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Sunday, Nov 05, 2006

Bodogfight Pay-per-view Seriesfinale Storms Into Vancouver, Canada

From the event’s promoter:

BodogFight Pay-Per-View Series
Finale Storms into Vancouver, Canada

Three Superfights and Team USA vs. Team Russia
Tournament Equates to One Incredible Fight Card

BodogFight brings you the BodogFight: Season 1 Finale, presented by the Elite Fighting Championship. Live from The Agrodome in Vancouver, British Columbia, the PPV event will be available to an international audience Saturday, December 2, 2006. For ticket and PPV ordering information, go to www.bodogfight.com.

"The live event marks the finale of the remarkable first season of the BodogFight show and the beginning of BodogTV’s foray into the exciting world of mixed martial arts," says Calvin Ayre, whose digital entertainment empire includes an international record label, Bodog Music, as well as a publishing division and television production house. "This event’s fight card pits two dominating nations head-to-head, as both USA and Russia vie for international bragging rights on the MMA world stage."

As part of the PPV event, one of the three Superfights will showcase Roger Gracie in his professional MMA fight debut. An incredible tournament showdown and the introduction of a new Gracie family member to MMA fans worldwide: With all of that action, the BodogFight main event is shaping up to be the largest event of its kind.

If Roger Gracie versus Ron Waterman isn’t enough needed to satisfy fight fans, then MMA fighter Antonio Silva’s bout against Eric Pele should do the trick. The third fight features Eddie Alvarez against Aaron Riley in a welterweight championship bout.

Also being announced at the PPV event will be the BodogFight favorite fighter as voted by viewers, with the winning warrior taking home the $50,000 cash prize. Be sure to cast your vote soon at www.bodogfight.com , where biographies of all the fighters, exclusive footage, and unedited interviews and confrontations are readily available and continuously updated each week. The final televised episodes will air simultaneously on the Men’s Outdoor and Recreation channel, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and online to viewers worldwide at the official BodogFight web site, www.bodogfight.com.

With its drive into the international MMA scene, the incredibly popular BodogFight series is available in over 43 million homes across North America. Elimination battles, behind-the-scenes training, interviews with fighters, a soundtrack featuring Bodog Music artists, and lifestyle segments compose the weekly one-hour BodogFight episodes, with the finale leading into the PPV main event December 2 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Filming for BodogFight: Season II – USA vs. The World is scheduled to begin in mid-December in the breathtaking city of St. Petersburg, Russia.

An MMA Conspiracy in Delaware?
By Jim Genia

Is mixed martial arts legal in Delaware? Promoter Ed Hsu certainly thought it was, and so he scheduled an edition of his highly successful USKBA-sanctioned amateur event there for November 18th. But since announcing his plans, he’s been assailed by threats of legal action – both from a Delaware martial arts instructor claiming discrimination and a rival promoter pretending to be something he’s not. Is there some sort of conspiracy underway to keep Hsu’s event out of the state?

"We want to use elbow [attacks] to the limbs – but it’s like they’re scared of us," says Allen Sachetti, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt and instructor in the Filipino art of Dumpag. "It’s like telling a Korean they can’t kick!" What is Dumpag? "Dumpag destroys the kickboxer and shuts down the grappler," Sachetti told FCF over the phone. "I teach an art that’s different than 90% of the things I’ve seen in MMA."

Sachetti’s bone of contention lies with the USKBA amateur rules, which prohibit the use of elbow strikes (as well as knees and kicks to the head, and strikes to the head while on the ground). "These rules were devised by kickboxers or grapplers who wanted to protect their art," he says, and in emails to Hsu stated: "The elbows in Dumpag are the glue that holds the art together. It is a fair analogy to compare it to wrestling and grabbing. You could not use any wrestling or jiu-jitsu technique if you were prohibited from [grabbing]." Adds Sachetti: "It is wrong to create rules that state an amateur is someone who can use knees to the body but not elbows to the body. These rules discriminate and exclude Filipino Dumpag from having equal access to compete in amateur tournaments."

How far is Sachetti willing to go with this? According to him, he’s willing to go to court under the claim that Filipinos are having their civil rights violated. "We have spoken to our attorney and we want to file charges in civil court if we are denied our rights to compete in one of your events in Delaware," said Sachetti in an email to Hsu. "We want to hear what the Delaware courts will say." He adds: "There are other arts besides Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai and if this question was examined by a Judge you might find yourself losing a courts decision. Either way it is an issue to be decided by the courts and that’s certainly where we will take it." (Author’s note: based on the extensive case law pertaining to civil rights issues, it’s highly unlikely Sachetti’s case would go far.)

