominant with the power strikes and was never in any jeopardy of losing his crown.

Melendez, 155 lbs of San Francisco, CA won by scores of 50-45; 50-45 and 49-46 and is now 20-2. Masvidal, 155 lbs of Miami, FL is now 22-7.

Cris Cyborg wasted no time as she needed just sixteen seconds to dust Hiroko Yamanaka to defend her Featherweight title.

Cybir landed a punch that sent the Japanese challenger to the canvas. Yamanaka quickly got to her feet but ate a flurry of punches and the fight was stopped.

Cybor, 145 lbs of San Diego is now 11-1 with nine knockouts. Yamanaka of Japan is 12-2.

Former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion, Gegard Mousasi scored a three round unanimous decision over Ovince St. Preaux.

Mousasi did well with St. Preaux on the gorund. St. Preaux made a late effort with a front choke but the bell rang to signal the end of the bout.

Mousasi 206 lbs of the Netherlands won by scores of 29-28 on all cards and is now 32-3-2. St. Preaux, 206 lbs of Knoxville, TN had his eight fight win streak snapped and is now 11-5.

In a good back and forth slugfest, KJ Noons scored a three round unanimous decision over Billy Evangelista in a Welterweight bout.

Both landed heavy shots but Noons got the better of the exchanges and bloodied the left eye of Evangelista.

Noons, 156 lbs of San Diego, CA won by scores of 29-28 on all cards and breaks a two fight losing streak and is now 10-3-1. Evangelista lost his second straight and is now 11-2

VIDEO: GILBERT MELENDEZ –I AM FIGHTER

April 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News 

SHINYA AOKI-LYLE BEERBOHM FIGHT ADDED TO STRIKEFORCE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER AT VALLEY VIEW CASINO CENTER, SAN DIEGO, CALIF., SATURDAY, APRIL 9, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

March 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Nick Diaz Defends Welterweight Title Against Paul “Semtex’’ Daley,
Gilbert Melendez Risks Lightweight Belt Versus Tatsuya Kawajiri;
Former World Light Heavy Champ Gegard Mousasi Returns Against Mike Kyle

Tickets Go On Sale This Saturday, March 12,
Pre-Sale Tomorrow/Thursday, March 10, via “STRIKEFORCE Insider”

NEW YORK (March 9, 2010) – If Lyle “Fancy Pants’’ Beerbohm (15-1) was looking to rebound quickly after suffering the only loss of his career on Feb. 18, he will get the opportunity in a major way when he faces DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki (26-5) on Saturday, April 9, in a featured fight live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, Calif.

The non-title lightweight bout between Beerbohm, of Spokane, and Aoki, of Tokyo, rounds out a telecast highlighted by a STRIKEFORCE World Championship Doubleheader.

In a potential candidate for Fight of the Year in the main event, sizzling STRIKEFORCE Welterweight (170 pounds) World Champion Nick Diaz (24-7, 1 NC), of Stockton, Calif., will seek his 10th consecutive victory when he defends against the hard-hitting, notorious British striker, Paul “Semtex” Daley (26-9-2), of Nottingham, England.

Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez (18-2), of San Francisco, by way of Santa Ana, Calif., will make the second defense of his STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight (155-pounds) Title against top-ranked Japanese superstar Tatsuya “Crusher’’ Kawajiri (27-6-2), who unanimously outpointed former STRIKEFORCE lightweight belt-holder Josh Thomson in his last start on Dec. 31, 2010.

A fourth fight on SHOWTIME will feature the return of former STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight titlist Gegard “The Dreamcatcher’’ Mousasi (30-3-1) of Amsterdam, Netherlands.  Mousasi will be opposed by powerhouse Mike “Mak’’ Kyle’’ (18-8-1), of San Jose, Calif.

An exclusive, special two-day pre-sale ticket purchase opportunity for STRIKEFORCE: Diaz vs. Daley will take place for “STRIKEFORCE Insider” e-newsletter subscribers (www.strikeforce.com/signup.asp) beginning at 10 a:m. PT tomorrow/Thursday, March 10, and ending at 10 p.m. PT on Friday, March 11.  STRIKEFORCE Insiders will receive a special
e-newsletter Wednesday night with the pre-sale code.

Tickets, starting at $25, go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. PT this Saturday, March 12, at Valley View Casino Center (formerly the San Diego Sports Arena), all Ticketmaster locations (800) 745-3000, Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and STRIKEFORCE’S official website (www.strikeforce.com). The first non-televised, undercard fight starts at 4:30 p.m. PT.

Aoki, a winner of three straight fights and six of seven, is a flamboyant submission artist who’ll be making his first start in America since dropping a decision to Melendez on April 17, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn., on SHOWTIME.

