Archive | November, 2006

Jerome LeBanner: “I Will Win!”

30 Nov

by Monty DiPietro for K-1gp.net (2006-11-30)

TOKYO, November 30, 2006 — The K-1 World Grand Prix ’06 Final is just two days away, and already the spotlight is focused on the tournament’s first bout between Defending WGP Champion Semmy Schilt of Holland and French kickboxer Jerome LeBanner.
The man who be this year’s Grand Champion must of course dispatch three consecutive opponents on Saturday, but more than a few observers regard the winner of the LeBanner/Schilt fight as the favorite to go on and win it all.
With about 100 Japanese and international media representatives in attendance at the New Takanawa Prince hotel, LeBanner sat down today to share his thoughts in advance of the most talked-about K-1 matchup of the year.
A few questions dealt with LeBanner’ new acting career — he is in the new action film “Scorpion,” coming to theaters in early 2007; and recently finished work on the French production “Asterix aux Jeux Olympiques,” which boasts an all-star cast including Alain Delon, Gerard Depardieu and Zinedine Zidane.
“The movies went very well,” said the tanned and trim LeBanner, “and I stayed in shape by doing personal training every day. When I finished, about the first week of November, I went out and found a tall muay thai fighter, Brice Guidon, to spar with. Since then we’ve trained about three or four hours every day, but for me it’s not quantity, it’s quality that matters when training.”
Guidon, who is almost Schilt’s height, wouldn’t divulge exactly what techniques or strategies the pair worked on, but did say the exchanges were spirited.
Also accompanying LeBanner to Tokyo this time is the new love in his life, a ravishing 25 year old banker named Feriel Chebana.
“The best thing I can give Feriel for Christmas is of course my love,” smiled the uncharacteristically romantic LeBanner, “but I think it would also be nice to bring home the World Grand Prix championship.”
Asked what attacks he would be on guard for in his bout with Schilt, LeBanner said simply “the knees.” A reporter asked LeBanner if he could envision how he might put Schilt down, LeBanner replying that he couldn’t exactly. Gently pushing the point, the same reporter inquired as to whether this might indicate a lack of confidence on LeBanner’s part. Without missing a beat, the Frenchman showed his middle finger to the journalist, eliciting laughs all around.
“I will say that I think Schilt is the toughest fighter in the tournament,” said LeBanner. “At the draw, I had a choice about who I would fight, and I picked Schilt because he is the best, because he is the defending champion. For me it is important to beat the best, I think that’s the bushido spirit. Of course, if I’m going to win the tournament, it’s important for me to perform well not only against Schilt, but also against the other fighters I face afterward. That’s what I’m thinking, and in my mind, there is no question about it — I will win!”

International Fight Leage (IFL) Announces Inaugural Eleven Event 2007 National Schedule

29 Nov

by IFL.tv (2006-11-29)

Coast-to-coast events, multi-year venue partnerships all part of calendar that opens with Ken Shamrock vs. Frank Shamrock-led teams in Oakland, California on Friday, Jan. 19
NEW YORK, November 29, 2006- The International Fight League, (OTC.BB: IFLI) the world’s first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, today announced its full 11-event 2007 schedule, the most comprehensive advance schedule in the history of fight sports. The full slate includes events in eight different states and kicks off with the Nevada-based Lions (coached by legend Ken Shamrock) facing the San Jose-based Razorclaws (coached by his brother, world champion Frank Shamrock) at the ORACLE Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, January 19. The arena partnerships were secured by the IFL through its partnership with the William Morris Agency, and many include multi-year commitments to the IFL.
“This is a landmark day for all fight sports in general and for the growing number of fans of Mixed Martial Arts in particular,” said IFL Co-founder and Commissioner Kurt Otto. “For the first time, fans and business partners will be able to plot out their entire event calendar well in advance, and know where and when they will be able to see these great athletes and their coaches compete around the country in 2007.”
“We were very pleased with the interest of so many venues to work with the IFL,” said Marc Geiger of William Morris. “It is a great sign for both the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and for the solid business plan that the IFL has that these very prestigious arenas were so eager to do multi-year partnerships.”
Each of the nine regular season events will consist of four teams – each with an athlete in all five weight classes competing – along with a special Superfight, for a minimum of 11 bouts per card. Each of the 12 IFL teams for 2007 will compete in three regular season events; the teams with the top four overall win-loss team records will advance to the semi-finals, which will be held on Thursday, August 2, 2007 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The 2007 IFL Finals will then be held at The Forum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 15, 2007. The IFL will also hold a Grand Prix all-star event, comprised of the athletes with the top eight individual win-loss records, following the completion of the team season, with the dates and times to be announced.
All events will be subject to the rules and approval of the state athletic commissions in each state in which the event will be held.
The 10 venues for the 2007 season (The Forum will host two events) will scale to between 7,000 and 13,000 seats, which has been consistent with the IFL’s plan of managed growth. The venues for the inaugural season will include:
• The ORACLE Arena (Oakland, Calif.) on Friday, January 19
• Reliant Arena (Houston) on Friday, February 2
• The Arena at Gwinnett Center (Atlanta) on Friday, February 23
• The Forum (Los Angeles) on Friday, March 17
• The MARK of the Quad Cities (Moline, Ill.) on Saturday, April 7
• Jenkins Arena/Lakeland Center (Lakeland, Fla.) on Friday, April 13
• Sears Centre (Chicago) on Saturday, May 19
• Everett Events Center (Everett, Wash.) on Friday, June 1
• TBD on Saturday, June 23
2007 Semi-Finals
• Continental Airlines Arena (East Rutherford, N.J.) on Thursday, August 2
2007 Finals
• The Forum (Los Angeles) on Saturday, September 15
The start time for each event is 7:30 p.m. local time. The matchup schedule for each event is below.
Tickets to each venue, with the exception of East Rutherford and the Finals in Los Angeles, are currently on sale through http://www.ifl.tv and http://www.ticketmaster.com, at Ticketmaster outlets, and via telephone through Ticketmaster. Ticket prices range between $25 and $150, also in keeping with the IFL plan for the inaugural season.
About the IFL
Founded in 2005 by Kurt Otto, a real estate investor and a life-long martial arts participant, and Gareb Shamus, chairman of Wizard Entertainment Group, the International Fight League™ (IFL) was created to establish a centralized and structured organization that brings the power and influence of the mixed martial arts industry together. On August 25, 2006, IFL entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger with Paligent, Inc. (PGNT:OTCBB), pursuant to which IFL would emerge as the surviving entity. For further information regarding the merger, contact Paligent at (212) 755-5461. For more information on the IFL, go to http://www.ifl.tv.

International Fight League (IFL) Becomes Publicly Traded Company

29 Nov

by IFL.tv (2006-11-29)

