XFC Brings First Ever Pro MMA Fight Card To Knoxville 2/20

Scott Pinkster sent along the following:

Knoxville, TN: For the first time in Tennessee sports history, the state’s Athletic Commission has approved a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight card. XFC, the Southeast’s largest independent MMA promotion and the company dedicated to launching the careers of the champions of tomorrow, is pleased to announce that XFC 7: “School of Hard Knox” will be held on Friday, February 20 in Knoxville, Tennessee’s 21 thousand-capacity Thompson-Boling Arena. This will be the first-ever professional MMA event sanctioned anywhere in Tennessee.

“Rarely can a fight card be considered historic even before the first bell chimes,” said John Prisco, president of XFC, “but February 20 will signal a brand new era in Tennessee Mixed Martial Arts. And I’m so ecstatic that we’ll be able to offer Tennessee sports fans a night of outstanding cage fights that’s truly worthy of the historic moment. We’re going to be showcasing some of the greatest emerging talent in the entire world of MMA — and the next generation of superstars.”

In the main event, undefeated heavyweights collide when 22-year-old, 250 pound Chad Corvin (4-0) battles 25-year-old, 265-pound Scott “The Bear” Barrett (6-0) of Atlanta, Georgia. In his last fight, Corvin stunned the MMA industry by knocking out South African heavyweight champion Rico Hattingh (11-2) in just 19 seconds at XFC 6: “Clash of the Continents,” shattering Hattingh’s nose in four places; none of Corvin’s first four opponents have survived the first round. Chad Corvin, a native of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, hopes another spectacular knockout will put him on the fast track to superstardom. “Me and Scott Barrett have known about each other for a long time,” said Corvin. “We’ve sort of been the two biggest and most feared kids in the schoolyard, always eyeing each other from afar. It was inevitable that we’d eventually collide. Now let’s find out who’s really the best young heavyweight in the game — him or me.”

Scott Barrett, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai expert, echoed Corvin’s sentiments: “I respect Chad Corvin, but this isn’t about respect. This is about establishing once and for all who the next great American heavyweight is gonna be. I say it’s me and Chad says it’s him. On February 20, one of us will be proven to be a liar. All I gotta say is, I don’t lie.”

On the undercard, Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter 6” star Dan Barrera (2-1) will face undefeated Robert “Iron Man” Thompson (5-0) of Macon, Georgia. Barrera, a six-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a professional fireman, lost by decision to Ben Saunders in the finale of “The Ultimate Fighter 6” in December of 2007. He’s undefeated since that lone setback and looking to regain his lost momentum. “This is my big opportunity to remind the world just how good I can be — and that I’m a legitimate prospect with championship potential,” said Barrera. “With me and Thompson in that cage, you’re gonna see some fireworks in Knoxville, I promise you that.”

Four-time female world boxing champion Chevelle “Fists of Steel” Hallback will also compete at XFC 7, continuing her quest to be the first female fighter to win five combined world titles in boxing and in MMA. Hallback, winner of the IBA, IFBA, WIBA and WBAN world boxing championships — as well as a playable character in the EA Sports “Knockout Kings” video game franchise — successfully launched her new career in MMA by annihilating ex-EliteXC fighter Melissa Vasquez in just 41 seconds in December of 2008. “MMA is my game now — and within half-a-year, I want everyone to recognize that there’s a new superstar in the female division,” said Hallback. “I’m still learning, but I’ve been fighting my whole life. And when all is said and done, there won’t be a woman on this planet who can survive my speed, rage and power. They’re all going down.”

Former University of Tennessee outside linebacker and defensive end Ovince St. Preux represented the Volunteers on the gridiron from 2004 – 2006, and he’s now pursuing a new career in the steel cage. The Knoxville native will face light heavyweight slugger CT “Louisville Hulk” Turner (5-1) formerly of Louisville, Kentucky, but now fighting out of Tampa, Florida. “I’m thrilled to be competing in front of the home crowd one more time,” said St. Preux. “I loved football, but I’ve always been a fighter at heart. I was a statewide wrestling champion in high school, and I can’t wait to show everyone in my hometown of Knoxville how far my game has come. I dedicate this fight — and my eventual victory — to all of Volunteer Nation!”

CT Turner responded simply: “St. Preux will need more than the crowd to keep me off his [expletive]. I’m gonna destroy him like the Florida Gators destroyed Tennessee in football.”

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