A perennial top-10 contender at 155 pounds, the 5-foot-11, 27-year-old registered a 1:00, first-round submission (keylock) over Yokthai Sithoar in his last outing on Oct. 24, 2010  Aoki, nicknamed “Tobikan Judan,’’ has not lost an MMA bout since retaining his DREAM strap with an impressive first-round submission over Kawajiri on July 7, 2019.

Aoki, who holds a black belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and judo, has forced opponents to tap out in 16 of his 25 wins.

Beerbohm suffered his first MMA defeat – amateur or pro – on a close, unanimous decision (29-28 three times) to veteran Pat “Bam Bam’’ Healy in the main event of a STRIKEFORCE Challengers event on SHOWTIME at Cedar Park, Texas. on Feb. 18.

This will be the fifth start for STRIKEFORCE for the 5-foot-10, 32-year-old Beerbohm, who has won 13 of his fights by stoppage, and his first on a televised Saturday card.

“Losing that last fight was disappointing, but this is a golden opportunity for me to get right back in the thick of things,’’ said Beerbohm, who holds notable triumphs over four-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, Duane “Bang” Ludwig and Rafaello Oliviera.

Beerbohm literally began his pro career after serving 366 days at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla as a result of felony convictions, all related to a crystal meth addiction. The day he was freed from prison, he visited a Jiu-Jitsu gym. He had his first amateur fight eight days later. “I traded one addiction for the other,’’ he says. “I traded meth for MMA.”

The championship fight between the no-nonsense, brutally honest, outspoken Diaz, whose proclivity for engaging has made him more popular and appreciated than ever, and the brazen, fast-talking, heavy-handed Daley will be a non-stop action slugfest.

It will be the third title defense for Diaz, a Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt who was superlative en route to turning back a determined bid by challenger Evangelista Cyborg and scoring an impressive second-round submission (armbar) in his last outing on Jan. 29 in San Jose, Calif., on SHOWTIME.

“Daley has great stand-up but he likes to talk a lot of (expletive) and I’m not really impressed with him as a mixed martial artist,” said Diaz, a 6-foot-1, 27-year-old southpaw. “We’ll see how it goes and see how he does on April 9. Let’s see if he can walk the walk. I seriously doubt it.”

One of the most recognizable, intriguing and skilled personalities in MMA, the superbly conditioned Diaz is 14-1 with 1 NC dating to May 2006 and hasn’t lost in more than three years.

Daley’s style is a mix of striking, striking and more striking. He’s won four consecutive fights and eight of nine. In a spectacular STRIKEFORCE debut, the 5-foot-9, 27-year-old demolished Scott “Hands Of Steel’’ Smith, knocking him out with a single, perfectly placed, ferocious counter  left hook at 2:09 of the opening round on Dec. 4, 2010, in St. Louis, on SHOWTIME.

The brash Brit toyed with and outclassed Yuya Shirai en route to a 1:46, first-round knockout (punches) this past Feb. 26 in Japan to secure the title shot.

“I am a striker – there is no secret about that,’’ Daley said. “I like to knock people out quickly and aggressively. No one in MMA hits like me. I’m faster and more explosive than Diaz. Diaz doesn’t have good wrestling. There is no way he’Il stand with me. I’ll smash him within three rounds. I will knock him out.’’

The confrontation between Melendez, a Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stylist who re-upped with STRIKEFORCE in February, and Kawajiri, a former Shooto welterweight champion, will be a rematch of a fight that Melendez won on a close, unanimous decision on Dec. 31, 2006.

The 5-foot-9 Melendez will be making his first start since scoring a lopsided five-round decision over Aoki on April 17, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn., on SHOWTIME. Melendez has been triumphant in his last four starts, including a unanimous decision over Thomson in a rematch to regain the title on Dec. 19, 2009.

“My hand is healed and I’m 100 percent ready,’’ said Melendez, a highly decorated wrestler and Pride Bushido star who turns 29 on April 12. “I want to prove I’m the No. 1 fighter at 155 in the world. Kawajiri is one of the best anywhere. This is going to be a hard, excellent fight and I am looking forward to it. I don’t want to leave any doubt this time around. I’m ready to rip.’’

Kawajiri is 8-2 since the controversial defeat to Melendez. Nicknamed “Crusher” for his devastating power and ground and pound fighting style, the Japanese destroyer holds notable wins over Thomson, Yves Edwards, Luis Azeredo, Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante and Ribeiro from whom he captured the Shooto belt.

The 5-foot-7, 32-year-old Kawajiri’s Bushido Tournament match with Takanori Gomi was voted PRIDE Fighting Championship’s Fight of the Year in 2005. Kawajiri’s only losses came against superstar Eddie Alvarez and Aoki.

