Diaz vs. Noons, Kimbo Debuts, Shields Featured


From Corpus Christi, Texas

Nick Diaz, KJ Noons Fight For EliteXC 160-pound World Title;From Street To Elite — Legendary Internet Fighter Kimbo Slice Makes EliteXC Debut;Jake Shields Faces Mike Pyle; The Doctor, Seth Kleinbeck Meets Kyle Noke,“Big Foot’’ Silva Returns Versus Wiezorek In ‘Renegade’ On SHOWTIME

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 6, 2007) — The America Bank Center Arena in Corpus Christi, Tex., will rock like it never has before when Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, presents “EliteXC: Renegade’’ this Saturday, Nov. 10, on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).

“We’re all very excited about doing our first show in Corpus Christi,’’ Shaw said. “I hope fans are ready for ‘Renegade’ because this is going to be a tremendous event.

“One great thing about EliteXC fights is that you just can’t point to one corner or the other beforehand and say, ‘this guy is going to win.’ My fighters know they all have to fight and they are all going to have to fight to win on Saturday.

“Texas fans in attendance and those watching on SHOWTIME are in for a real exciting night of fights in the cage.’’

What will be an emotional, memorable, hotly contested main event will feature an EliteXC world title fight in a new weight class – 160 pounds — between talented, crowd-pleasing Nick Diaz (15-6) of Stockton, Calif., and exciting, hard-hitting KJ Noons (4-1) of San Diego.

In an eagerly awaited match on the undercard, Kimbo Slice will make his EliteXC debut. A legendary underground bare-knuckle fighter, Kimbo became an overnight pop-culture sensation when his fighting videos were posted on various video sites throughout the Internet. His videos have been downloaded in excess of 10 million times – and counting — on YouTube.

Kimbo (1-0), of Miami, Fla., will be opposed by Bo “Redrum’’ Cantrell (10-10) of Citrus Heights, Calif. (10-10). Cantrell is a replacement for Mike Bourke, who broke his clavicle during training and withdrew. In March 2006, Cantrell scored a 1:05, first-round TKO over Bourke.

“What I really love about Kimbo is his work ethic and his attitude,’’ Shaw said. “He has the mentality of a real fighter. He doesn’t care who he fights. He doesn’t care about weight, height, if they’re southpaw or orthodox, he’s here to fight.

“I do believe Kimbo has the ability to be the heavyweight world champion in boxing, as I do believe he has the ability under (trainer) Bas (Rutten) to be the world champion in MMA in probably several weight classes.’’

A compelling co-feature Saturday will match a Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu against an Xtreme Couture fighter when streaking, world-ranked welterweight, Jake Shields (19-4-1), of San Francisco, faces the always-dangerous Mike “Quicksand” Pyle (14-4-1), of Dresden, Tenn.

Shields is trained by Gracie; Pyle is coached by Couture.

In other SHOWTIME-televised fights, Kyle “KO’’ Noke (13-3-1), the bodyguard of the late “Crocodile Hunter’’ Steve Irwin, will make his EliteXC debut in a 185-pound fight against “Doctor” Seth “Mass Destruction’’ Kleinbeck (8-3) of Ozark, Ark., and Brazil’s Antonio “Big Foot’’ Silva (8-1) returns to the cage for the first time in nine months against Jonathan Wiezorek (11-1).

Saturday’s scheduled non-televised, undercard fights that will be available on ProElite.com the week of Nov. 12 include: Geoff Bumstead (2-1) of Corpus Christi vs. Robert Ruiz (1-0) of Corpus Christi, at 265 pounds; Yves Edwards (29-13-1) of Woodlands, Tex., vs. Nick Gonzalez (13-5) of Austin, Tex., at 160 pounds; Jon Kirk (10-1) of Houston vs. Matt Lucas (7-0) at 185 pounds; Ralph Kelly (6-1) of San Antonio vs. Brett Rogers (5-0) at 265 pounds; and Jae Sok Lim (7-2) vs. Lane Yarbrough (6-4) of Huntsville, Tex., at 170 pounds.

With the exception of Diaz-Noon, which is scheduled for five, 5-minute rounds, the fights are three, 5-minute rounds. The event will begin at 7 p.m. CT. Doors open at 6 o’clock.

