NEW YORK (May 5, 2009)— Mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Pat Miletich will join veteran announcers Mauro Ranallo and Stephen Quadros cageside to call Strikeforce Challengers, a new SHOWTIME series that serves as a proving ground for up-and-coming MMA fighters.
Miletich, who made his debut on SHOWTIME when he called the April 11, Strikeforce event alongside Gus Johnson and Ranallo, will provide his expert analysis when the series debuts Friday, May 15, from Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., live on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Speaking of his new role, Miletich said, “I’m really excited about being able to continue working with SHOWTIME on their Strikeforce Challengers series. This series is extremely important to the MMA world. I am especially honored to be a part of this as we help find the MMA stars of tomorrow.
Miletich is not only excited about the idea of finding the next generation of talent but also about the partners he’ll have on camera. “I’ve known Mauro and Stephen for years. Their knowledge of both MMA and the television world will no doubt add to the heart of the show. And I know working with them will be a blast.”
Undefeated lightweight sensation Billy Evangelista (9-0) will fight hard-hitting brawler and BJ Penn protégé “Iron” Mike Aina (11-6-1) in the main event. In another top match, Aaron Rosa (11-2) will face Anthony “A Train” Ruiz (21-12) in a light heavyweight fight.
Strikeforce Challengers provides today’s top prospects with the opportunity to step-up their level of competition and demonstrate their ability in a nationally televised event.
Miletich, who was the first UFC lightweight champion, has a career MMA record of 29-7-2, holds a third degree black belt in Shuri-ryu karate and was awarded a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) black belt by Oswaldo Alves. He is the founder of Miletich Fighting Systems in Bettendorf, Iowa, a premier MMA training academy where he has trained and coached 11 UFC world champions.
His past and current students are some of the most talented and popular fighters in MMA, including former ICON Sport and EliteXC middleweight champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, and former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes. He currently trains top fighters including ex-UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia and former UFC lightweight champ Jens Pulver.
Lawler (16-4), a one-time Miletich’s protégé, will face fellow highly regarded, world-class fighter Jake Shields (22-4-1) in the STRIKEFORCE main event on Saturday, June 6, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Lawler, a top-10 middleweight, and Shields, rated among the top five welterweights in the world, will collide at a catch weight of 182 pounds.
Tickets for the first Strikeforce Challengers event are on sale at the Save Mart Center box office and select Save Mart Supermarkets as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and Strikeforce’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).