Photo by Jon Swenson.
HDNet Fights announced today that it is partnering with Strikeforce to present four mixed martial arts events in 2008. The first of these events will be “HDNet Fights Presents: Strikeforce at the Dome” Live from the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, Saturday, February 23 at 10:30 p.m. ET. This live exclusive coverage will only be available on HDNet.
“We’re excited about this new deal with Strikeforce as they are such a well respected MMA organization,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “This announcement reinforces our commitment to deliver a minimum of 24 events in 2008 and the partnership between HDNet Fights and Strikeforce guarantees many great match-ups for MMA fans.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to showcase our brand of mixed martial arts on HDNet,” said Scott Coker, President of Strikeforce. “HDNet delivers television content to viewers in the highest quality format possible and Strikeforce has worked diligently to produce the finest, world-class fights for mixed martial arts fans. Together, the two entities will be able to deliver a superior product.”
The evening’s main event features former University of Washington football standout and NFL lineman turned martial arts fighting sensation, Bob “The Beast” Sapp (8-2-1) meeting 6’11” K-1 kickboxing star and undefeated professional boxer Jan “The Giant” Nortje (25-17).
At 6 feet 4 inches tall and 375 lbs, the 33-year-old Sapp was recruited in 2002 and 2003 Pride Fighting Championship and K-1, respectively. His astonishing size and strength, which he has used to defeat some of the most seasoned martial arts combatants, including five-time K-1 World Champion, “Mr. Perfect” Ernesto Hoost, helped catapult Sapp to the forefront of pop culture in Japan and earned him starring roles in over 200 television commercials there as well as dozens of endorsement deals for a wide array of Japanese consumer products ranging from bento boxes to ice cream.
Most recently, Sapp has been courted by the world of Hollywood including two appearances on the silver screen – the first in the comic book adaptation of Elektra, and, the second, playing a supporting role in the Adam Sandler re-make of Burt Reynolds’s football comedy, The Longest Yard.
Nortje is coming off a second round TKO victory over Dong Wook Kim. That match-up took place before over 17,000 fans at Japan’s Yokohama Arena on K-1’s “World GP 2007 Final” on December 8.
The evening’s event will also feature a heavyweight contest pitting former UFC Heavyweight Champion and K-1 North America king, Maurice “Big Mo” Smith (73-20-4), against fellow legend and six-time world kickboxing champion, Rick “The Jet” Roufus (57-7).
And, in a classic clash of styles, World Muay Thai Champion, Duane “Bang” Ludwig (16-7), will be challenged by the ground fighting expertise of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace, Steve “The Red Nosed Pit Bull” Berger (20-17-2), in a 170 lb. limit match-up.
Also, fans will see Hard-hitting Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (13-2) taking on former NCAA National Boxing Champion turned Matt Lindland protégé, “Diamond” Ryan Healy (9-2-1), in a 160 lb. limit catch weight mixed martial arts battle