“Mr. International” Preps For Strikeforce Fight

SAN JOSE, Calif. —“Mr. International” Shonie Carter (39-17-7), a star on Black Entertainment Television (B.E.T.)’s new “Iron Ring” mixed martial arts (MMA) reality series, will return to the cage to battle rising star, Luke Stewart (5-1), in a welterweight (170 lb. limit) showdown at Strikeforce’s “Melendez vs. Thomson” mega-fight card on Friday, June 27th.

While training a squad of up and coming fighters on B.E.T.’s first foray into the world’s fastest growing sport, the charismatic and outspoken Carter has also been seen butting heads on the TV screen with a few of his fellow cast members, which include professional boxing’s top, pound for pound champion,” Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, and hip-hop stars Ludacris; T.I; Lil’ Jon; and Dipset, all of whom serve as owners of the teams that Carter and other stand-out mixed martial arts competitors coach on the weekly, one-hour program.

“Boxers and rappers need to shut up because they don’t know what we are,” said Carter, whose participation on the show marks his second stint on reality television. Two years ago, he was a contestant on Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter 4.”

“They’re walking around, flashing jewelry, calling yourself ‘Pretty Boy’ like you’re all that and I’m like ‘I’ll whip everybody’s butt here.”

“The hip-hop industry can mesh well with MMA,” Carter admitted. “It’s just that you gotta know your place. A lot of these guys fail to realize the imminent danger of pissing somebody off. When it comes to the world of athletics and mixed martial arts versus any other athlete, we kick down mountains and we put the sun out. We allow the moonlight to shine at night.”

Carter’s sharp vernacular and flamboyant style of dress are matched only by his flashy fighting style, including a patented spinning backfist that produced a memorable knockout of former UFC champion Matt “The Terror” Serra seven years ago. “I love spinning techniques. They’re such an enigma because you just don’t know what you’re gonna get.”

A seasoned Muay Thai kickboxer and former collegiate wrestler, Carter also holds a black belt in Shidokan Karate. Amongst the other highlights on his extensive resume is a six-year stint with the U.S. Marine Corps.

As far as his ever-flourishing fight career goes, Carter has his mind set on becoming the undisputed champion in the sport’s 170 lb. division. “I want to unify all of the belts of every organization,” he said.

“I think there should be one champion so I’m going to try and snatch as many crowns from big cities and, even small towns and, when I’m done and have a whole pile of belts sitting in my room, you can rank whoever you want to rank number one, but you know I’m the one who took those belts from everyone else.”

Just last week, Carter notched his 37th career victory by stopping Demi Deeds in the second round of their matchup in Maryville, Indiana with an onslaught of elbows while the two were standing toe-to-toe, pressed against the cage. “I walked out as pretty as I looked when I walked in.”

At 27 years old, Carter’s June 27th opponent, Stewart, is recognized as one of the sport’s most promising young stars. The San Francisco, California native, who holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is looking to steer his career back on track after suffering a career first defeat at the hands of Tiki Ghosn on the Strikeforce co-produced “Shamrock vs. Cung Le” card at HP Pavilion on March 29th.

Tickets for “Melendez vs. Thomson,” priced from $30, are on sale at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (408-998-TIXS), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com), and on Strikeforce’s official website (www.Strikeforceusa.net).

Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion, Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (14-1), will defend his crown against number one contender and Bay Area arch-rival, Josh “The Punk” Thomson (14-2), in the main event of the June 27th Strikeforce affair.

In another championship showdown, Bobby Southworth (8-5) will put his Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight (205 lb. limit) title on the line in a rematch with Anthony “El Toro” Ruiz (20-10). Ruiz was declared the winner of their initial meeting on November 16, 2007 after a cut Southworth had sustained during the fight prompted the ringside physician to order a stoppage at the :52 mark of the second round.

Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stud Nam Phan (14-4) will attempt to hand knockout artist Billy Evangelista (6-0) the first loss of his career.

HP Pavilion doors will open at 6 PM for “Melendez vs. Thomson” and the first preliminary bout will begin at 6:30 PM. The live HDNet telecast of the event will start at 7:30 PM PST/10:30 PM EST and the main card will commence at 8 PM.

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Michael Afromowitz