Don Frye connects with a right hand against Min Soo Kim in October 2006. Photo courtesy of Fight Entertainment Group.
YAMMA Pit Fighting, a new mixed martial arts (MMA) organization created by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) founder Bob Meyrowitz, has announced that their first matchup will pit Russia vs. U.S.A, as Oleg “The Russian Bear” Taktarov and Don “The Predator” Frye will go toe-to-toe in the organization’s first live pay-per-view event.
The event will air live from the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City on April 11, 2008. Tickets for the event will go on sale March 8, and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
This first matchup will witness two MMA legends battle in a totally new and unique arena. The veteran fighters will face off in one of the ‘Masters Superfights’, one-on-one matches that feature some of MMA’s most illustrious and legendary fighters.
In addition to the Superfights, the April 11th event will showcase the skill and endurance of eight fearsome competitors in a tournament match for the title of YAMMA Heavyweight Champion. Tournament fighters include: Marcelo “Pato” Pereira, Sherman Pendergarst, Rex Richards, Tony Sylvester, Chris Tuscherer and Travis “The Diesel” Wiuff.
“Don Frye needs to do only two things: fly to Russia and stay there for ten years to study Sambo. Then, maybe he’ll be ready,” said Oleg Taktarov about his upcoming face-off with Frye.
Jeff Blatnick will serve as a commentator for both the Heavyweight Tournament and “Masters Superfights.” Blatnick, a retired athlete and cancer survivor, has won ten national wrestling titles and various international awards. He was a member of both the 1980 and 1984 United States Olympic Teams, and is famous for his awe-inspiring underdog win at the 1984 Olympics, after having his spleen and appendix removed due to Hodgkin’s disease. This win made him only the second U. S. Greco-Roman wrestler in history to win a gold medal. Since retiring, Jeff has become a successful television sportscaster and has appeared as an expert analyst on NBC, ABC and ESPN.
Don “The Predator” Frye is an American professional mixed martial arts fighter, actor, and professional wrestler who has fought in UFC, PRIDE and K-1. Frye rose to fame fighting in early Ultimate Fighting Championship events, winning the UFC 8 and Ultimate Ultimate 2 tournaments. He is widely considered one of the first “cross trained” MMA fighters, having a background in multiple disciplines including: extensive collegiate wrestling, a 2nd degree black belt in Judo and a professional boxing record. Frye stands 6ft 1in and weighs 220lbs and has a MMA record of 19-6-1.
Sambo and Judo expert Oleg “The Russian Bear” Taktarov is a PRIDE, UFC and Bodog Fights veteran known for calmness during battle and acrobatic takedowns. Taktarov’s MMA record is 13-5-2 and he has never been submitted in a MMA match. He stands 6ft tall and weighs 220lb and recently returned to the MMA ring, winning a decisive victory over challenger John Marsh in November 2007.
YAMMA Pit Fighting will return to the popular origins of MMA by reviving the tournament format, in which fighters will participate in multiple fights on their way to claiming the ultimate YAMMA victory, the title of YAMMA Heavyweight Champion. This format will push fighters to the limits of skill and endurance, as victory in each round is rewarded not with extended rest, but with another fight. Some of MMA’s newest and best emerging fighters will be featured in the Heavyweight Tournament fight card and will include:
· Marcelo “Pato” Pereira - a multiple world and Brazil BJJ champion known for this strong chin and very heavy hands with an MMA record of 5-0-0
· Sherman Pendergarst - a 6?1 230 pound former Collegiate wrestler and State High School wrestling champion with a background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing and Kick boxing with an MMA record of 10-8-0
· Rex Richards – a former lineman for the Indianapolis Colts and Machado BJJ brown belt. Richards is a veteran of Strike Force and Art of War with a professional mixed martial arts record of 4-1-0
· Tony Sylvester – a boxing/wrestling expert who is considered to be one of the top up-and-coming heavyweights in the nation with a MMA record of 10-1-0
· Travis “The Diesel” Wiuff - a UFC, Pride and IFL veteran, and current IFO World Champion with a Mixed Martial Arts record of 47-11-0. He is known for his well rounded fighting style with vicious elbows on the ground
The additional three tournament fighters will be announced in the coming weeks.