Tickets in all price ranges, starting at $25, are available at the American Bank Center Box Office and all TicketMaster locations. They also may be obtained at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (361) 881-8499. Any ticket buyer may purchase a $50 VIP Package Upgrade, which includes VIP parking and post-fight party at the American Bank Center.

The talented, well-schooled Diaz (nickdiaz.proelite.com) has phenomenal Jiu-Jitsu and cardio. A major player in MMA and one of its most recognizable and popular figures, the wily Diaz, 24, always enters the ring in exceptional condition and makes for exciting scraps.

Diaz is making his second consecutive start on SHOWTIME and first since signing a long-term contract extension with EliteXC.

A Brazilian black belt and loyal student of Cesar Gracie, Diaz made his EliteXC debut on “Uprising” Sept. 15, 2007, in Hawaii. In an exhausting, bloody, give-and-take slugfest, he scored a thrilling, three-round split decision over hard-trying Mike Aina.

A fierce, confident competitor, the six-foot southpaw Diaz survived an early knockdown and a cut right eye to outpoint the local favorite by the scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 28-29.

Shortly after his first start in six months, Diaz flew to Las Vegas to watch his brother, Nate, fight. Nick barely had made off the plane before he was taken to a hospital where he would spend a week for a severe staph infection that he contacted a few days before the bout with Aina.

“I felt pretty crappy in my match in Hawaii, but I figured I was suffering from jet lag or from something I had eaten the night before,’’ Diaz said. “When I left Hawaii, I was getting chills and had to be covered with several blankets on the plane. I kept having cold sweats.

“By the time I got to Vegas, the infection had ballooned up so I went to a hospital and was admitted right away. I started getting my strength back the last few days in the hospital.

“But I definitely won that fight with Aina and people that think otherwise; well, I do not know what they were watching. If we ever fight again, I will tap him out.’’

The outspoken, brutally honest Diaz recuperated quickly enough to compete in a triathlon for a second consecutive year. “I ended up taking second place,’’ he said. “I lost first by seven minutes due to a poor swim. I couldn’t get much swim practice because I was in the hospital.’’

Diaz has fought some of the sport’s biggest names in an illustrious six-year career. In perhaps his most unforgettable performance, a battered, bruised and bloodied Diaz rallied from the brink of defeat to score an impressive, legendary gogoplata submission victory over then-consensus No. 1 lightweight contender, Takanori Gomi (takanorigomi.proelite.com), in a 2007 Fight of the Year candidate that wound up going into the books as a no contest.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the cage on Saturday,’’ Diaz said.

Noons (kjnoons.proelite.com), who is also a professional boxer, is coming off a smashing third-round knockout over Edson Berto on July 27, 2007, at Santa Ynez, Calif. Despite fracturing his left hand in the opening minutes, Noons would go on to mostly dominate the favored Berto.

In a scintillating finish to a thrilling encounter on ShoXC: The Elite Challenger Series on SHOWTIME, Noons wore down Berto, then dropped him with a devastating right knee to the face. Noons followed the knockdown with a right hand and right elbow to the face before the referee stepped in and halted the proceedings 45 seconds into the round.

The victory was monumental for Noons, who had been knocked out by “Krazy Horse’’ Charles Bennett in his outing before last (Feb. 10, 2007, the debut telecast of EliteXC on SHOWTIME).

“I had to prove I was better, which is why I put in so much time and sweat and blood preparing for Berto,” Noons said. “It wasn’t easy, but I made it look easy. It definitely helped me put the ‘Krazy Horse’ fight behind me. I got a lot off my shoulders with that fight.’’

The victory earned Noons a berth in the initial EliteXC lightweight championship fight. “The thing about EliteXC is I knew if I was winning, I would eventually get a title shot,” Noons said. “In EliteXC, the people who fight actually earn (the right).’’

A fighter who has never turned down a challenge, Noons is confident of an upset. “This is for a world title,’’ he said. “I’ll be ready. I wasn’t impressed with Nick’s last performance. This is a good match-up. He’s the No. 1 guy in the world; he beat Gomi. I’m just glad to have the opportunity to have a chance to be fighting someone of his caliber.

