Shine Fights Announces Single-Day, Eight-Man September Tournament at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA

via i33.tinypic.com

The event will be single elimination and broadcast on pay-per-view for $29.99. From a press release in my inbox:

NEW YORK, NY (August 12, 2010) - Shine Fights Promotions' highly-anticipated return to the MMA ring will take place on September 10 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA, it was announced today by Shine Fights COO Jason Chambers.  The Grand Prix format--an eight-man, single-elimination tournament taking place in one night--will be the first such event held in the United States in more than 15 years.  The bout will be broadcast live on PPV by MultiVision Media, Inc., beginning at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.  The suggested retail price is $29.99.

Tickets, priced at $350, $154, $94, $74, $64, $44, and $24, will go on sale Saturday morning (August 14) at 10a.m. EST and will be available at tickemaster.com.  There will also be an "Early Bird Special" where those who purchase tickets in the first 48 hours will receive a 15% discount off the face value of the ticket, which will be available through the Patriot Center Box Office from 10am-5pm (Closed Sunday) and through ticketmaster.com.

"The Grand Prix format can be traced back to the grassroots of MMA," said Chambers.  "Fans will be given the unique opportunity to witness some of the world's most talented athletes go head to head, more than once, in a single evening.  And they will see first-hand the intense conditioning, determination, and will that is needed to survive in such a demanding format.  Fans better purchase their tickets quickly because we are expecting a sellout."

Shine Fights CEO, Devin Price added, "Shine Fights has always believed in offering MMA fans a different and compelling fight card. I am as anxious as any other MMA fan to see a compelling tournament with eight tough fighters culminating with one champion, all in one night."

"We are very excited to introduce this exciting, cutting edge format in High Definition," said Executive Producer Brian Ricco.  "Being surrounded by our team of network veterans and buoyed by Bruce Beck, we are looking forward to the highest level of sports broadcast."

And here is the list of scheduled competitors after the jump:

Charles Bennett:  22-17-2 with 14 TKOs, 5 Submissions.  The 30-year-old Ocala, FL native is known as a hell-raiser.  He insults other fighters, disrespects referees, and has even brawled with other fighters backstage.  He holds notable Knockout victories over former EliteXC Lightweight Champion KJ Noons, UFC veteran Gerald Strebendt, and WEC Bantamweight contender Yoshiro Maeda.  He was once quoted stating that ground fighting " is like making love, it's not real fighting."

Marcus Aurelio:  20-8 with 4 TKOs, 13 Submissions, and 3 Submissions.  The 36-year-old Brazilian native is an expert in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  He has never been stopped.  All eight losses were by decision.

Rich Crunkilton:  16-3 with 7 TKOs, 6 Submissions, and 3 Decisions.  The 30-year-old Ft. Lauderdale, FL native is known for his devastating throws and slams, high kicks and wild punches. 

Drew Fickett: 37-13 with 3 TKOs, 26 Submissions.  The 30-year-old Tucson, AZ native has notable victories over Josh Koscheck, Kurt Pellegrino, former UFC lightweight title contender Kenny Florian and Josh Neer. Drew won his last fight against fellow UFC veteran Derrick Noble by submission.

Josh Shockley:  9-0.  Only 19 years of age, Shockley has made a name for himself through his athleticism and skills.  He fights out of Duneland Vale Tudo with training partners Keith Wisniewski, Darren Elkins, and Mark Burch.

James Warfield:  20-6 with 15 TKOs and 5 Submissions.  The Sun Prairie, Wisconsin native trained in Jeet Kune Do and Karate as a child.  He has since fought for many MMA organizations, such as Shine Fights, International Fighting Championship, Freestyle Combat Challenge, Warriors 4 Warriors, Extreme Cagefighting Organization, Combat USA, Downtown Destruction, EVO MMA, Ultimate Battleground, Xtreme Kage Kombat, Ring Of Fire, and Ultimate Combat Sports.  His nickname is The Unbreakable Heavy Hitter.

Hector Muñoz 9-3, 3 TKOs, 6 Submissions.  Muñoz is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blackbelt. He is a 2x Grapplers Quest Champ, Pan Am Bronze Medalistas well as a Fight Fest Champion and Katana Cagefighting Champion.

Carlo Prater:  24-7-1 with 2 TKOs, 12 Submissions.  The Sao Paolo, Brazil native began competing in professional mixed martial arts in 2002.  He amassed an undefeated record of 10-0, with a notable win over Melvin Guillard, before losing his first bout.  He is the former PFC Lightweight Champion.

Let's unpack this:

1. Interesting event. To the extent they credential me, I'll be covering this for BloodyElbow.com.

2. I know DC media. They are, at best, lukewarm towards MMA. Announcing a fight a month out in a market that's only just beginning to warm to MMA is going to make getting their support a tad more difficult than usual. Consider: I've got the most high-profile MMA media production in the entire market and I'm on Sundays 9 to 11pm.

3. Speaking of announcing this event a month out, I'm curious to see how they're going to market this. I've seen no television ads, no one's approached me about radio interviews (or other producers I know) and this is the first online announcement. I legitimately hope this show is a huge success, but my early thought is that Shine has their work cut out for them in terms of filling the Patriot Center.

4. None of the fighters listed have close ties to the local community or local MMA community. Devin Price, however, originally hailed from Team Ground Control in Baltimore, Maryland.

5. So, what about the Virginia athletic commission? First, here are the rules of this event:

The Grand Prix tournament is sanctioned by the Virginia State Athletic Commission, but will be contested under Nevada State Athletic Commission rules.  Each of the eight 155 lb fighters will be paired-off in the tournament's opening round, with the four winners moving on to round two.  The two winners of round two will move on to the tournament's final round and battle for the championship.  The single-elimination format means that the tournament winner will need to win three bouts that evening. (In case of injury there will be two alternate bouts)

What does that mean, "The Grand Prix tournament is sanctioned by the Virginia State Athletic Commission, but will be contested under Nevada State Athletic Commission rules"? Virginia's existing codes governing MMA are borrowed from Nevada, word for word, with only minor adjustments on a few issues. I'm not sure there's a real substantive difference. I'll see if I can talk to Shine's execs to get a better understanding of the critical differences.

As for the commission, I've had talks with them in recent months. I'm not able to giveaway the details of that conversation, but it is fair to say I'm more comfortable with their ability to safely regulate MMA than I once was. Still, a single-day elimination tournament is inherently very dangerous no matter which regulatory body is in place. This commission is going to have their hands full making sure everything goes smoothly.

6. This event will now be the second mid-major show that has come to the Northern Virginia area. The only other show of note that's put together a modicum of success beyond the UFC's Fight Night card in January has been the UWC. They've historically been the brand leader here (and yes, as a disclosure, I have worked for the UWC during their tenure in Virginia). I'm very curious to see if Shine can have a successfully promoted show, turn a profit and help till the soil of MMA popularity here.

The next few weeks in DC should be very interesting. I'll be closely monitoring how Shine promotes this event and will let all of the readers here know exactly what's going on. I'm very excited for September 10th.

UPDATE: A friend in the DC media writes:

Agreed on all accounts, but you left out one major obstacle --- Redskins home opener vs. arch-rival Dallas.  Obviously, not the same day but what do you think all of the local sports media (and radio station promotions) will be talking about?

I'm not sure what Kansas City is like or San Francisco, but in Washington, DC the Redskins are kings. They trounce every other sport or team or celebrity in terms of popularity. It's not even a contest. Here's to hoping Shine can pull it off, but my humble opinion is that they're going to have to have a few tricks up their sleeve.

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