Extreme Challenge MMA coming to Horseshoe
Extreme Challenge Mixed Martial Arts, the Midwest’s oldest and longest-running MMA promotion, will hold its first event at Horseshoe Casino Southern Indiana on Friday, Nov. 21.
The fight card will pit many Indiana fighters against Kentucky fighters and will bring top competitors from Cincinnati, Detroit and Chicago. Also on hand will be former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champion Rich (Ace) Franklin as a special guest of the casino. Franklin is one of the more successful and well-known fighters in the UFC, the sport’s highest level.
‘We’re very excited about this show,’ Extreme Challenge owner and legendary manager Monte Cox said. ‘There’s good talent in this area, and we’ve tapped into some of the best of it. Having Rich be our special guest just adds to the event. It doesn’t get much bigger in this sport than Rich Franklin.’
Cox and his numerous MMA offshoots have promoted nearly 500 events in the past 12 years. He also manages some of the biggest names in the sport, and Extreme Challenge has launched the careers of seven UFC champions, more than any other MMA organization in America. Those names include Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver, Tim Sylvia, Sean Sherk, Pat Miletich, Dan Severn and Franklin.
The main event at Extreme Challenge 111 will match Cincinnati’s Kerry Schall against Omaha’s Justin Grizzard. The fight will be for the Extreme Challenge heavyweight title. Schall has fought in the UFC and appeared on Spike TV’s reality show ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’
Grizzard, an up-and-comer in the sport, is known for his well-rounded fighting style and heavy hands.
‘Grizzard is always fun to watch because he can take the action many places,’ matchmaker Dan Lardy said. ‘And, with Kerry, you have a pro’s pro. He’s fought the best in the world and brings a lot of experience and talent into the cage.’
Other UFC veterans highlight the card, including Kentucky native Joe Jordan and Cincinnati’s Josh Rafferty, also a veteran of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ Rafferty will face off against Rodney Sleepers of Indianapolis.
‘This will be a fight full of action,’ Lardy said. ‘Both guys like to stand, and Rafferty’s leg strikes are explosive. Sleepers comes from a good gym and never backs down. It’s a fight fans will want to see.’
Also participating are mixed martial artists from the Eclectic fight team out of Southern Indiana, Lexington’s Four Seasons gym (Stoney Dennis), hometown Elizabeth’s mixed martial arts academy as well as Motor City Boxing in Detroit.
MMA is the fastest-growing sport in the United States and globally, too. In the United States, it outdraws baseball and basketball among younger fans and, according to the Los Angeles Times, will be the third most-watched sport in the U.S. in 2010, behind the NFL and NASCAR.
‘This is a great opportunity for the curious fan to come out and see what all the buzz is about,’ Cox said. ‘This is an exciting, fast-paced sport.’
About the Eclectic fight team
The Eclectic fight team is based out of New Albany and coached by Craig Pumphrey and Ivan Dale. The team will feature North Harrison graduate Mike Craycraft, Josh Lee, Bart Page and Logan Hedrick.
On Friday night, Nov. 21, Bart Page will make his professional debut at 145 pounds against Chris Griffen, who is based out of Louisville and currently has 25 MMA fights.
Josh Lee is also making his professional debut, fighting Brandon Bishop at 155 pounds. Bishop is based out of Louisville.
Logan Hedrick will face Rich Lictawa in an amateur bout at 185 pounds. Hedrick is coming off an impressive win in his last fight and will attempt to improve his win record against a tough opponent who is the current Midwest MMA Middleweight Amateur title holder.
At 170 pounds, Mike Craycraft is facing Dom O’Grady, who is currently a top contender for the Extreme Challenge professional title. Craycraft is looking for title contention. O’Grady is a former title holder for the International Combat Event organization.
Ticket prices for the event are $30 to 40. The event will take place in the Showroom. The event is for persons 21 or older.