- LASHLEY BOUT OFF, SPARKS FIGHTS AT BELLATOR 23

June 15, 2010
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Press Release courtesy of Bellator Fighting Championships
Ron “The Monster” Sparks, an undefeated heavyweight KO artist and Kentucky native has signed on to fight in the “Local Co-Main Event” during Bellator 23 at the Fourth Street Live entertainment district in downtown Louisville next Thursday.

Sparks, a longtime boxer and kickboxer who has also been training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu for the past four years, is a perfect 5-0 as a pro MMA fighter, including four first-round knockouts. Three of his fights lasted less than 40 seconds.

He was originally scheduled to face the undefeated Bobby Lashley at tomorrow night’s Strikeforce event in Los Angeles, but was freed up to sign with Bellator after Lashley withdrew from the fight late last month because of injury.

“We are happy to have an up-and-coming heavyweight like Ron taking part in the Local Co-Main Event of our Louisville show,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Ron knocks people out and fans love to see that in the heavyweight division, so Ron should put on a great show for the fans in Louisville.”

Sparks, 36, was introduced to combat sports by his father, who studied martial arts during the Vietnam War. He began taking classes in kickboxing as a teenager and became a regular sparring partner for a variety of local boxers and kickboxers while also competing in a wide variety of kickboxing promotions himself, including K-1.

In 2006, he met Louisville-based MMA manager and trainer Jason Weihe, who convinced him to give the sport a try. In addition to his five wins, he’s also been booked as an opponent for a bevy of top heavyweights including Ray Mercer, Tim Sylvia and Bob Sapp, only to have those fights fall through because when those opponents backed out.

Sparks calls his new contract with Bellator “the next big step” in his career.

“Bellator’s a great organization and this is a great opportunity to fight in front of my hometown crowd,” Sparks said. “I love to keep the fight on my feet and I love going for the knockout. There ain’t nothin’ better in this world than knockin’ a guy out.”

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