“I have nothing to lose, everything to gain. He’s great on the ground. I’m not, but I work hard at the ground game. I don’t plan on trying for a submission. I’ll just be trying to stop him.

“Nick is probably going to try and stand and then take it to the ground to finish it. I want to make it a fight. The way I fight, every fight is exciting and a war. I’m going in to win. I won’t be letting down. It’s going to be head-to-head. I think fighting at 160 is good for both of us.’’

Kimbo (kimboslice.proelite.com), aka Kevin Ferguson, is a big, scary-looking, intimidating heavyweight who developed an astonishing following on the Internet due to his famous “unsanctioned” backyard fights.

Lest you think he is not serious about MMA, however, forget it.

“I am totally committed,’’ Kimbo said. “I’m for real at this and not short term, but long term. I am not a novelty act. I mean business. I am coming to bring the noise. I work extremely hard. There are critics who don’t think I can do this, but I am going to prove them all wrong.”

Kimbo, who possesses pretty solid standup, defeated former world boxing heavyweight champion “Merciless’’ Ray Mercer via guillotine submission in his MMA debut June 23, 3007.

One individual who liked what he saw was Rutten, an MMA legend and one of the sport’s all-time great trainers.

“I was way more than impressed with his fight,’’ Rutten said. “He did his homework and worked the game plan to perfection. I write game plans. I told Kimbo, ‘these are the things you have to focus on. If you do, you’re not going to be in trouble, but you have to hit every point.’

“Normally, guys go for something then forget it. Kimbo took the game plan, kept it and kept working on the points. He’s a sponge and wants to learn. He comes in on time and doesn’t complain. He’ll do everything you say. Things you teach him today, he remembers tomorrow.’’

Kimbo, who weighed 239 ½ pounds, a weight much lower than he had anticipated, shot in early on Mercer. After a barrage of elbow, Muay Thai knees and combination punches, Kimbo was able to tap out Mercer at 1:10.

Fans and critics alike were impressed – and shocked — by the brawler’s ability to pull off such a skillful submission technique

“I’ve worked really hard on my wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu.’’ Kimbo said. “It hasn’t been easy. I’ve never trained as hard. Training has never been as intense. I don’t think any other trainers can match what Bas puts us through. But I couldn’t ask for better guys to work with.

“They push me to the limit. When I feel like quitting, they literally beat me down and it’s hard to get a person that’s willing to beat me down. I have more respect for them than anything.

“I get frustrated, but it’s frustration that drives me. I’m determined. I will not be denied.’’

Since converting to the cage, Kimbo’s universe has been altered dramatically. “My life’s definitely changed, but it has all been for the better — mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually,’’ he said. “I’m more patient and dedicated to things that are more important.’’

Regarding his premium television debut, Kimbo said, “With EliteXC on SHOWTIME, everyone’s got a chance to watch. SHOWTIME is a household deal. Anybody who has a TV should have SHOWTIME. They’re going to see what hard work, sacrifice and dedication will do for you.’’

On his incredible fan base, Kimbo said, “I love the fans. They respect me and I respect them. They show me love and I show love back. I know what they want and I’m going to give them what they want. They want to see me come in and bang and I’m coming in to bang.

“The fans know that anyone that comes my way, they better be prepared to bring it.’’

The six-foot-one-inch Cantrell is a former Marine and five-time Gladiator Challenge heavyweight titlist. The hard-hitting Cantrell is not accustomed to putting in a full night’s work. His last eight fights have ended in the first round, and 11 of his last 13 have ended inside two.

Cantrell will be making his second start on SHOWTIME. In his debut, he lost to Tim Persey on EliteXC’s “Destiny” on Feb. 10, 2007.

Like Kimbo, Cantrell is no stranger to underground fights. “I had my share of them in Oregon before getting a shot at the real shows,’’ Cantrell said.

Despite the short notice, Cantrell (bocantrell.proelite.com) is coming to win. “To beat Kimbo would give my career a gigantic boost,’’ he said.

