BattleGrounds MMA, the upstart Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion headed by Olympic wrestling legend Kenny Monday, announced today that it has signed the first six competitors for O.N.E., its highly-anticipated, one-night, eight-man welterweight (170 pounds) tournament that will award the winner a grand prize of $50,000 on Friday, June 27 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Tickets for the event, which will feature eight professional bouts in addition to the single-elimination tournament, are priced from $65, and can be purchased online at www.bokcenter.com as well as at Arby’s Box Office at the BOK Center, all ticket outlets, or by calling 1-800-7-BOKCTR.
All-time great Dennis “Superman” Hallman (53-14-2, 1 NC) of Yelm, Wash. will lead the charge into the star-studded playoff and be joined by fellow submission ace Cody “AK Kid” McKenzie (15-4) of Spokane, Wash.; undefeated prospect and former NCAA National Wrestling Championship runner-upChris Honeycutt (4-0) of Fresno, Calif.; battle-tested Luigi “The Italian Tank” Fioravanti (24-11) of St. Louis, Mo.; Urijah Faber protégé David “Bulletproof” Mitchell (14-4) of Lower Lake, Calif. andJosh “The Beast” Bryant (14-4) of Broken Arrow, Okla.
“We are excited to have assembled a group of incredibly talented and accomplished athletes for this landmark tournament,” said BattleGrounds MMA President and three-time U.S. Olympic wrestlerMonday, who captured the gold medal in freestyle wrestling in 1988 and, before that, earned three-time All-American honors competing for Oklahoma State University .
“The one-night tournament,” continued Monday, “is truly the toughest test physically and mentally in all of combative sports, and BattleGrounds MMA is proud to bring this format back to life and usher in a new era of elite competition in the world’s fastest growing sport.”
The final two tournament participants as well as the remainder of the fight card will be announced soon. A lottery draw to determine the tournament’s matchups will be held after weigh-ins on Thursday, June 26.
Dennis “Superman” Hallman
Riding a three-fight win streak, the 38-year-old, 5-foot-10 Hallman has provided the MMA world with some truly memorable moments over the course of his decorated 18-year professional career that includes an astounding 41 of his 53 career victories by way of submission. Amongst those on his list of conquests are Karo Parisyan, Ben Saunders, John Makdessi and UFC Hall of Fame legend Matt Hughes, whom Hallman tapped out twice, in a combined 37 seconds.
Cody “AK Kid” McKenzie
After a run at both featherweight (145 pounds) and lightweight (155 pounds), the 6-foot, 26-year-old McKenzie will campaign at welterweight in an effort to make his biggest mark in the sport to date. The inventor of a modified guillotine choke dubbed “The McKenzietine,” the Alaskan-born Gracie Jiu-Jitsu stylist has utilized the submission hold to stop opponents in 11 of his 15 career victories. Only two other fighters, both of whom have more than 50 career bouts under their belts, have recorded more wins by way of guillotine choke than McKenzie.
Touted as “the most decorated and high-profile collegiate wrestler” to enter the fiercely competitive world of MMA by SB Nation’s MMAFighting.com, the 5-foot-10, 25-year-old Honeycutt finished as runner-up in the 2012 NCAA national wrestling championships while representing collegiate wrestling powerhouse Edinboro University, the alma mater of his mentor, Josh Koscheck. A fiercely competitive wrestler since his early adolescent years, Honeycutt elected to not wrestle for his school squad in eighth grade because of greater opportunities he received competing for three different independent, local squads that guaranteed him 50 matches in a span of four months.
Since making his pro MMA debut in Jan. 2013, Honeycutt has finished 3 of his 4 opponents inside of the first round of action.
Luigi “The Italian Tank” Fioravanti
Fioravanti, who was nicknamed by his boxing coach for his rugged, straightforward style of fighting, has made his mark in the sport over the course of dozens of wars and will look to extend his streak of back-to-back wins that he notched by way of first round submission (rear-naked choke) and third round TKO (retirement) of Edwin Aguilar and Joshua Thorpe, respectively. The 33-year-old, 5-foot-8 Fioravanti is a former Marine who was a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
David “Bulletproof” Mitchell
Another submission savvy scrapper, the 34-year-old, 5-foot-10 Mitchell scored a big victory for Faber’s Team Alpha Male in his last start, forcing 53-fight veteran Jaime Jara to tap out from a rear-naked choke in the first round (4:15) of their April 26th matchup in Sacramento, Calif. The win was Mitchell’s second straight.
Mitchell grew up in small-town Laytonville, Calif. where he was amongst just 25 students in his high school graduating class, but was nevertheless a victim of bullying at the hands of peers on the 500 acre ranch that he grew up on. He has since channeled the resulting anger and trauma from his childhood towards the cage as well as to an anti-bully crusade, “Knockout Bullying,” that sees him offering support and guidance to California youth who are being victimized by their classmates.
Josh “The Beast” Bryant
The 34-year-old Bryant enters the tournament as the local fan favorite and will look to turn around his recent career downslide in his BattleGrounds MMA debut. The 6-foot, 34-year-old, Bryant, trained byChuck Liddell on The Ultimate Fighter, burst onto the Okla. fight scene in 2007, going on a perfect 10-0 run, with 6 of those victories coming by way of (T)KO or submission.
Outside of the cage, Bryant moonlights as a radio personality, co-hosting Tulsa’s top-rated Big Bad Morning Show on KMOD 97.5 FM rock music radio every Friday.
Doors at BOK Center open at 6 p.m. CST on June 27. The first preliminary bout will begin at 7:15 p.m.