A winner of his last two fights (both by first-round submission) and 17 of his last 18, Mousasi will be making his first appearance for STRIKEFORCE since getting dethroned by “King Mo’’ Lawal on a five-round decision on April 17, 2010, in Nashville on SHOWTIME.

Still one of the most talented fighters in the 205-pound weight class, the 6-foot-1, 26-year-old Iranian-born Armenian had won 15 in a row dating to August 2006 before losing to King Mo. Mousasi captured the STRIKEFORCE belt with an impressive 3:43, first-round TKO (punches) over Renato “Babalu’’ Sobral on Aug. 15, 2009.

Kyle’s last effort ended in a better than looked, confidence-building second-round TKO loss on Dec. 4, 2010, to Antonio “Big Foot’’ Silva, who went on to defeat Fedor Emelianenko two months later. Despite taking the fight on short notice, the 6-foot-3, 31-year-old Kyle was competitive throughout and scored a knockdown in the first.

Overall, the well-rounded Kyle has gone 5-1 with one No Contest since losing to Fabricio Werdum on Aug. 15, 2009. Since April 2008, Kyle is 8-2 with one NC.

About  STRIKEFORCE
STRIKEFORCE (www.strikeforce.com) is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history.  The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265.  Since 1995, STRIKEFORCE, sanctioned by ISKA, has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts (MMA) series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.”  In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of STRIKEFORCE, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.

WORLD LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION GILBERT MELENDEZ SIGNS NEW MULTI-YEAR AGREEMENT WITH STRIKEFORCE

February 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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NEW YORK (Feb. 7, 2011) – Two-time STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight Champion (155 pounds), Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (18-2), has signed a new, multi-year agreement with the San Jose, Calif. based world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion.

“STRIKEFORCE is my home, they’ve always been like family to me and I’m looking forward to continuing my career with them,” said the talented, exciting, 5-foot-9, 27-year-old protégé of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Cesar Gracie and Muay Thai legend Jongsanan Fairtex.  “There are a lot of great fights out there for me – lots of challenges. I can’t wait to get back into the cage, do my thing and show the world that I’m still at the top of my game.’’

Universally recognized as one of the top 155-pounders in the world, Melendez has won four in a row and five of six.

Melendez of San Francisco, by way of Santa Ana, Calif., last fought on April 17, 2010, retaining the STRIKEFORCE belt with a dominant, lopsided five-round decision over Japanese superstar Shinya Aoki in Nashville, Tenn., live on The CBS Television Network.

The impressive, one-sided triumph over the highly regarded Aoki came in Melendez’ first title defense since he regained the  STRIKEFORCE crown with a hard-earned, hard-fought unanimous five- round decision over the fighter that had dethroned him, Josh Thomson, on Dec. 19, 2009, at HP Pavilion San Jose, Calif.

Melendez, who turned pro on Oct. 18, 2002, and won his initial 13 starts, owns other notable victories over MMA standouts Aoki, Clay Guida<http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Clay-Guida-8184> andTatsuya Kawajiri<http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Tatsuya-Kawajiri-1326>. Melendez captured the STRIKEFORCE interim lightweight belt with a second-round knockout (punches) over Rodrigo Damm on April 11, 2009, in San Jose.

“I’m healthy again and excited about fighting again real soon,’’ the personable, charismatic Melendez said. “It doesn’t matter who I fight. I just want to get back in there and rip.’’

About STRIKEFORCE
STRIKEFORCE (www.strikeforce.com<http://www.strikeforce.com/>) is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history.  The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265.  Since 1995, STRIKEFORCE, sanctioned by ISKA, has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts (MMA) series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.”  In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of STRIKEFORCE, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.  In March 2009, STRIKEFORCE signed a multi-year agreement with SHOWTIME® to stage live events on the premium cable television network.  The promotion has since also produced two live, primetime events on the CBS Television Network.

TONIGHT ON HDNET’S “INSIDE MMA” – MELENDEZ WANTS TO FIGHT EDGAR; RIVERA READY TO TAKE OUT “THE COUNT”TONIGHT ON HDNET’S “INSIDE MMA” – MELENDEZ WANTS TO FIGHT EDGAR; RIVERA READY TO TAKE OUT “THE COUNT”

January 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: MMA News 

TONIGHT ON HDNET’S “INSIDE MMA” – MELENDEZ WANTS TO FIGHT EDGAR; RIVERA READY TO TAKE OUT “THE COUNT”

Plus, Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg Preview, Trash Talking in MMA, and UFC Fight for the Troops Highlights – Friday at 9:00 p.m. ET on HDNet

DALLAS (January 28, 2010) Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez headlines this week’s “Inside MMA” panel. The last time he was on the set he called out Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez. This time Melendez tells Kenny and Bas that he’d like to fight UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar, but he knows it’s not up to him.