Completes Merger and Begins Trading Under New Stock Symbol: IFLI
NEW YORK, November 29, 2006- International Fight League, Inc. (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world’s first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, today reached another milestone in its early history, becoming one of a handful of professional sports entities to be traded as a public company. Effective today, the IFL begins trading on the over the counter bulletin board under the symbol “IFLI.”
“This is a landmark day for all fight sports, ranging from Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) to professional boxing,” said IFL CEO Gareb Shamus. “As a publicly traded sports entity, the IFL will be able to help the sport grow beyond its current boundaries and move into the mainstream with both fans and business partners. MMA has seen some significant growth in the last few years, from the emergence of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on Spike TV to increasing ratings and attendance numbers, and we expect our model to add to that success in this new expanded international sports marketplace.”
“For a long time, champions of the sport like Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock, Renzo Gracie, Matt Lindland, Bas Rutten, Antonio Inoki and Pat Miletich have never been able to achieve the renown in the mainstream that they have long sought,” said IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto. “By becoming a public company and having them part of the IFL, we feel that not only these legends, but the next wave of athletes, will get more of what they work for and deserve in terms of recognition. It’s a great day for all fans, business partners and competitors in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.”
The IFL, which began less than eight months ago with the IFL “Legends Championship” at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey has already experienced success on every level. Early developments have included:
• A deal with Fox Sports Net (FSN) to cover the initial IFL events that grew from three hours in the spring to 10 hours in the fall and pulled in millions of viewers.
• Initial business partners such as Microsoft’s XBox, Suzuki, Dale and Thomas Popcorn, Coca Cola’s Vault brand and Sandal’s Resorts.
• Attendance at events in Atlantic City, Portland, Oregon and Moline, Illinois exceeded original projections.
• The attendance at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut for the “World Team Championship” final on Friday December 29 is also expected to be near-capacity.
The League will very soon announce its 11 date schedule for its 2007 regular season, and will begin 2007 with a 12 team field representing 10 United States cities (including four teams in California, two in Illinois and others) Toronto, Ontario and Tokyo, Japan. The League plans further expansion to include additional teams from around the globe.
Each of the nine regular season IFL events will consist of four teams – each with an athlete in all five weight classes competing – along with a special Superfight, for a minimum of 11 bouts per card. The team that wins the best three of five match setup will be declared the team winner for the match, similar to collegiate and high school wrestling meets. The IFL also differs from other MMA organizations in that the bouts are held in an oversized five rope boxing ring with three four minute rounds, each designed to create the most compelling in-arena experience for local fans.
All events will be subject to the rules and approval of the applicable state athletic commission. The scoring system is similar to professional boxing as well. However, in the event of a draw, a fourth round will take place to decide a winner.
The four IFL regular season teams with the best records will move on to the IFL semi-finals expected to be in early August, 2007, with the first IFL Team Champion expected to be crowned in mid-September, 2007.
After receiving the requisite shareholder approval at Monday’s special meeting of Paligent, Inc. (OTC.BB: PGNT) shareholders, the IFL completed its previously announced merger with Paligent, which was effective at 1:01 A.M. this morning. The merger became effective immediately after a 1-for-20 reverse stock split by Paligent. Immediately following the merger, Paligent changed its name to International Fight League, Inc. Shareholders of Paligent will continue to own their post-split shares, but will be entitled to receive new certificates representing the same number of IFL shares of common stock as the number of post-split Paligent shares they held, which will constitute approximately 5% of the outstanding stock of IFL. The holders of the pre-merger International Fight League, Inc. shares of common stock (including the converted Series A preferred stock) will be entitled to receive approximately 1.032373 shares of post-merger Paligent shares of common stock, which will constitute approximately 95% of the outstanding stock of IFL. Letters of transmittal will be sent to appropriate holders for them to receive their new shares.
About the IFL
International Fight League™ (IFL) is the world’s first professional mixed martial arts sports league. IFL has its headquarters in New York, NY and offices in Las Vegas, NV. For more information about IFL, please see: http://www.ifl.tv
Forward-Looking Statements: This release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and IFL’s management’s expectations, hopes, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future financial condition, and results of operations. There can be no assurance that future developments actually affecting IFL will be those anticipated.
Important factors that could cause actual results to differ (favorably or unfavorably) from the expectations stated in this release include the risks and uncertainties such as the conditions of the markets for live events, broadcast television, cable television, pay-per-view, Internet, entertainment, professional sports, and licensed merchandise; acceptance of the Company’s brands, media and merchandise within those markets; uncertainties relating to litigation; risks associated with producing live events; uncertainties associated with international markets; risks relating to maintaining and renewing key agreements, including television distribution agreements; effects of competition, including locations of competitors and operating and market competition.. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should any of the Company’s assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary in material respects from those projected in these forward-looking statements.
IFL undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable securities laws. This press release may include the opinions of IFL and does not necessarily include the views of any other person or entity.
The names of all International Fight League, Inc. televised and live programming, teams, images, and logos are trademarks, which are the exclusive property of International Fight League, Inc. All other trademarks and tradenames mentioned in this release are the property of their respective owners, and are not affiliated with IFL in any way.

