First Event of Multi-fight deal to air LIVE exclusively on HDNet – Saturday, February 23
DALLAS (February 7, 2008) – HDNet Fights announced today that it is partnering with Strikeforce ™ to present four mixed martial arts events in 2008. The first of these events will be “HDNet Fights Presents: Strikeforce ™ at The Dome” LIVE from the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, Saturday, February 23 at 10:30 p.m. ET. This live exclusive coverage will only be available on HDNet.
“We’re excited about this new deal with Strikeforce ™ as they are such a well respected MMA organization,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “This announcement reinforces our commitment to deliver a minimum of 24 events in 2008 and the partnership between HDNetFights and Strikeforce ™ guarantees many great match-ups for MMA fans.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to showcase our brand of mixed martial arts on HDNet,” said Scott Coker, President of Strikeforce ™. “HDNet delivers television content to viewers in the highest quality format possible and Strikeforce ™ has worked diligently to produce the finest, world-class fights for mixed martial arts fans. Together, the two entities will be able to deliver a superior product.”
The evening’s main event features former University of Washington football standout and NFL lineman turned martial arts fighting sensation, Bob “The Beast” Sapp (8-2-1) meeting 6’11” K-1 kickboxing star and undefeated professional boxer Jan “The Giant” Nortje (25-17).
At 6 feet 4 inches tall and 375 lbs, the 33-year-old Sapp was recruited in 2002 and 2003 by Japanese martial arts fight federations, Pride Fighting Championship and K-1, respectively. His astonishing size and strength, which he has used to defeat some of the most seasoned martial arts combatants, including five-time K-1 World Champion, “Mr. Perfect” Ernesto Hoost, helped catapult Sapp to the forefront of pop culture in Japan and earned him starring roles in over 200 television commercials there as well as dozens of endorsement deals for a wide array of Japanese consumer products ranging from bento boxes to ice cream.
Most recently, Sapp has been courted by the world of Hollywood including two appearances on the silver screen – the first in the comic book adaptation of Elektra, and, the second, playing a supporting role in the Adam Sandler re-make of Burt Reynolds’s football comedy, The Longest Yard.
Nortje is coming off a second round TKO victory over Dong Wook Kim. That match-up took place before over 17,000 fans at Japan’s Yokohama Arena on K-1’s “World GP 2007 Final” on December 8.
The evening’s event will also feature a heavyweight contest pitting former UFC Heavyweight Champion and K-1 North America king, Maurice “Big Mo” Smith(73-20-4), against fellow legend and six-time world kickboxing champion, Rick “The Jet” Roufus (57-7).
And, in a classic clash of styles, World Muay Thai Champion, Duane “Bang” Ludwig(16-7), will be challenged by the ground fighting expertise of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace, Steve “The Red Nosed Pit Bull” Berger (20-17-2), in a 170 lb. limit match-up.
Also, fans will see hard-hitting thoroughbred Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (13-2) taking on former NCAA National Boxing Champion turned Matt Lindland protégé, “Diamond” Ryan Healy (9-2-1), in a 160 lb. limit catch weight mixed martial arts battle.
About HDNet Fights
HDNet Fights (www.hdnetfights.com) is one of the leading Mixed Martial Arts (MMA organizations in the country. Founded by Mark Cuban, HDNet Fights promotes, produces and airs over 24 live MMA events annually for broadcast on HDNet. HDNet Fights is unique as a unifying force in the MMA industry partnering with leading promoters, including M1, Sportfight, IFL, Ring of Combat and others to offer the quality match-ups and productions that MMA fans demand.
Founded in 2007, HDNet Fights is led by CEO Andrew Simon while company operations are handled by Dallas MMA legend and former UFC champion, Guy Mezger.
HDNet (www.hd.net) is the home for HDNet Fights and is the leader in offering live MMA broadcasts and the leading news and information show for MMA fans, “Inside MMA”.
In addition, HDNet provides viewers with the best in original news, sports, music and entertainment programming. From “Dan Rather Reports”, to championship sports coverage from the NHL, NASCAR and Major League Soccer to “Guys Night In” every Friday and the HDNet Concert Series every Sunday, HDNet offers great programming with the world’s best picture quality.
Launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban and General Manager and COO Philip Garvin, the HDNet networks are available on AT&T, Bright House Networks, Charter Communications, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and more than 40 NCTC cable affiliate companies. For more information visit www.hd.net.
About Strikeforce ™ Strikeforce ™ 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 ™ 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 series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.” Since then, it has produced the first SHOWTIME PPV mixed martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni” card on June 22nd of this year followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29th.