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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bellator Brings MMA World Middleweight Semi-Finals To Louisiana

-- Bellator Fighting Championships

Monroe Civic Center to Host Bellator IX Mixed Martial Arts Middleweight World Championship Semi-Final Bouts

Los Angeles, Calif., May 27, 2009 -- Bellator Fighting Championships announced that the promotion will continue its 12 week, nationwide world championship series with its ninth event, Bellator IX, taking place at the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, Louisiana on May 29, 2009. After his stunning uppercut knockout at Bellator III, Cuban Olympian Hector "Shango" Lombard returns to Middleweight tournament action to compete against Army Ranger Damien Stelly, who is coming off a spectacular victory of veteran Alex "El Toro" Andrade.

Also competing for the $50,000 prize and the chance to appear in the Bellator Middleweight world championships is undefeated Oklahoma wrestling phenom Jared Hess taking on the veteran slayer Yosmany Cabezas. Both fighters returning from upset victories, Hess defeated Spanish superstar Daniel Tabera and Cabezas eliminated Mexican legend Edwin Aguilar. The two winners from the Middleweight semi-finals at Bellator IX at the Monroe Civic Center on May 29, 2009, airing exclusively on ESPN Deportes on Saturday, May 30, will compete in the Bellator Middleweight world championships finals in June.

"The stunning first round of the middleweight tournament generated three upset victories with MMA veterans losing to spectacular new talents to the sport, demonstrating how unpredictable our tournament format can be," said Bellator Fighting Championships CEO Bjorn Rebney. "We could not be more pleased to be bringing our nationally and internationally televised series featuring our biggest and most powerful competitors to Monroe and the magical state of Louisiana."

Bellator IX at the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, Louisiana will feature two middleweight tournament bouts with Hector Lombard vs. Damien Stelly and Jared Hess vs. Yosmany Cabezas. The winners will receive $50,000 and advance to the first ever Bellator Middleweight world championship finals and compete for the $100,000 reward. In addition to the tournament will be undercard fights featuring undefeated Nick Ring taking on veteran Isidro "Chilo" Gonzalez and Ultimate Fighter participant Noah Thomas taking on Canadian standout Ben Greer.

The event will take place live at the Monroe Civic Center on May 29 and air exclusively on The Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN Deportes, May 30.

Tickets will go on sale Friday, May 15th at 10:00 a.m. CST and will be available from the Monroe Civic Center Box Office and at all Ticketmaster outlets. For Ticketmaster tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets will be $15 for general admission, and $25 and $40 for seats. For more information, call the Monroe Civic Center Box office at 318-329-2338.

Middleweight World Championship Semi-Final Bouts:
185 lbs. - Hector Lombard (19-2-1) vs. Damien Stelly (10-2)
185 lbs. - Jared Hess (7-0-1) vs. Yosmany Cabezas (8-1)

Non-tournament Bouts:
185 lbs. - Nick Ring (7-0) vs. Chilo Gonzalez (12-11)
185 lbs. - Dan Keenan (Pro Debut) vs. Chad Leonhardt (2-0)
145 lbs. - Shad Lierley (4-2) vs. Nate Murdock (5-3)
HWT - Jaime McKinney (3-3) vs. Shawn Jordan (0-0)
155 lbs. - Mikey Braswell (0-1) vs. Chas Skelly (0-1)
185 lbs. - Alex Andrade (8-5) vs. Christian Fulgram (0-0)

For more information about Bellator Fighting Championships, visit www.bellator.com. For the Spanish language version of the website, visit Espanol.Bellator.com. Please contact your local cable provider to learn more about viewing Bellator Fighting Championships on ESPN Deportes.

About Bellator Fighting Championships

Bellator Fighting Championships is a Mixed Martial Arts promotional company with offices in Los Angeles and Chicago. Bellator's founders, Bjorn Rebney and Brad Epstein, are experienced fighting sports and entertainment professionals with a deep commitment to the purity and integrity of the sport of MMA and its athletes. Bellator
Fighting Championships' executive team is comprised of top industry professionals in the areas of live event production (including Rob Beiner, winner of 12 Emmy awards for sports programming), fighter relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations.