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Alessio vs. Spratt to Headline Combined Boxing/MMA Card in Vegas

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has the scoop on this first of its kind boxing/MMA co-promotion. Here's Daren Libonati, the director of the Thomas & Mack Center talking about his plans:

"We think this is the first time that boxing and MMA have been offered on the same card at the same venue on the same night."

ESPN will televise the boxing portion, which will have local heavyweight Friday Ahunanya vs. Alonzo Butler in the main event.

After the boxing portion, there will be a 20- to 30-minute intermission to adjust the ring for the MMA card, which will have John Alessio vs. Pete Spratt in the main event at 170 pounds.

Libonati said the ring adjustment will consist of adding a fifth rope to the bottom to accommodate MMA.

"The whole thing is about building partnerships," Libonati said. "We hope this will lead to more of these types of events."

Libonati said he's not sure whether future boxing-MMA cards will be free. He said there might be a $5 charge.

"We took a bit of a gamble on this, but it looks like it's going to pay off," he said. "The public's response has been tremendous. We're going to get some great exposure on ESPN, and the MMA portion will make its way onto the Internet or through a cable company for future distribution.

"Not only do we have a guaranteed big crowd, we've built a solid (fan base) for future events."

I'm excited to see this kind of thing. I think the two sports have a lot in common and that MMA could potentially appeal to a lot of old-line boxing fans with the right promotion. I'm also glad to see an MMA event in the U.S. (besides the IFL) using a ring. Robert Joyner at MMA Payout has some thoughts on the promotion as well.

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