Shields, 28, has won eight straight and nine of 10. Unbeaten since December 2004, he has defeated the likes of current UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami, former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne and current WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit.

Known for technical grappling and amazing cardio, the lifelong vegetarian captured the Shooto Championship in 2004 and won the Rumble on the Rock Grand Prix Tournament in ‘05.

In his last start, Shields (jakeshields.proelite.com) scored a surprisingly easy first-round knockout over BJ Penn’s Renato “Charuto’’ Verissimo on “Uprising.’’ The referee stopped the fight at 4:00 with Shields on top of Verissimo and landing a series of unanswered punches.

“That fight went pretty good,’’ the highly regarded Shields said. “I came in and threw a couple kicks, a couple punches and ended up getting in the clinch. He ended up tripping me and taking me down but I didn’t want to be on bottom so I bounced right back up

“From there we were in the clinch and I took him down, opened up his guard and passed, got mount, and started raining down punches on him.’’

A beast at welterweight, Shields has a lot of respect for Pyle.

“Mike is really good,’’ Shields said. “I’ve been watching his tapes and he is really well rounded. He has good standup, a good ground game and cardio, but I think I’m going to be too much for him. I think it will take a little longer to wear him down, but eventually I’ll break him.’’

Pyle, 21, who trains out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, will be seeking his third consecutive victory. In his last outing, Pyle recorded an impressive, unanimous decision over Aaron Wetherspoon on the June 22 “Shamrock vs. Baroni” undercard at San Jose, Calif.

In his start before last, Pyle registered a 1:55, first-round submission (rear naked choke hold) over Ross Ebanez on the historic EliteXC “DESTINY’’ undercard on Feb. 10, 2007.

Pyle (mikepyle.proelite.com), who has experience in Tae Kwon Do, judo, karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, has been in against tough, risky opposition and is back to fighting at 170 pounds (down from 185). The drop in weight has proven to be an excellent move.

“A fight with Shields has been talked about for months, and now that it is here, I am really looking forward to it,’’ Pyle said. “I think my striking is a bit sharper than his and I feel I’m a physically stronger athlete, but he might possibly have an edge on me with the wrestling.’’

A five-month layoff is not a concern. “My preparation has been excellent,” said Pyle, who’s defeated the likes of welterweight star Jon Fitch and Shonie Carter. “The inactivity didn’t bother me. It gave me some time off to work on my game. I don’t suffer from ring rust because I train with top athletes.

“Five months off is nothing for me. I always come back just as strong if not better. Beating Jake will be a good step for me. This is going to be a good show.’’

At first glance, Kleinbeck, of Stuttgart, Ark., seems like an average, easy-going young man. He has been married 16 years, has two children and is a licensed physician who practices emergency and family medicine in his home state and has family offices in Ozark and Waldron.

Kleinbeck, 34, is anything but typical, however. The most well educated man in MMA, he is “Dr. Kleinbeck’’ to his patients but he’s “Mass Destruction” to MMA fans. No, Kleinbeck is not known for his bedside manner inside the cage, which may be a shock to his patients.

The exciting, aggressive-minded Kleinbeck possesses solid striking power, comes to win and produces excellent scraps. Along with carrying plenty of strength and a devastating punch, Kleinbeck boasts a sharp kick attack that sends many of his opponents limping to the mat.

All his victories have ended inside the distance. In his SHOWTIME debut, Kleinbeck (sethkleinbeck.proelite.com) knocked out Jaime Jara (16-6) in the second round with a picture-perfect left-right combination at 4:59 in Vicksburg, Miss., on July 27, 2007.

“There was no doubt the fight was over,” said Kleinbeck after dealing Jara — a champion at one time or another in four Gladiator Challenge weight classes — his first loss in three years. “I caught him perfectly. This is probably my best win and I’m obviously happy.

“I was surprised he tried to box for as long as he did. I figured he would be trying to take me down. I kicked him so hard I think I might have broken my left foot.”

Kleinbeck graduated from the University of Arkansas College of Medicine with a MD in 2001. But don’t let the higher education fool you. A fighter skilled in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, submission grappling and wrestling, he is dedicated to becoming a MMA star.

