The UFC Hall-of-Famers whose blood and sweat carried the organization in its early days will act as coaches for a series of team MMA events to be held in Asia. According to MMA Weekly, Las Vegas-based Platinum Fighting Productions is organizing a tournament named “Ring of Fire,” which pits teams of five fighters (including one woman) against each other, with four preliminary events leading up to a final matchup between the two best teams. Along with Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock, the other coaches will be UFC/PRIDE veteran Josh Barnett and Armenian-American submission grappling guru Gokor Chivichyan. The lineups will be:
Team Gracie: Cleber Luciano, Jorge Patino, Daniel Serafian, John Marsh, Katrine Alendal
Team Lion’s Den (Shamrock): Evan Dunham, Kyacey Uscola, Mike Whitehead, Ricco Rodriguez, Tonya Evinger
Team Barnett: Koji Oishi, Yuki Kondo, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Jeff Monson, Ginele Marquez
Team Gokar: Karen Darabedyan, August Wallen, Rodney Faverus, Hakim Gouram, Amanda Buckner
The first event will take place on December 9th at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines, and will feature Barnett’s team taking on Chivichyan’s. Future events will take place in Macau, Japan, and China; the final is slated for December 2008. Why this is being held on the other side of the world is anybody’s guess — it doesn’t seem to be the best move for a fledgling organization, marketing-wise, if a television broadcast is out of the question. Stay tuned for more details on this compelling, possibly bullshit event.