Jim Ross, a pro wrestling Hall of Fame announcer who has made no secret about his desire to broadcast mixed martial arts, will be teaming with controversial fighter Chael Sonnen, in doing the broadcasting for Battleground MMA, a pay-per-view show from the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Oct. 3.
Negotiations had been dating back a few months to land the Ross/Sonnen combination.
Ross, who started announcing pro wrestling nearly 40 years ago in Tulsa, has done football with the Atlanta Falcons and the XFL, amateur wrestling, and most recently pro boxing, but is far better known for his work in pro wrestling. He began in that genre working for former NCAA champion wrestler Leroy McGuirk out of Tulsa in the 1970s, and went on to work for Mid South Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotions, World Championship Wrestling, Smoky Mountain Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment where at one time he was also Vice President of Talent Relations..
Since leaving WWE one year ago and becoming a Podcast host, Ross has talked of his desire to announce MMA. It is possible he has broadcasted more pay-per-view events than any announcer in the world. He was voted announcer of the year in pro wrestling 14 times.
Sonnen, who is on a two-year suspension and has announced his retirement as a fighter, will be broadcasting his first pay-per-view event, although he did analyst work for FOX before being let go from both the network and the UFC after failing two drug tests earlier this year.
The show harkens back to the old days of mixed martial arts, with an eight-man tournament in the welterweight division. The tournament features six former UFC fighters, in Dennis Hallman (53-15-2), Brock Larson (37-8), Roan Carneiro (17-9), Luigi Fiorvanti (24-11), Cody McKenzie (15-4) and David Mitchell (14-4). Also in the tournament is former Strikeforce fighter Trey Houston (10-2) and two-time All-American wrestler Chris Honeycutt (4-0).
Honeycutt is the least experienced fighter, but also unique in that he was second in the 2012 NCAA tournament at 197 pounds, wrestling for Edinboro College. He moved to California to train under former NCAA champion and UFC star Josh Koscheck, but will compete here at 170.
The main event on the show pits Ryan Couture (8-3), the son of MMA Hall of Famer Randy Couture, against Jonny Carson (11-6).
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