“It’s kind of up to the promotions,” says Melendez. “I want to fight all these guys. I want to fight all these dudes, but it’s not up to us fighters. It’s really up to the promoters. You want to see me fight Frankie, talk to Dana and Scott, I’ll do it.”

But Melendez knows the odds are slim for seeing an inter-promotional matchup anytime soon.

UFC Middleweight Jorge Rivera also stops by to talk about his upcoming bout with Michael “The Count” Bisping at UFC 127. According to “El Conquistador,” Bisping was reluctant to take the fight and needed some coaxing from Rivera.

“They told me he might not take the fight, so then I said a couple things to agitate him,” says Rivera. “Just enough to get what I wanted, I got what I wanted now I got to take care of my business… I don’t care where it goes, I’m confident that I can beat him.”

Rounding out the panel is legendary trainer Cesar Gracie. He had a stellar 2010 as his prized pupils (Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, and Melendez) went 6-0, but the camp’s accomplishments were overshadowed by a nationally televised brawl at Strikeforce: Nashville. Gracie and the rest of the panel tackle the issue of trash talking in MMA.

The panel also previews this weekend’s Strikeforce card and looks back at UFC “Fight for the Troops” with an exclusive report from Kenny at Fort Hood.

Plus, Ron Kruck continues his “Inside America’s Gyms” series with a stop at one of the original MMA gyms, AMC Kickboxing and Pankration, and we ride along with part-time cop Tim Sylvia as he gets set to battle Abe Wagner at “Titan Fighting Championship 16.”

“Inside MMA” premieres this Friday at 9:00 p.m. ET only on HDNet, your home for MMA. Plus don’t miss an all new “Fighting Words with Mike Straka” featuring Jacob “Stitch” Duran at 8:30 p.m. ET and the LIVE broadcast of “HDNet Fights: Titan Fighting Championship 16″ at 10:00 p.m. ET. 

About HDNet

HDNet (www.hd.net) is the independent network with unique and thought-provoking content that appeals to men of all ages and is delivered in true high definition.

HDNet is the exclusive, high definition home for popular, original programming, including the network’s Emmy Award winning HD news feature programs, “HDNet World Report,” and “Dan Rather Reports,” featuring legendary journalist Dan Rather.  Only HDNet goes beyond the headlines to deliver real news that is redefining the way we look at our world.  HDNet News is provocative, sometimes controversial and always relevant - telling the important stories of our time in-depth, with attitude and with independence. HDNet is also the exclusive high definition home to critically acclaimed and award winning documentaries, airing as part of the “HDNet ‘Round The World” series.  “NASA on HDNet” presents all live shuttle launches through 2011.

HDNet presents championship sports coverage featuring the best of Mixed Martial Arts with its Friday night series, “HDNet Fights” (www.hdnetfights.com).  “HDNet Fights” works with leading MMA promoters including DREAM, Sengoku, XFC, K-1, K-1 Max, MFC and more.  HDNet produces more live Mixed Martial Arts events than any other network and HDNet’s “Inside MMA” is the hottest Mixed Martial Arts program on television, giving fans their weekly fix for everything MMA, while “Fighting Words with Mike Straka,” goes one-on-one with some of the biggest names in the sport. HDNet also features live coverage of regular season games from the United Football League.

HDNet also delivers the world’s largest and most diverse concert line-up through the HDNet Concert Series.  The HDNet Concert Series features leading artists and bands including Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey, John Mayer, Nickelback and more.  HDNet also features revealing lifestyle programming featuring “Art Mann Presents,” “Girls Gone Wild®,” “Deadline” and “Get Out!”

Only HDNet Movies (www.hdnetmovies.com) delivers exclusive Sneak Previews of new movies before they hit theaters.  The HDNet Movies Sneak Preview series features top Hollywood stars in critically acclaimed performances including Gwyneth Paltrow, Joaquin Phoenix, Demi Moore, Michael Caine, Tom Hanks, Vera Farmiga, Parker Posey, Brian Cox, Matthew Broderick, Kirsten Dunst, Ryan Gosling, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Robin Williams, Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger.

In addition to being the exclusive home of Sneak Previews, HDNet Movies viewers enjoy the best films from the classics of the 1950s-1970s, to favorite films from the 1980s and 1990s, to recently released theatrical films.

HDNet Movies offers subscribers a premium movie viewing experience in true HD, and more original movies shot entirely in HD than any other network.

Launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban and General Manager Philip Garvin, the HDNet networks are available in the U.S. via AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, and Verizon FiOS and in Canada via Access Communications, Cogeco, Rogers, Shaw Cable and Shaw Direct.

The HDNet networks can be followed via Facebook at facebook.com/HDNet, facebook.com/HDNetFights and facebook.com/HDNetMovies and via Twitter at twitter.com/hdnet, twitter.com/hdnetfights and twitter.com/hdnetmovies.

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