Adrian Pang Victorious at Cage Force

26 Nov

by sherdog.com, Jason Nowe (Photo-Stephen Martinez) (2006-11-26)

TOKYO — The once horrendously named D.O.G. experienced a rebirth tonight at Differ Ariake, debuting as the morphed Cage Force.

Fortunately K-1 HERO’S personality and Wajyutsu Keishukai fighter Caol Uno had the good sense to change the name of the event to something more internationally appropriate after the promotion joined forces with the Worldwide Cagefighting Network just a few short months ago.

Not only did the event have a new and improved name, it also became the first Japanese promotion to permit the use of elbow strikes to the head while fighters worked on the floor. But despite this new allowance, elbow strikes really didn’t play a role in the outcome of the fights. In fact, barely an elbow was thrown throughout the whole event. Perhaps it will take some time for fighters from the Land of the Rising Sun to get used to the idea of this new weapon.

The main event pitted Australia’s Adrian Pang (Team Integrated Martial Arts/Fairtex) against Wajyutsu Keishukai’s Taiyo Nakahara, both of whom were coming off loses.

Nakahara shot for takedowns throughout the match, but often ended up on his back for his efforts. Pang fired down punches from the top, connecting with a nice diving punch towards the end of the second round.

In the final period Nakahara again shot for a takedown, applying a nice kneebar from the bottom. Pang worked hard to escape the technique, and once freed quickly caught his Japanese opponent in a tight triangle. Nakahara tried to hang on, but the technique was on too tight, forcing him to tap at 2:00 of round three.

D.O.G. veteran Eiji Mitsuoka made quick of Danilo Cardoso Sanolini in their semifinal bout. The Japanese fighter shot in shortly after the opening bell, only to get caught in a deep guillotine. For a while it looked like Mitsuoka was in danger of tapping, but the Wajyutsu Keishukai RJW fighter managed to hang on, passing the Brazilian’s guard to relieve the pressure before eventually escaping the technique.

Once free of the choke, Mitsuoka quickly mounted Sanolini and applied a well-executed armbar, forcing tapout at the 1:23 mark of the first.

Takafumi Hanai is by reputation one of the best grapplers in Japan. The team twist fighter won the Abu Dhabi Japan Trails, defeating all of his opponents in under two minutes with leglocks. In fact he and DEEP featherweight champion Masakazu Imanari have a bit of a rivalry as to who is the true “10th Dan of Leglocks.”

But rather than sticking to what he’s good at, Hanai chose to stand and trade with former welterweight King of Pancrase Katsuya Inoue. This strategy turned out to be a big mistake for the Japanese mat wizard.

Throughout the match, Hanai looked to land big right hands on Inoue often taunting his opponent to trade with him. The former Pancrase champion took his time, eventually catching Hanai with a hard punch to the jaw that sent him down to the canvas. Inoue followed this up with more punches on the ground.

Inoue continued to land leather in the second, sprawling out from a takedown attempt and taking side-control. Just as Hanai attempted to stand after taking damage from ground punches, Inoue tagged him with a hard right hand. The mat wizard went down again, this time for good. Inoue followed up with some hammerfists for good measure before the referee pulled him off, calling an end to the fight at the 3:29 mark.

Wataru Takahashi and Takumi Nakayama put on a grappling clinic throughout the two rounds of their bout. The action went back and forth, with both fighters taking positions and scoring reversals.

Takahashi had a decent heelhook attempt in the second which forced Nakayama to react quickly to defend. Later Nakayama took his opponent’s back, only to see Takahashi twist back into guard before being able to apply a rear-naked choke. This exciting bout went the distance and was ruled a draw.

Pancrase legend Osami Shibuya was suppose to face off against Iranian kickboxer turned MMA fighter Hossein Ojaghi, but at the last minute had to back out of the match. Fortunately, American German Reyes was available to fill the gap.

