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- MMA STARS TO RAISE FUNDS IN SOLDIER’S MEMORY

Posted on by MMAWeekly.com Staff

Press Release courtesy of MMA Authentics
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MMA Authentics (MMAA), in association with the Arnold Sports
Festival, Ricart Ford Inc., and the Ray Mendoza Leadership Fund, recently announced
the 2nd Annual Ray Mendoza Leadership Fund, Night To Remember, to be held in conjunction with the Arnold Sports
Festival and prior to UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio, at the LC Pavilion on March 6,
2009.

 

Marine Major Ray Mendoza, a former Ohio State Buckeye
wrestler and teammate of UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman and former UFC
heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman, was killed in action in Operation Iraqi
Freedom on Nov. 14, 2005.

 

Coleman, who visited United States troops serving in the
Middle East in the fall of 2008, returned to the venue that made him a MMA
icon, the Octagon, for the first time since 1999 at UFC 93 in Dublin, Ireland
earlier this year.

 

“I am honored to work with my sponsor, MMA Authentics, the
great people at the Arnold Sports Festival and Rhett Ricart to salute my
teammate and friend Ray Mendoza. Ray truly deserves to have his memory and life
remembered because he was special human being in addition to being my best friend,”
says Coleman.

 

Randleman, who is one of the most gifted athletes in MMA and
who dominated opponents as a collegiate wrestler at Ohio State where he won two
NCAA Championship titles, considers his work with the Ray Mendoza Leadership
Fund a fundamental duty to his friend, former teammate and roommate.

 

“Ray Mendoza is a true American hero and warrior. His
selflessness and devotion to our freedoms provides me with daily motivation to
honor all those who serve our country,” says Randleman.

 

Mendoza, who received a Purple Heart and Combat V awards
posthumously for his actions in Iraq, was a 1993 Big Ten wrestling runner up
and NCAA Qualifier at Ohio State in 1992 and 1993. He was also teammate to MMA
Authentics Senior VP of Operations Michael DiSabato, and Director of Athlete Services
and 3-time NCAA All American wrestler Adam DiSabato.

 

“We are honored to work with the Ray Mendoza Leadership Fund
to honor our dear friend and true hero, Ray Mendoza. We love Ray and his family,
which includes his widow, Karen, daughter, Kiana, and son, Alek. Ray served our
country to protect our freedoms and liberty. We plan to do our part to insure his
memory is properly honored and his story is told. The Ray Mendoza Leadership
Fund, Night To Remember, is one of
the ways we hope to tell Ray’s story, raise money for those who have given the
ultimate sacrifice and celebrate our friend with the greatest athletes in the
world,” says Michael DiSabato.

 

To this end, MMA Authentics has lead the way in bringing
many of the top mixed martial arts athletes to Columbus for the event at the LC
Pavilion on March 6 and the Arnold Sports Festival weekend. Former Operation
Iraqi Freedom Silver Star award recipient, former WEC light heavyweight champion,
and current UFC light heavyweight contender Brian “All American” Stann will be
a special and honored guest for the evening.  Joining Stann, Coleman, and Randleman for the style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>Night to Remember are UFC lightweight champion
B.J. Penn, former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber, British mixed
martial arts superstar Michael Bisping, and other MMA stars including Phil
Baroni, Clay Guida, Houston Alexander, Troy Mandaloniz, Heath Herring, and Mo
Lawal. Also expected to contribute to the nights festivities are UFC 96 competitors
including UFC mega star Quinton Jackson, lightweight contender Gray Maynard, and
former Ultimate Fighter competition
winner Kendall Grove.

 

UFC color commentator and North, Olmstead, Ohio native Mike
Goldberg, and ESPN First Take’s and
Sandusky, Ohio native Jay Crawford will be co-masters of ceremonies for the
evening.

 

2008 Beijing Olympic Gold Medalist and USA Wrestling prodigy
Henry Cejudo and others from the international and collegiate wrestling
community will be in attendance. Also expected to attend are several former
Buckeye gridiron greats including 3-time First Team Associated Press All
American and Butkus Award winning linebacker James Laurinaitis and future first
round NFL draft pick Chris “Beanie” Wells. Other former Buckeye and NFL
athletes such as Heisman winner Troy Smith, Mike Nugent, Kirk Barton, Anthony
Schlegel, John Hicks and Mike Doss are also expected attend the event.

 

Three local bands including Zero
Times Tardy, Deep Six & The Jack will perform until 2 a.m. Also expect a
special performance by local magician and escape expert Michael Griffin.

 

Following Mendoza’s death, MMA Authentics became deeply
involved in the creation and development of the Ray Mendoza Leadership Fund which
provides assistances to Ohio families widowed in the War on Terror and also acts
as a funding source to the Ray Mendoza Leadership Institute at The John Glenn
School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. In February 2008,
Michael and Adam DiSabato, with support from several mixed martial artists
including Coleman and Randleman, and former four-term US Senator and American
icon John Glenn, participated in the introduction of the Mendoza Leadership
Institute at the John Glenn School for Public Affairs at The Ohio State
University. The Mendoza Leadership Institute will provide leadership
programming for graduate and undergraduates students at The Ohio State
University in Ray Mendoza’s name. All
the proceeds
from the Ray Mendoza Leadership Fund, Night To Remember, will be directed to the Ray Mendoza Leadership
Fund and The Ray Mendoza Leadership Institute at the Glenn School. class=apple-style-span>Doors open and
silent auction begins at 7:30pm. Tickets are $25 at the door and are also available
at www.ticketmaster.com
class=GramE>.For
more information on the Ray Mendoza Leadership
Fund and the Ray Mendoza Leadership Institute at The Glenn, visit href="http://www.raymendozaleadershipfund.com">www.raymendozaleadershipfund.com

or www.mmaauthentics.com

 

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