At face value, it may seem that Sachetti might have some ulterior motive for his actions. He insists that’s not true. "I’ve been running MMA events since 1996 here, and I’ve never had anyone hurt in a fight." But, he adds, "I’m not a rival promoter… I just don’t want this disease in New Jersey to infect us here in Delaware, the disease being the rules that prohibit elbows."

As one of the people who helped iron out the USKBA’s amateur MMA rules, Nick Lembo, Chief Legal Counsel for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, has done a lot to help the sport grow in the Garden State. It’s no wonder he took great umbrage at Sachetti’s claims of discrimination. "I drafted these rules that are intended to be used in Delaware for amateur mixed martial arts," said Lembo in an email to Sachetti. "The limitations on elbows were made after consultation with many experts in the industry. It was a decision purely based on health and safety factors alone. In fact, many, if not most, professional MMA shows in the United States do not include the use of elbows. I don’t think it is discriminatory towards a particular ethic group, namely Filipinos. For certain, Thai, Brazilian and American raised fighters train routinely in the use of elbows. Why don’t you simply start your own organization that allows for elbows in the amateurs instead of attacking a legitimate promoter. In the alternative, fight on the promotions that do allow the use of elbows. Are you aware that the use of elbows increases the cost of medical insurance that a promoter must carry? GHK is certainly not biased toward Filipinos or anyone. I can’t count the number of different ethnic backgrounds that fighters on their shows have come from. It is somewhat insulting to make that type of allegation when they are simply following NJ developed rules and USKBA rules. Is it your argument that Filipinos cannot compete at the amateur level without the use of elbows? Every other ethnic group seems able to do so. We, in NJ, developed the professional MMA rules which include the use of elbows. Again, amateurs are restricted from using elbows because of the damage they can cause not because we intend to exclude Filipinos."

Lou Rosen doesn’t want the show to go on either, and in email correspondence with Hsu, made that very clear. "I work closely with the State Rep, there is no way this event is going to happen, it is too violent and [poses] too many problems. You must provide a valid Promoters license as well as info for the State of Delaware. We have not yet made the decision that we will approve of this in the State of Delaware!" Added Rosen: "We just closed down the event on November 3rd because we did not feel that the appropriate rules where being made… These events are more violent than Toughman boxing competitions and we feel that there has to be the proper rules taken so no one gets hurt…"

From his initial exchange with Hsu, one would think Rosen must work for the state in some official capacity. But he doesn’t. In fact, he was paired with promoter Damon Feldman on the ‘Xtreme Gladiators’ show – the very event that was slated for November 3rd – until it was cancelled. "Actually we where involved as the company’s safety coordinator," Rosen told Hsu when Hsu called him on his true role as a promoter. "But when they decided to do their own thing, we decided to do the same thing to their event on the 3rd. We recently founded SFMMA (‘Safety for MMA!’) that has been approved by the Delaware State as there is no commission there, and we will seek that this event does not go on unless the medicals are completed! It is promoters like you that have no concern for the competitors and end up destroying the sport. We are making it a point to make sure that this event is legal!" (Note: under USKBA amateur MMA rules, competitors must have written clearance by their personal physicians and undergo a pre-fight screening prior to stepping into the cage. The full medicals required of pros are not necessary.)

"We are not interested in any interviews as of now," Rosen told FCF when asked for his perspective. "We are trying to help Delaware understand the means of what MMA is [sic]." When told that Hsu was being interviewed for this piece, Rosen replied: "I am not familiar with him."

Why would Rosen want to keep Hsu’s amateur event – an event that usually has over a dozen bouts and over a thousand people in attendance – out of Delaware? In an email to Nick Lembo, Rosen revealed a possible motive. "… I was involved with MMA for years and I have been working on bringing a PPV event with one of the larger companies and these promoters with smaller amateur events could ruin the whole possibility if someone gets hurt. The other company, Xtreme Gladiators, was trying to do the same thing and they could not provide the credentials. I want to bring a show to Delaware on the higher level at one of the arenas."

"The first contact I had with Lou Rosen was in regards to Damon Feldman’s Xtreme Gladiators show," says Hsu. Rosen was listed as a contact for that event, and the two even spoke of cage rentals. But things took a drastic turn when Hsu announced his November 18th event. He remains, however, undaunted. "I have been told that Lou Rosen does not work or represent the State of Delaware in any way," says Hsu, who instead went to Jean Betley, from Delaware’s Division of Professional Regulation, for approval. "She does not know Lou Rosen and he does not work for them." And what of the SFMMA? "He is making up something that does not exist."

The State of Delaware is one of the handful of states that do not regulate mixed martial arts, yet they do allow the events to go on. To help educate them, Hsu has invited representatives from Delaware to attend his Voorhees, New Jersey show on November 11th, and has also invited the local police to attend his November 18th event. Threats of lawsuit notwithstanding, is everything a ‘go’ for his harried event?

Says Hsu: "Yes, the show is ‘go.’"

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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