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Saturday, Jun 12, 2004

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Is The Contender Among Us?
Pete Spratt Takes a Crack at NBC’s Reality TV Boxing Show
By Loretta Hunt

Sylvester Stallone and Mark Burnett at 'The Contender' Press Conference
Sylvester Stallone & Mark Burnett
at ‘The Contender’ Press Conference

After a four-month coast-to-coast casting search, NBC has completed the first round of its efforts to find American boxing’s next great champion. Expected to hit the small screen early next year, The Contender will document the training trials of sixteen up-and-comer pugilists duking it out for a one million dollar purse. With Mark Burnett Productions at the helm, the company responsible for such runaway reality TV hits likes Survivor and The Apprentice, thousands got their chance to strut their stuff, with some MMA fighters among them. Co-executive producer Bruce Beresford-Redman estimates about 10% of the hopefuls who auditioned have been pure mixed martial artists. "We’ve seen a number," says Beresford. "We’ve seen a lot of kickboxers, we’ve seen a lot of ultimate fighting types. We’ve seen a couple of guys that did pankration."

UFC welterweight veteran Pete Spratt made the forty-five minute drive to the Dallas sessions, completing an arduous multi-step process of sparring, interviews, and medical examinations. "Really, the main thing that made me pursue this is because there’s so much talk about who’s the best fighters in the world, whether it’s boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai," says Spratt. "I just want to go in to prove that mixed martial artists can go into other sports and be dominant and be successful as well." Spratt was positive of his experience with casting directors, and awaits word if he will be among the sixty semi-finalists to be flown out to Los Angeles in July for the next round and another battery of tests.

Popular boxing personalities Sylvester Stallone and "Sugar" Ray Leonard have been enlisted as on-camera mentors to the sweet sixteen that will be whittled down from this larger group. All sixteen finalists will represent one weight class that has yet to be determined.

To find out The Contender‘s take on MMA, as well as how other mixed martial artists fared through auditions, check out the full story in this month’s issue of FCF.

Pete Spratt kicking an airborn Robbie Lawler at UFC 42
Waaaay to close:
Spratt kicking an airborn Lawler at UFC 42

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From the event’s promoter:

Minnesota’s "Elite 3"
Deliver Damage in Extreme 58

June 26 at Playoff Sports Club

      MEDINA, Minn. — Sean Sherk and Travis Wiuff used bursts of power, while Dave Menne a steady, longer attack. In the end, the top three fighters in Minnesota were all impressive winners at Extreme Challenge 58 Friday at the Medina Entertainment Center.
      However, the story of the night was more how the "vistors" performed against the fan favorites.
      "We brought in five guys from around the country and put them up against top quality guys," said promoter Monte Cox. "And, they responded with two wins, a decision loss and two game efforts… I couldn’t have asked for more."

  • Shannon Ritch of Phoenix shocked the crowd with an arm-bar victory over Daryl Guthmiller, who entered the bout with a 14-2 record.
  • Melvin Guillard of New Orleans turned a tight match into a second-round TKO win over a tough Richie Miller.
  • Todd Carney of Pittsburgh took all the punishment Menne could deliver and was still trying for a knockout as the 15-minute bout ended.
  • Gerald Strebendt of North Bend, Ore., took the fight with Sherk on 3 days notice, spend almost a day travelling (plane trouble) and hung in close until a burst of punches from the top ended the bout at the 4-minute mark.
  • John Dixson of Biloxi, Miss., suffered a cut against Wiuff, then argued… successfully… with the doctor to allow the fight to continue before more punishment forced the doctor to halt the bout.

      "There isn’t one of those guys I wouldn’t invite back in a heartbeat," Cox added. "I think a lot of fans are so used to out-of-town fighters just being opponents… it’s awesome to see them come and compete like this."
      In another oddsmaker shocker, Mike Whitehead made short work of Karl Knothe, winning by neck crank in the first round. Whitehead entered the bout with a 1-3 record, while Knothe was 19-0 fighting in smaller shows.


  • Ted Worthington def. Chad Sutton, ref stoppage due to strikes, 1:36 Rd. 2 (4:36).
  • Ryan Antle def. Cliff Sanders, TKO ref stoppage, 2:11 Rd. 1.
  • Melvin Guillard def. Richie Miller, TKO ref stoppage, 2:07 Rd. 2 (7:07).
  • Alex Ross def. Jared Pautsch, KO, 2:36 Rd. 1.
  • Travis Wiuff def. John Dixson, TKO due to cut, 2:23 Rd. 1.
  • Shannon Ritch def. Daryl Guthmiller, arm-bar, 1:36 Rd. 1.
  • Mike Whitehead def. Karl Knothe, neck crank, 1:17 Rd. 1.
  • Dave Menne def. Todd Carney, unanimous decision, 5:00 Rd. 3 (15:00).
  • Sean Sherk def. Gerald Strebendt, ref stoppage due to strikes, 3:52 Rd. 1.

From the event’s promoter:

RITC 63 – Results (Wow!!)
4 Knockouts
Moss, Homer, Varner named Fighters of the Night

RITC 63 was a knockout show both figuratively and literally. A packed Dodge Theater crowd enjoyed 4 exciting knockouts. In the featured Main Event, 39-year-old Rich Moss ended the evening with a vicious KO over physical specimen Doug Berude. Homer Moore, with UFC bound Joe Riggs in his corner, unveiled new striking skills against powerful Tim McMullen. Homer unleashed devastating punches to earn the KO victory. Rising star Jamie Varner displayed impressive skills against a very tough opponent for a submission victory. These hard fought wins earned this trio Fighter of the Night (FOTN) honors. Other candidates for FOTN were: Troy Tolbert, Steve McDonald, Roy Sawyer, Steve Castillo, Gabe Rivas, Brodie Farber and Shuji Yamauchi.


Troy Tolbert (138), Leininger Dojo
won by submission (strikes), 2:37 Rd 2
Brandon Oliver (137), Team Brausa

Steve McDonald (159), Ultima
won by KO, 1:05 Rd 1
Jason Dehart (160), Team Brausa

Roy Sawyer (168), Leininger Dojo
won by submission (arm bar), 1:31 Rd 2
Bob Calnin (178), Team Brausa

Steve Castillo (226), AZ Jiu-Jitsu
won by submission (strikes), :52 Rd 1
Mike McIntyre (226), City Boxing

Gabe Rivas (170), Pinal Martial Arts/AZ Jiu-Jitsu
won by KO, 1:25 Rd 1
Mike Ptak (175), Team Brausa

Brodie Farber (179), San Diego Black Tiger
won by ref stoppage (strikes), 1:47 Rd 1
Robert Maldonado (185), Tucson BJJ

Jamie Varner (170), ACS
won by submission (choke), 1:47 Rd 1
Kyle Sprouse (158), Savage Te Dawg Pound

Main Events

Homer Moore (210), Team Brausa
won by KO, 2:01 Rd 1
Tim McMullen (234), Team Dunamis

Shuji Yamauchi (154), San Diego Black Tiger
won by decision (2-1)
Nike Knight (143), Ultima

Rich Moss (198), Team Brausa
won by KO, 1:46 Rd 1
Doug Berude (190), Team Dunamis

Upcoming event:
RITC 64 – Heart & Soul
July TBD, 2004
Dodge Theater

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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