With only three fights to Reyes’ credit compared to Shibuya’s 79, the experience difference was staggering. Shibuya quickly scored a takedown, going after an Achilles lock before transitioning to a toehold.

Reyes managed to survive the submission attempts, only by be mounted a few moments later. Shibuya rolled to his back and locked on a triangle, forcing Reyes to tap at 2:51 of round one.

Atsushi Yamamoto, a stablemate of Norifumi Yamamoto, really pushed the action in his bout against Gutsman Shooto Dojo’s So Tazawa.

Landing several punches and always looking for takedowns, Tazawa really started to shine in the last half of the second, catching Yamamoto in a Kimura before switching to a solid armbar attempt.

Yamamoto couldn’t seem to shake off his opponent no matter what he did, but it was too little, too late for Tazawa, as the judges awarded a majority decision victory to the Killer Bee fighter.

After applying a solid leglock attempt at the end of the first, Roberto Matsumoto couldn’t answer the bell for the start of the second round due to an ankle injury. The fighter couldn’t put any weight on his foot and had to be carried out of the ring by his cornermen.

Matsumoto’s opponent, Mitsuhisa Sunabe, had some excellent charging combo’s during his one round of work, connecting with the leather on several occasions.

Another freak injury occurred during the Asato Hashimoto-Yoshiyuki Yoshida fight. Hashimoto landed awkwardly after a Yoshida throw very early in the match when the two fighters were pressed against the cage. The referee saw the result of the throw and quickly stopped the fight. Hashimoto laid on the canvas, clutching his wrist in obvious pain. With this referee stoppage, Yoshida walked away with the victory 35 seconds after the opening bell.

Wajyutsu Keishukai RJW’s Wataru Miki defeated Kyokushin Karate fighter Yoshinori Ikeda by unanimous decision.

Irvin Wins At UFC!

20 Nov

by FTX (2006-11-20)

James “The Sandman” Irvin lived up to his nickname Saturday night, putting Hector Ramirez to sleep at 2:36 of the second round.
Ramirez was tough, and the two fighters were both able to hurt each other through the first round.Ramirez had Irvin in trouble during the first, as he was able to secure position on James’s back on two occasions.However, Irvin was able to endure, and fought back to his feet on both occasions.When standing, Irvin was throwing dynamite.James has been training under Ganyao Fairtex for the last year, and this was reflected in his composure as he stalked Ramirez.The Sandman was methodical, working his leg kicks, and waiting to find his range before unloading the big shots.
Midway through the second round, James landed a left hook that sent Ramirez to the mat.When the referee failed to stop the match, Irvin followed up with elbows on the groud until the match was halted.
It was a great win for Irvin who was fighting in front of a home town crowd.The air was absolutley electric.As the Sacramento crowd cheered the noise in the Arco arena was deafening.James definitey earned it, as he has been putting in a tremendous amount of work at Fairtex.From all of us here, congradulations James!See you at the gym.

Yodsaenklai Fairtex Wins Stunning WBC Muaythai Title

16 Nov

by WBC Muaythai (2006-11-16)

WBC MUAYTHAI Super Welterweight World Champion Yodsaenklai Fairtex recorded a stunning first round TKO victory over top European challenger Mark Vogel to retain his title in Wuppertal, Germany.

Yodsaenklai Fairtex stunned a packed stadium with a lightning elbow strike to head of Vogel who went down for the count. The courageous German got to his feet as the bell sounded to end the round, but the referee stopped the fight on medical advise that a cut from the elbow strike was close to challenger´s right eye.

“My plan was to knock him out in the third round but when the opportunity presented I just went for it,” the Thai superstar said.

Yodsaenklai Fairtex is the outstanding champion in the WBC MUAYTHAI and is being courted by the lucrative Japanese K-1 fighting tournament.

