Mixed martial arts stars Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski, “Big John” McCarthy, Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira will be featured in Round 5′s Series 3 of mixed martial arts collectible figures, it was announced by Round 5 C.E.O. Barron Lau and President Damon Lau. Series 3 figures are projected to be available the beginning in April.
The Series 3 figurines follow successful launches of the first two series in April 2008 and November 2008, respectively, which featured eight MMA fan favorites. Randy Couture, Matt Hughes, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Tito Ortiz comprised Series 1 while Rich Franklin, Sean Sherk, Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva were released in Series 2.
“We are excited that four huge MMA standouts like Arlovski, McCarthy, Mir and Nogueira will be our partners in creating the next Series of Round 5 figurines,” said Damon Lau. “These are some of the biggest names in the sport today and we think fans will love to show their support of these great stars with a high quality collectible on their desks.”
As in the earlier series, the four newest Round 5 stars maintain creative control of their likenesses, including the pose, facial design and shorts. Each will be instrumental in creating the final design and will benefit from a royalty agreement that gives them a considerable portion of the sale of their respective figurines.
Arlovski, the former UFC heavyweight champion, will next be competing in the highly anticipated battle with Russian star Fedor Emelianenko on January 24 at the Affliction “Day of Reckoning” event in Anaheim, Calif. The Minsk, Belarus, native has a 14 career record, 10 of those by knockout. He has won five straight bouts, including all three of his 2008 fights.
McCarthy has been recognized as the pre-eminent MMA referee since the early days of the UFC. He has been in charge in more than 600 bouts worldwide and was one of the original authors of the MMA rules and regulations that are used today. His “larger than life” personality has also made him one of the most recognized and celebrated figures in the sport.
Mir is coming off the biggest win of his career, when he defeated Nogueira with a second round TKO on Dec. 27 to win the UFC heavyweight title. He has persevered through devastating injuries, including a broken leg suffered in a motorcycle accident, to reach the pinnacle of the sport and looks forward to defending his crown. He earned additional attention as a coach in the recently concluded eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” television program on Spike TV.
Despite the loss to Mir, Nogueira remains one of the most legendary and popular athletes, particularly in his native Brazil. He first gained attention as one of the top stars in PRIDE and was also a coach in season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter” opposite Mir. Of his 31 career victories – against just five defeats and one draw – 20 have come by submission.
Round 5 plans to release three additional series of athletes in 2009, one during each quarter. Athletes to be represented in those series are yet to be announced.