SHAMROCK vs. GRACIE; TWO OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN MMA TO SQUARE OFF FEBRUARY 10 IN FIRST-EVER EliteXC EVENT
LOS ANGELES (December 14, 2006) � Frank Shamrock is regarded by many to be the first true mixed martial artist in combat sports. Renzo Gracie is a prominent member of the most famous family in martial arts. Now, these two legends will square off in the first ever EliteXC event, to be televised live on SHOWTIME, February 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on the West Coast).
Shamrock vs. Gracie will make history as they usher in the next generation of mixed martial arts with EliteXC and MMA airs live for the first time on premium television. But to Shamrock and Gracie, these are not principal motivations. They have family matters to settle.
The Shamrock-Gracie family duel dates back to 1994 when Royce Gracie, Renzo's cousin, defeated Shamrock's brother Ken. One year later, Royce and Ken fought to a draw in the rematch.
Eleven years later, in March 2006, Frank Shamrock knocked out Cesar Gracie, another of Renzo's cousins, in the first round.
Now, Renzo has a chance to clear his family name with a definitive win over Shamrock on February 10.
"This is one of the biggest fights you could ask for," said former world wrestler and global superstar Bill Goldberg, who will serve as color analyst on the SHOWTIME telecasts. "I think having these two legends go at it for the inaugural event is huge. Shamrock and Gracie put this sport on the map. Now they are going to put EliteXC on the map. I can't wait for February 10th."
Shamrock, 34, of Santa Jose, Calif., has been looking for the right opportunity to make a noteworthy comeback in the sport. The five-time defending middleweight champion semi-retired from competition after defeating Tito Ortiz by submission in 1999 and has returned for just three fights since including the Gracie KO.
"I am as passionate as ever about being in the cage," said Shamrock. "In 1999, I began pursuing a career in Hollywood and had some great success. Now, having the chance to finally settle the score with the Gracie family, I can't think of a better way to make a big comeback."
Shamrock was the first fighter to successfully incorporate wrestling, jiu-jitsu and kickboxing into one fluid art form. His style of blending the best techniques from multiple disciplines revolutionized the sport and has made him one of the preeminent combatants ever to enter the cage.
In his 13-year career, Shamrock has a record of 21 wins, seven losses and one draw and has not lost a fight since a split decision loss to John Lober in 1997. He feels a bout against Renzo Gracie, and with EliteXC on SHOWTIME, is the ideal opportunity to cement his legacy as one of the world's best middleweights.
"I am the complete package," said Shamrock. "I can strike with anyone, I have excellent submission skills and come February 10, another Gracie is going to feel my wrath." Gracie, who was recently featured on CBS's 60 Minutes, is representing the first family of MMA. The Gracie's introduced the world to Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the outset of the MMA phenomenon. Renzo is known to pundits for his fierce determination, competitiveness and pride. Coupled with his nature as a family man, Renzo is one of the most well-liked and popular fighters today.
With a record of 11 wins, six losses and one draw, the 39-year old from New York, by way of Rio de Janeiro, has been waiting for his shot at Shamrock for a long time. "Frank always says he's the best in the world and talks bad about everyone, not just my family. I would love to shut him up," said Gracie. "I met up with him in Japan a while back and he couldn't look me in the eye. I found out later that he was talking trash about me in an interview."
Although there are no belts on the line, the stakes are high for Shamrock-Gracie. The Brazilian is fighting to restore his family name while Shamrock is looking to prove that his conglomerate style is the best fighting technique in the world.
"It will be interesting to see Gracie, with his penchant for jiu-jitsu and grappling against the true mixed style of Frank Shamrock," Goldberg said. "There's no question that the Gracie's are among the best grapplers in the world, but as good a striker as Shamrock is, he is equally talented on the ground."
EliteXC is a newly-formed Mixed Martial Arts venture led by CEO Doug DeLuca and President of Live Events Gary Shaw, the legendary fight promoter. EliteXC is backed by LA-based Pro-Elite Inc.
Following a career in the National Football League, Goldberg became one of World Wrestling Entertainment's most popular global stars. In addition to starring on screen in "The Longest Yard" with Adam Sandler, the multi-talented entertainer has experience behind the microphone, serving as guest analyst for various MMA pay-per-view events in recent years.
The executive producer of the telecast will be David Dinkins, Jr. who serves the same capacity for SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
Eight-time Emmy Award winning director John Faratzis will call the shots from the television truck. Faratzis will add EliteXC to a long list of notable directorial credits including three Super Bowls and five Olympic Games.
For more information, please visit EliteXC.com.
About Pro Elite, Inc. (www.proeliteinc.com)
Pro Elite, Inc. is an entertainment and media company dedicated to producing world-class sports events which empowers the participation of both athletes and enthusiasts Pro Elite Inc. fosters the growth of the core principles of competition - Pride, Spirit, Honor and Sportsmanship.
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� TOO�, SHOWTIME� SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME�, SHOWTIME BEYOND�, SHOWTIME NEXT�, SHOWTIME WOMEN�, SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE� and TMC XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD�, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD�, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND� and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND�. SNI is also an owner and manager of SUNDANCE CHANNEL, a venture of NBC Universal, Robert Redford and SNI. 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.