“I don´t mind fighting any title holder, but its the WBC green belt for the best Muaythai that is the ultimate achievement for a stand up fighter,” Yodsaenklai Fairtex told German Sport TV in a press conference immediately after the contest. “The WBC allows the full use of all the weapons and everywhere I fight around the world the crowd really appreciate seeing the traditional use of the Thai unarmed weapons.”

Vogel said he was proud to have fought against “the world´s best.”

“Yodsaenklai has had over 200 Muaythai fights. He´s only 21 and he´s truly a great champion. I learnt a lot from the experience and hope to get a rematch.”

WBC Muaythai on the World Stage

16 Nov

by Patrick Cusick (2006-11-16)

The World Boxing Council and the WBC MUAYTHAI held a joint convention in Dubrovnik, Croatia. WBC President Dr Jose Sulaiman told delegates – representing over 100 countries – that the WBC MUAYTHAI had made considerable progress over the past year.

Under the WBC the fighting art of Thailand has taken to the world stage as a popular ring sport,”he said.

And in his address WBC MUAYTHAI Chairman Pol. General Kovid Bhakdibhumi said there would be MUAYTHAI champions in all 19 weight divisions next year.

Following the establishment of a worldwide ranking system the WBC MUAYTHAI now has first class active champions. Promoters, particularly those in Europe, are pressing hard to stage world titles.”

Pol. General Kovid said the WBC MUAYTHAI would continue to provide fair and reputable rankings and professional competition for elite MUAYTHAI achievers, as well as providing safety for fighters through the official rules and regulations of the WBC MUAYTHAI.

WBC MUAYTHAI Secretary General Patrick Cusick said 2006 will go down as the year that the WBC MUAYTHAI arrived into the main arena of sport as an exciting, popular stand up martial art and professional ring sport.

“It began at Cancun’s Plaza de Toros where Thailand’s Keow Fairtex won over a roaring crowd of parochial Mexican fight fans with a powerhouse KO victory over Korea’s gallant challenger Bin In Wok.

“Prior to the WBC Cancun extravaganza Australia’s undisputed Cruiserweight champion Natham “CarnageECorbet won the first WBC Muaythai Title with a sizzling elbow KO exchange with Japanese warrior Magnum Sakai. On the same card – at the biggest venue on the famed Gold Coast – Thailand’s Super Welterweight champion out pointed the Aussie legend fighter John Wayne Parr.

“Parr went up to the Middleweight to take on England’s Steve Wakeling in a fierce world title contest at Wimberley. The five-rounds of sensational kicks, lightening elbows and power packed punches had Sky TV fight fans all over Europe demanding more super WBC MUAYTHAI.

“The European fans were not disappointed -and had their demands met – when the Thai hardened champion Danthai Singhmanutsak faced off with the British superstar Kieran Keddle at fight city Reading. While Danthai won the World Super Lightweight title on points another fine English contender, Dale White impressed with a KO knee strike victory against Alexei Bliznev of the Belarus to take home the International green belt.

“The year is still far from over and the world of MUAYTHAI is now focused on Germany where Yodsaenklai will be defending his title against the outstanding German contender Mark Vogel, the European champion who holds the Super Welterweight International belt. The title showdown will be held on 11 November.

2006 will finish with a big bang in December with the Light Heavyweight and Welterweight world titles being contested in Denmark.

“Meanwhile Lamsongkram, Bangkok’s much respected Rajadamnern Stadium star attraction – who’s also the WBC MUAYTHAI Interim Middleweight World Champion – will challenger Steve Wakeling for the undisputed title in an absolute thriller that’s scheduled for London next March.

“Muaythai fans worldwide salute the WBC for recognizing the great Thai fighting art which is the genesis of all kickboxing and martial art ring sport disciplines.

“The official rankings of the WBC MUAYTHAI in 19 weight divisions have given thousands of MUAYTHAI practitioners a genuine organizational structure of repute and fairness that rewards – at the highest level possible – those professional combatants who are prepared to step into the unarmed combat ring and be judged by their punches, kicks, knees and elbow strikes in the ultimate martial art ring sport par excellence.”

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