New York (March 27, 2009)-Heavyweight mixed martial arts (MMA) forces, Brett “The Grim” Rogers (8-0) and “Abongo” Humphrey (12-0) will put their unbeaten records on the line when they face off on the live SHOWTIME televised portion of Strikeforce’s “Shamrock vs. Diaz” mega-fight card at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on Saturday, April 11.
“I feel like a new and improved person who’s not just in the sport to be in the sport. I’m in this to take it all the way,” said the 28 year-old Rogers, a 6-foot 5-inch, 265 pound human weapon, whose aggressive, unforgiving style of cage combat has ended each of his eight fights in the first round.
“There’s certain things in that first minute of the fight that people do and they do the same thing in every fight. The last couple of fights, I knew what my opponent was going to do and I just waited for him to do it,” explained Rogers of his calculated approach. “For the most part, I try to be as smart a fighter as I can.”
The majority of fans are familiar with Rogers ‘s kickboxing and Jiu-Jitsu skills, but what they have not yet seen put into play by the Minneapolis native is his background in Wing Chun, a Chinese martial art known for its aggressive striking techniques in close quarter combat.
“The way I see it, I just got to get to the point where I feel comfortable enough to use it,” said Rogers of his Wing Chun skill set. “I don’t know if I’m going to use it this time around but, once I do, it’s gonna be on.”
Humphrey, who hails from Atlanta, Ga., introduced himself to a national audience last year as a contestant on BET’s MMA reality series “Iron Ring” where he was a member of a fight team coached by MMA star, “Mr. International” Shonie Carter, and managed by hip-hop artist and producer Lil’ Jon.
“Some people are under the impression that most of the fighters on the show were push overs, but I fought and defeated some pretty well-known contenders,” said the 31-year-old Humphrey, who stands 5-11 and weighs approximately 245 pounds.
Amongst the fighters Humphrey defeated during his stint on “Iron Ring” were former K-1 USA contender, Jeff “Big Diesel” Ford, and Carlos Moreno, who Humphrey knocked out with a head kick.
“I move more like a 205-pounder than I do a 245. I bring a lot of athleticism and skill into the cage,” Humphrey asserted.
While his birth name is “Ronald,” Humphrey prefers to be addressed as “Abongo,” the name of an African warrior spirit believed to protect a village located in The Republic of Ghana. The moniker was bestowed upon him two and a half years ago after he endured a series of mentally and physically grueling tasks during a rites of passage trip to Africa .
Humphrey’s experience there inspired him to establish a non-profit organization that allows him to introduce other African-Americans to their heritage by bringing them to Africa .
“There’s certain things that are lacking in the black community here and one of them has to do with cultural identity,” explained Humphrey. “Fighting and doing the community work in Africa is something that really drives me and motivates me in life.”
The “Shamrock vs. Diaz” event represents the dawn of a new age for Strikeforce as it will be the first one under the world championship MMA promotion’s new television agreement with Showtime Networks Inc . The live telecast will feature five fights including a thrilling main event between four-time world champion and MMA legend Frank Shamrock (24-9-1) and fellow knockout artist Nick Diaz (18-7, 1 NC), contested at a catch weight of 179 pounds.
Strikeforce World Lightweight Champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson (16-2) and superstar “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (14-2) will revisit their classic five-round battle when they collide in a rematch for the coveted 155-pound title.
Middleweight (185-pound limit) sluggers Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith (16-5, 1 NC) and Benji “Razor” Radach (19-4) will also meet in a featured contest.
Women’s MMA power houses, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (6-1) and Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano (14-5) will slug it out in a 145-pound showdown.
Strikeforce “Shamrock vs. Diaz” will air live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) on Saturday, April 11.
Tickets for “Shamrock vs. Diaz,” priced from $30, are available for purchase 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 Strikeforce’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).
Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose ‘s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.” In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of Strikeforce, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose .
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 2, SHOWTIME SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME, SHOWTIME BEYOND, SHOWTIME NEXT, SHOWTIME WOMEN, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE and THE MOVIE CHANNEL XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV.