UNDEFEATED HEAVYWEIGHTS BRETT ROGERS AND ABONGO HUMPHREY TO BATTLE APRIL 11
Bout Finalizes Fight Card for Strikeforce: “Shamrock vs. Diaz”;
Live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT)
From the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
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
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®.