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PRIDE Neva Die: Kenny Monday’s Oklahoma-Based MMA Promotion Bringing Back Eight-Man, One-Night Tournaments


(Part 1 of Igor Vovchanchyn‘s legendary one-night performance in the 1996 Mr. Powerman tournament. Parts 2 and 3 are after the jump.)

(*fans self off with both hands*)

You guys, I don’t want to pull a Danga and curse this thing by simply mentioning it, but there’s a fairly good possibility that we will see the return of the eight-man, one-night tournament in the near future. Specifically, June 27th at the BOK Center in Tulsa. CALM DOWN, GOD DAMMIT. You’re going to blow it!!

Here’s why we shouldn’t immediately dismiss this gift handed down from the heavens as a manipulative, freakshow marketing attempt being made by some obviously struggling promotion (ala the man vs. woman fight in Shooto or Gina Carano in the UFC. Zing!). For starters, the promotion in question is Battlegrounds MMA, the Oklahoma-based promotion of which former Olympian Kenny Monday is the president. Secondly, former Strikeforce matchmaker Rich Chou is on board as the tournament matchmaker. Thirdly, the promotion has already been granted the go-ahead by the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, following Battlegrounds managing partner Bryan O’Rourke’s petition to slightly modify the rules passed unanimously.

You can view the full petition here, but basically, the only things that differ from the Unified Rules of MMA is that all elbows will be illegal until the final fight (for obvious reasons), and that said final fight will consist of five five-minute rounds instead of the traditional three. As O’Rourke told Bleacher Report:

We’ve all been a part of one-night and Grand Prix elimination tournaments, and Kenny has competed countless times in a tournament format, so we recognized the energy this format brings.

We were confident we could get the format approved if we could show the safety levels went above and beyond current standards, and we’ve set the bar for MMA globally. The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission is progressive, and fighter safety is their credo, so receiving their unanimous approval was proof that our plan provides the greatest fighter safety standards in the world.

There is a major gap between the UFC, Bellator and WSOF. We’re looking toward a grass-roots base of wrestling and MMA fans supporting a revitalization of the one-night, eight-fighter elimination tournament to fill that empty space. 

Unfortunately, the winner of the aptly named “Battlegrounds: One Night Elimination (O.N.E.)” tournament will not receive $500,000 and a top of the line big rig as previously established in the 1987 arm wrestling classic Over the Top. But $50,000 for a night’s work (which at the most is a mere eleven rounds of fighting. Pssh.) isn’t half bad either.

Of course, the only way to truly celebrate such a glorious occasion would be to rewatch the king of one-night tourneys, Igor Vovchanchyn, decimate three straight fighters during his epic performance in the 1996 Mr. Powerman tournament, which transpired on the night of January 23rd, 1996.

Vovchanchyn vs Sergei Bondarovich II – Semifinals

Vovchanchyn vs Roman Tikunov – Finals

Respect the legend, fools.

-J. Jones

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