Thursday, December 11, 2008

New MMA organization set to debut in Atlantic City next year

(The Phanatic Magazine) - The World Cagefighting Alliance is set to debut in Atlantic City early next year.

The first event for the group called "Pure Combat" is scheduled for Friday, February 6 at the Boardwalk Hall Ballroom.

The group plans to become an East Coast version of the highly successful San Jose-based Strikeforce promotion, according to Keith Evans, an MMA pioneer that is being used as a consultant by the group.

"I want to make it clear that we don't see ourselves as competition for UFC," Evans told me Thursday. "There are plenty of good fighters to go around and we have a chance to establish something special."

Evans, who spent five years helping orchestrate the re-branding and growth of the UFC and was one of the first employees of the International Fight League, also confirmed the WCFA would like to hold an event at the legendary Blue Horizon in North Philadelphia once MMA is sanctioned in Pennsylvania, something that is expected to happen in 2009.

The group also has a venue in New York, where MMA is also expected to become sanctioned in 2009, ready to go.

The inaugural WCFA event is scheduled to feature some of the best rising talent from the region.

The co-main event will feature a New Jersey flavor pitting welterweights Rich Ashkar (Team Oliveira) fighting out of Redbank, NJ against USKBA Champ Tom Gallicchio (Team Pellegrino) out of Toms River, NJ. That could change, however, as Evans indicated MMA veteran Phil Baroni is expected to sign with the group over the next 48 hours and be pitted against Gallicchio in the main event.

Two other bigger name signings are also imminent, according to Evans.

Baroni, a Long Island native, is a veteran of the Ultimate Fighting Championship as well as PRIDE and EliteXC has a career MMA record of 13-10. Best known for his electrifying ring entrances and knockout power, Baroni was knocked out by Joey Villasenor in the first ever live network television broadcast of MMA on CBS, emanating from Newark's Prudential Center.

Other matchups scheduled include Vineland, NJ standout and former Cage Fury Lightweight champ, Al Buck (Team Evolution) taking on Jose Rodriquez (Rhino Fight Team) out of Keansburg, NJ.

A pair of welterweight bouts include; Doug Gordon (Team Rush) from Maryland against Mike Medrano (Rhino Fight Team) from New Jersey and Brian Demuro (Team Balance) out of New Jersey will fight Cortland, NY's Eric Henry (Bombsquad MMA).

Meanwhile, featherweights Doug Solnier (Fight Firm / Fight Unit) of Philadelphia will fight Steve D'Angellis (Bombsquad MMA) of Tom’s River, NJ.

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