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Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Courtesy of YAMMA Pit Fighting:

Mark Kerr and Ricco Rodriguez added to Fight Card for YAMMA Pit Fighting Inaugural event

Los Angeles, April 1, 2008 – Today YAMMA Pit Fighting (YPF), a new mixed martial arts (MMA) organization created by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) founder Bob Meyrowitz, announced details on the YPF surface called "The Yamma" and revealed the revised fight card for the organization’s first live pay-per-view event, which will air live from the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City on April 11, 2008. MMA veteran and two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion Mark Kerr will fight in the ’Masters Superfight’ against Oleg Taktarov. In addition, former UFC Heavyweight Champion and recent VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew participant Ricco "Suave" Rodriguez has been added to the eight-man heavyweight tournament. Tickets for the event can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Trump Taj Mahal Box Office. The live pay-per-view broadcast is available in the United States and Canada through In Demand Networks, TVN Entertainment, Bell ExpressVu, Viewer’s Choice Canada and Dish Network.

The YPF surface, known as "The Yamma," is an evolution of the traditional fighting structure and is designed to keep the fighting more explosive and continuous. In today’s MMA matches, fighters rush their opponents in the quest for a takedown, and the fight often ends up on the ground and pushed up against the fence. The action often stalls there, and must be stopped and moved back into the center of the ring. The Yamma’s design is specifically aimed at stopping this break in the action. The Yamma is a circular pit, shaped almost like a bowl, with a circular flat bottom that rises up around the edge. In this ring, if a fighter is pushed backwards towards the fence, he moves up the lip, gaining both a height and leverage advantage over his opponent. From this position, the fighter on the lip can use gravity and leverage to reverse his opponent, and take the fight back into the center without a break in the action.

"There has been a lot of speculation about the Yamma; some people thought it would have a moving floor, spikes or even live alligators," said Bob Meyrowitz, Rope Partners. "But the Yamma isn’t about flashy gimmicks; it’s about the evolution of a sport and how the traditional ring can be altered to accelerate that evolution. At its core, the purpose of the Yamma is to make MMA fighting more exciting for those who matter most - the fans."

"The Yamma’s design is all about function," said Scott Nagel, lead designer of the Yamma. "It works because of its sloped up edges and because there are no corners. If you are pushed back, you are pushed up – and what goes up is coming back down, probably in a way that causes the opponent a great deal of pain. It’s going to be much more exciting, much more continuous and have much more action."

Mark Kerr, a Toledo, OH native, got his start in wrestling, where he was a high school state champion. At Syracuse University, Kerr was the Division I champion at 190 pounds in 1992 - Randy Couture, wrestling for Oklahoma State University, took second place. Kerr soon got into MMA, and had four impressive wins in the UFC, in which he was a two time heavyweight tournament champion. He then began fighting in Pride Fighting Championships in 1998. In 2003, HBO aired a documentary titled "The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Mark Kerr." The program chronicled the no-holds barred aspect of mixed martial arts and Ken Shamrock, Bas Rutten and Mark Coleman also appeared in the film. Kerr won his last fight against Steve Gavin on November 7, 2007. He stands 6 ft 3 in tall and weighs 236 lbs and has a record of 13-06-0.

Ricco "Suave" Rodriguez, a UFC/Pride/King of the Cage veteran, was born in San Jose, California and raised in Staten Island, New York. Rodriguez may be best known for defeating MMA mega-legend Randy Couture in 2002 at UFC 39 to win the UFC heavyweight title. He subsequently lost the title to none other than powerhouse Tim Sylvia. Rodriguez recently appeared on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and made a commitment to sobriety and returning to the MMA scene. Since returning to MMA, he has competed in four fights, winning two by TKO and losing two by decision. Rodriguez stands 6 ft 4 in tall and weighs 250 lbs and has a record of 27-7-0.

For the first time in over a decade, MMA will return to its origins by reviving the hugely popular tournament format, in which fighters will participate in multiple fights on their way to claiming the ultimate victory, the title of YAMMA Heavyweight Champion. The format will test the endurance and skill of each fighter, as victory in each round is rewarded not with extended rest, but with another fight. Tournament fighting has long been a huge draw for dedicated MMA fans due to the non-stop action provided by fight-after-fight formatting.

The April 11th fight card is as follows:

MASTERS SUPERFIGHTS (Two Five-Minute Rounds)
Oleg "The Russian Bear" Taktarov VS. Mark Kerr

Butterbean VS. Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge

8 MAN HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT (One Five-Minute Round & Championship is Three Five-Minute Rounds)
Marcelo "Pato" Pereira
Sherman Pendergarst
Ricco "Suave" Rodriguez
Tony Sylvester
Chris Tuscherer
Travis "The Diesel" Wiuff
Alexey Oleynik
George Bush

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster’s extensive network of 81 ticket centers throughout the Delaware Valley including Boscov’s, Marshalls and select West Coast Video and Gallery of Sound locations or call Ticketmaster’s convenient Charge-by-Phone service at 1-800-736-1420. For Online Information: www.ticketmaster.com