The mauling medic has a 1,200 square foot gym by his house. “It’s at the end of my driveway,’’ he said. “I’ve got weight and cardio equipment and a 15×20 matted grappling area.’’

Kleinbeck, who started his MMA training during his last year of medical school, has experience and a successful record but, aside from Jara, has faced mostly lesser competition.

A doctor knows his body though and Kleinbeck sees good days ahead. “If you’ve got a young body and you haven’t had a lot of injuries you could fight deep into your 30s,” he said. “I’d hate to get out of fighting without getting in the ring with somebody in the top 10.”

Kleinbeck, who has been known to assist commissions in administrating pre-fight physicals (he once gave a physical to his opponent), knows he cannot afford to overlook any foe.

“Every fight is important,’’ he said. “I want to step up to the next level, but I have to beat who they put in front of me first. Noke has fought a couple tough guys. He is a well-rounded fighter who does everything really good. There is no way I look past him or anybody.’’

Noke (kylenoke.proelite.com), of Queensland, Australia, by way of Sydney, trains at the Australian Zoo, which was started by Irvin. The Irwin family built an MMA cage for him so he could train while working at the Zoo as a security guard.

Considered by some to be one of the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artists in Australia, the well-conditioned, six-foot-two-inch 27-year-old has won titles in multiple weight classes since getting involved in MMA at the age of 22.

A well-rounded fighter who does not have any glaring weaknesses, Noke is 5-1-1 in his last seven starts. In his most recent outing and lone effort in 2007, he fought to a three-round draw with top Judoka and former PRIDE fighter Hector Lombard on July 28, 2007.

Noke, who may be most effective when he can counter, has fought the majority of his fights at 170 pounds. But his last three outings have been at 185.

Silva, who is six-feet-four and has weighed upwards of 300 pounds, is hard to miss. But do not blink once he enters the cage. All but one of his victories has come by knockout. None of his fights have gone one full round.

One of the most talked-about and feared up-and-comers in MMA, Silva’s freakish size is matched with brute strength and surprising speed, brutal ground and pound striking skills. Factor in that he also is surprisingly nimble-footed and effectively combines Shotokan Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and you seemingly have all of the ingredients of a future superstar

Nicknamed “Bigfoot’’ for his huge, intimidating stature, Silva scored a 3:49, first-round TKO (strikes) over Wesley “Cabbage” Correira on Feb. 10, 2007, on SHOWTIME.

The victory came in his first start since suffering his only pro loss on a controversial first-round TKO to Eric Pele on Dec. 12, 2006. “I don’t know what the referee was thinking when he stopped the fight,’’ Silva said. “I was doing fine, biding my time, waiting for the moment Pele would slow down because I knew he was getting tired. But the referee decided to call the fight.’’

Silva (antoniosilva.proelite.com), who is dropping down in weight, is looking to continue his rise, but he understands it won’t be easy. “Wiezorek is a good fighter who wants to take the fight to the mat because he’s good at submissions,’’ he said. “But I’m training very well and have a good strategy that will surprise him if he goes to take me down.

“Physically, I am great. I don’t have to worry about him. He has to worry about me. It has been eight months since I last fought. I am very hungry for a victory.’’

A winner of five straight, Wiezorek will be fighting for the first time since registering a second-round TKO (strikes) over Tim Persey on June 2, 2007, at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

“That was a great experience for me,” Wiezorek (jonathanwiezorek.proelite.com) said.

The six-foot-three-inch Wiezorek came out working Persey with punches and knees, trying to force him down. A grappler, Wiezorek’s strength lies on the mat, where he tries to get all his opponents. “If I could get a guy to the ground, I have a great chance to win the fight.”

Wiezorek put down Persey for good early in the second, got his back and threw punches until the ref stepped in. It was his eighth submission victory. Also a master of avoiding damage, Wiezorek’s victories have mostly come in the first round by various chokes.

Mauro Ranallo will call the cageside action with former wrestling superstar Bill Goldberg and Stephen Quadros, The Fight Professor, serving as color analysts. The executive producer of the telecast is David Dinkins, Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.

About ProElite, Inc.

ProElite Inc. [PELE.PK] 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 [elitexc.com]. 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

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.

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