Hip-Hop Meets MMA At “Shamrock vs Baroni”
Live Performance by Rich Boy Friday, June 22 at HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif.
San Jose, CA; June 9, 2007 – Interscope Records hip-hop star, Rich Boy, will become the first major recording artist to perform at a mixed martial arts event when he takes the stage during “Shamrock vs. Baroni,” the Strikeforce-EliteXC co-produced world championship fight card that will be televised live on pay-per-view from San Jose, California’s HP Pavilion on Friday, June 22.
The 22-year-old Rich Boy (www.richboyonline.com, www.myspace.com/richboy) shot to stardom last year when “Throw Some D’s,” the lead single from his self-titled, debut LP, catapulted to the No. 2 spot on Billboard’s rap chart and the No. 6 slot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The album, released on March 13th of this year, reached as high as No. 3 on Billboard 200, which rates the top 200 selling music albums, after being placed in heavy rotation on both MTV and BET.
The artist’s follow-up single, “Boy Looka Here,” was featured in 2006’s Rocky Balboa, the final chapter of Sylvester Stallone’s legendary boxing saga. The hit track was produced by Atlanta, Georgia’s Polow Da Don, who has been working on projects with a number of other prominent urban music stars, including G Unit’s Young Buck, Young Jeezy, Gwen Stefani, and Mya. Polow Da Don is also a member of Atlanta-based rap group, Jim Crow.
In addition to Polow, Rich Boy boasts a number of other, A-list production credits including “crunk” pioneer, Lil Jon, and Khari “Needlz” Cain, who rose to power through his creation of hit tracks for rap superstars 50 Cent (“Piggy Bank” and “God Gave Me Style”), Young Buck (“Let Me In”) and The Game (“Special”). The beats featured on Rich Boy’s album have been described as “intoxicating” and the lyrics offer a look into the experiences that made the artist the man he is.
A native of Mobile, Alabama and the son of a liquor store owner, Rich Boy, whose real name is Marece Richards, felt the lure of street life on a daily basis during his adolescent and teen years. Thanks to the strong will of his mother who pulled him in the opposite direction and brought him to church on a regular basis, Rich Boy persevered to overcome the pitfalls of his neighborhood and was eventually accepted to Tuskegee University as a mechanical engineering major.
During his first semester in college, Rich Boy had a meeting with fate when he befriended a schoolmate who had a hobby of creating original beats. Intrigued by what he heard, he asked his new acquaintance to teach him the craft. Within one year after Rich Boy began creating original music, former world boxing champion, Roy Jones, Jr, who has dabbled in the world of hip-hop, began purchasing tracks from the aspiring, new talent. The interest others showed in his music convinced Rich Boy to leave school and pursue his dream of becoming a successful producer.
While struggling to get his tracks heard on the radio airwaves in Mobile, Rich Boy began rapping over his own beats and, eventually, crossed paths with Polow and another prominent figure in the music industry, Mannie Fresh, the former in-house producer for Cash Money Records. During a trip to Atlanta, Rich Boy signed with Polow’s Zone 4 Entertainment, which later partnered with music industry powerhouse, Interscope Records.
Growing up, Rich Boy was heavily influenced by a number of Southern rap legends, including Too Short, 8-Ball and MJG, and UGK.
“Shamrock vs. Baroni” will be headlined by the long-anticipated showdown between former UFC middleweight champion and King Of Pancrase, Frank Shamrock, and UFC and Pride veteran, “The New York Badass” Phil Baroni. At stake in the main event will be the vacant Strikeforce world middleweight (185 pound limit) championship.
The live Pay Per View event will be distributed by SHOWTIME® PPV beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT with a suggested retail price of $34.95 and including up to six live matches. For more information and to order “Shamrock vs. Baroni,” viewers should contact their pay-per-view provider.
Additional undercard matches will be streamed free and live on the internet at www.ProElite.com and www.strikeforceusa.net.
Ticket prices for “Shamrock vs. Baroni” start at $30 and are on sale at Ticketmaster (408-998-TIXS) and Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) as well as at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070).
The star-studded event will also feature the return of undefeated world San Shou kickboxing champion and middleweight mixed martial arts contender, Cung Le (strikeforceusa.net, cungle.proelite.com), who will face his greatest test to date in Tony “The Freak” Fryklund.
Strikeforce’s latest recruit, 2003 K-1 North America tournament champion, Carter Williams (strikeforceusa.net, carterwilliams.proelite.com), will meet hard-hitting Paul Buentello (strikeforceusa.net, paulbuentello.proelite.com) in a heavyweight matchup.
In another top-notch bout, EliteXC’s Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett (krazyhorse.proelite.com), who is coming off a stunning, upset knockout victory over EliteXC’s KJ Noons (kjnoons.proelite.com), will take on Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela (joeboxer.proelite.com).
EliteXC fighters, Joey Villasenor (joeyvillasenor.proelite.com) and former Pride star, Murilo “Ninja” Rua (murilorua.proelite.com), will lock horns for the vacant EliteXC middleweight title. On February 10th, Villasenor pulled off a shocking upset by outmaneuvering and, eventually earning a unanimous decision over EliteXC’s David “The Crow” Loiseau (thecrow.proelite.com). Villasenor’s career is highlighted by a 15 fight-winning streak put together between December 2002 and April 2006. A member of the famed Chute Boxe fight squad in Brazil, Rua was last seen in action on September 30th when he submitted British kickboxer Mark Weir (markweir.proelite.com), with an arm triangle choke in the second round of their meeting.
Strikeforce star and Pride and UFC veteran, Josh “The Punk” Thomson, will take on Nick “The Ghost” Gonzalez, an elusive striker from Austin, Texas, who boasts five professional boxing bouts and an appearance in K-1 Max competition in Japan. In 2006, Thomson put together a splendid year of fighting by defeating three straight opponents over the course of six months. Gonzalez is looking to extend his win streak to four consecutive bouts.
UFC veteran and K-1 Max star, Duane “Bang” Ludwig, will go head to head with British Cage Rage champion, Paul “Semtex” Daley, in a bout that will be shown to viewers should there be sufficient time remaining on the Pay Per View broadcast following the first three of six main card bouts scheduled to air live.
“Shamrock vs. Baroni” is co-produced by ProElite, Inc., the parent company of EliteXC, and Strikeforce.
About ProElite, Inc.
ProElite, Inc. delivers the most exciting entertainment experience in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) with live arena-based entertainment events, cable television programming on Showtime Networks and community-driven interactive broadband entertainment via the Internet. ProElite embraces MMA with the highest levels of honor, integrity, discipline and self-esteem all the while remaining inclusive for fighters, fans and schools. ProElite’s live fight division, EliteXC, delivers spectacular live MMA fight events that showcase the world’s top fighters. ProElite’s interactive business, ProElite.com, capitalizes on the growing popularity of the sport of mixed martial arts by building a community of mixed martial arts enthusiasts. In addition to streaming the most exciting live fights to the web, ProElite expands the fan base of the sport by providing a comprehensive set of online social networking tools for fans, fighters and organizations. ProElite.com – Empowering the Fight Community TM
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. The rapidly growing organization recently re-launched its website, www.strikeforceusa.net, which boasts a bold new look and all-new features, including video streaming capability. 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.”
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® TOO™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE® and TMC XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD™, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND™ and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND™. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI is also an owner and manager of SUNDANCE CHANNEL, a venture of NBC Universal, Robert Redford and SNI. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME® PPV.