PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Aug. 9, 2012) – The most successful professional wrestler of the past decade is joining forces with the hardest-working promoter in combat sports.
The end result could be the biggest event to hit the Ocean State since the glory days of Vinny Paz.
Actor, wrestler and former bodybuilder David Bautista – known throughout the world by his World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stage name, Batista – will make his highly-anticipated mixed martial arts debut Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 against heavyweight Rashid Evans (1-2) at “Real Pain,” presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports in association with June Entertainment at The Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I.
Tickets go on sale Friday at 1 p.m. at www.ticketmaster.com and are priced at $20.00, $35.00, $55.00, $75.00, $125.00 and $250.00. The show will also air live on Direct TV Pay Per View.
“Fighting MMA is a dream come true,” said Bautista, a former six-time WWE world champion and one of the stars of the upcoming Quentin Tarantino motion picture The Man With The Iron Fists, which is scheduled to hit theaters Nov. 2. “I’m very excited to make my debut in Providence with Jimmy Burchfield, who has so much experience putting on fights. CES treats me like family and I can’t wait to make my debut with them. MMA has been my lifelong dream and I’m glad to be able to do it with them on the East Coast.”
Burchfield, a lifelong Rhode Island resident and former restaurant owner known worldwide for guiding the affable “Pazmanian Devil” to five world championships, has promoted professional boxing and mixed martial arts for more than 30 years in various states, including Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Tennessee, along with Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Since launching its long-awaited mixed martial arts and entertainment divisions in 2010, CES has successfully promoted 12 MMA shows in just under two years, with the inclusion of former Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) contenders Alex Karalexis and John “Doomsday” Howard, the latter who has now won three consecutive fights – the last two with CES MMA – since the UFC released him last summer.
In the span of 24 months, CES has developed into a household name and set new standards in mixed martial arts. After bringing Howard to Rhode Island in April of 2011 and promoting five sold-out shows during the calendar year, CES was named New England’s No. 1 promotion in 2011 by the Boston Herald with Patrick Sullivan winning the Matchmaker of the Year Award. CES’ Todd “The Hulk” Chattelle of Pawtucket, R.I., who will be featured on the undercard Oct. 6, earned Fighter of the Year and Comeback Fighter of the Year honors from the Herald after finishing 4-0 in 2011 and winning the promotion’s inaugural middleweight title in November. Karalexis’ June 10, 2011 showdown against Taiwan Howard in Rhode Island was the main event of the Herald’s best local card on paper.
As the ultimate encore, CES and June Entertainment will now bring the sport’s most polarizing newcomer to the heart of Rhode Island’s capital city in October.
“This is going to be huge, literally and figuratively,” Burchfield said. “Of all the promoters in the world, Dave Bautista chose CES because we take care of our fighters and we deliver results. No one has sold out The Dunkin’ Donuts Center since Vinny Paz fought Joe Frazier Jr. in 1986. We had people waiting outside trying desperately to get into the building that night, and we’re expecting the same atmosphere on Oct. 6 with Dave Bautista.
“There is no one who puts on a show like Dave, and there’s no promoter other than Classic Entertainment & Sports capable of turning his dream into a reality. Since Day 1, we promised our fans we’d get bigger and better with each show. Who bigger than Dave Bautista, all 6 feet, 6 inches and 290 pounds of him, to deliver on that promise? It’s an honor to work with both Dave and June Entertainment. We’re going to turn Oct. 6 into a night to remember.
“You’d be crazy to miss this epic event; this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Oct. 6 will also be a homecoming for Bautista’s manager and June Entertainment CEO John Ryan Jr., a Providence native who moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19, where he co-created the ground-breaking entertainment program Tinseltown TV en route to becoming one of television’s most successful program developers and producers. Ryan developed and produced shows for Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network and HBO, and also helped raise more than $150 million for independent films and studio development on film projects such as Lucky Number Slevin, The Butterfly Effect and The Rum Diary.
“I grew up going to The Dunkin’ Donuts Center back when it was still called the Providence Civic Center,” said Ryan, who also plans to produce more films in Rhode Island with his business partner and cousin, John Santilli, who produced The English Teacher and Loosies. “My dad was a security guard there and my dream was always to produce an event there.”
Bringing Bautista to Providence will be one of Ryan’s and CES’ crowning achievements; the 43-year-old Washington native is a six-time WWE world champion, winning the World Heavyweight Championship four times and the WWE Championship twice. The son of Filipino immigrants, Bautista also won the World Tag Team Championship three times and is the longest-reigning World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history. In addition to The Man With The Iron Fists, Bautista also starred in The House Of The Rising Sun and The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption, and recently wrapped up filming for Vin Diesel’s The Chronicles Of Riddick: Dead Man Stalking, which is set for release in 2013.
Bautista is currently training at his Gracie Fighter Jiu-Jitsu facility in Tampa, Fla., which he opened to the public in 2011, with Matheus Andre, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and Josh Rafferty, a contestant on the debut season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series. Highlights from Bautista’s eight-week training camp will air in a four-part series on Direct TV beginning at 6 a.m. (EST) on Oct. 6.
The undercard of “Real Pain” will feature nine-time UFC veteran David Loiseau (20-10, 13 KOs) of Montreal; Providence lightweight Mike “The Beast” Campbell (11-4, 7 KOs), a former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) contender; Woonsocket, R.I., bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath (2-1, 1 KO); Chattelle (10-7, 8 KOs); and Howard (17-7, 6 KOs), a Boston native and veteran of seven UFC bouts. Howard rose to prominence in 2009 and 2010 as a 26-year-old welterweight with four consecutive wins in the UFC. His win over Daniel Roberts in 2010 on the undercard of the UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones event was named Knockout of the Night and he also won Fight of the Night honors in his 2009 UFC debut with a split-decision win over Chris Wilson. In two stints with the UFC, Loiseau faced Jorge Rivera and former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin and earned knockout wins over Gideon Ray, Charles McCarthy and Evan Tanner.