by Damon Martin
(Fight Network Press Conference featuring #3 IBF Steve Molitor vs Jorge Parades)
The Fight Network Premier Party : Fighters and Fans Celebrate The Debut Of The Most Action Packed Station On Television
In Toronto on Friday night, a mix of both media, fans and fighters gathered to welcome the Fight Network to television and with the turnout the party garnered, it can only be described as a huge success.
The 2,000 fans were treated to a muay thai kickboxing bout, a pro boxing match, a mixed martial arts demonstration (as MMA is still not allowed in Ontario), and two wrestling matches featuring the stars of TNA.
While a party is still a party, there was much news to come out of the star studded event. Former UFC welterweight champion and fan favorite, Carlos “The Ronin” Newton made an appearance and talked with MMAWeekly about his immediate future which for fans of MMA, unfortunately doesn’t include fighting. “My focus right now is school,” said Newton. “I was splitting too much time between the fight game and school, and right now my focus is on school. I have two years left to get my degree and that’s what I’m going to focus on.”
The biggest star to appear, judging by the masses of fans that flocked around him all night, was current UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell. The California native could barely take three or four steps without being stopped by someone asking for an autograph or a picture.
“The people here in Toronto are great, they love the sport of MMA” Liddell told MMAWeekly. When asked if he was fighting Randy Couture in February, Liddell smiled and said, “Just wait and see…it would be a lot of fun to throw down one more time with him.”
Also in attendance was former UFC and Pride veteran and current K-1 star, Gary “Big Daddy” Goodridge. He commented that he was looking forward to fighting again soon, but wasn’t sure when or where it would be.
Top welterweight fighter and MMAWeekly radio co-host, Frank Trigg was on hand and was walking just fine after his ankle surgery and said everything is healing very well. It has been rumored that both Jungle Fight and Rumble on the Rock are hot on the heels of Trigg to bring him to their respective promotions. One of the oddities seen backstage at the event was seeing the often outspoken Trigg talking with pro wrestling icons, Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart and current TNA champion, Jeff Jarrett.
“It was cool talking with those guys about what they do and what they go through day in and day out,” Trigg commented. “Jimmy and Jarrett are both really good people who have put a ton of years into their sports entertainment and that I respect.”
When asked if Trigg had been contacted by TNA about a possible future in pro wrestling, the former WFA champion said, “Is this where I’m supposed to say no comment? You never know when or where you will see me next.”
MMAWeekly’s own Ryan Bennett was the MC for the event along with Live Audio Wrestling’s, Dan Lavranski. Bennett seemed impressed with the crowd and with the Fight Network’s dedication to showing the best in mixed martial arts, boxing and wrestling.
“It’s pretty amazing to see the launch of the first 24 hour fight network launched in North America,” Bennett said. ” This is what MMA fans have dreamt about and it’s nice to see that the network has been launched in Canada for a month now. I wish the American fans could see this channel, because it would blow their minds how good the programming and content is of this network. Last night I watched the International Vale Tudo matches from Brazil featuring a Goodridge fight I’ve never seen before, then Chuck vs Pele was awesome, then Pride showed Anderson Silva vs Alex Steibling in a fight I heard about, but had never seen, did I mention K-1 and Rumble on the Rock later that night?”
Other fighters and wrestlers in attendance included former boxing champion and hall of famer, Larry Holmes, pro wrestlers Rhino, Sabu and Samoa Joe from the TNA organization, and Canada’s own wrestling legend, Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
The club was packed all night with fans getting a chance to see what the Fight Network is all about and this is just the beginning. Hopefully, the United States will get a taste of the 24 hour station devoted to the sports we love to watch. Until then, the neighbors to the north will enjoy the excellent programming put on by the Fight Network, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.