Press Release

Kimo Makes it Personal, Reacting to Rutten’s Decision to Target Him For His Return

LOS ANGELES, May 30th, 2005 – Following months of public speculation regarding a potential comeback to the sport he once dominated, the World Fighting Alliance (WFA) today announced the return of mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar Bas Rutten. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion and 3 x King of Pancrase has officially signed to fight for the WFA and will make his return to the cage at WFA: King of the Streets on July 22nd at the Forum in Los Angeles against infamous Huntington Beach street-fighter Kimo in a bout that’s nothing short of personal.

After more than a six-year hiatus from competitive fighting, highlighted by work as a color commentator and network studio analyst for FOX Sport’s Pride fighting broadcasts and his involvement as a coach in the newly formed IFL, Rutten began to feel the competitive itch to get back in the cage. The recent announcements of the revitalized WFA, its impressive list of MMA stars and its first event at the Forum in Los Angeles on July 22nd provided Rutten the added motivation to make his comeback official.

“Speaking with WFA CEO Jeremy Lappen about his plans for the WFA and seeing the incredible fighters that are signing with the WFA had me very motivated about returning to the cage,” said Rutten. “I’ve managed to stay pretty close to “fighting shape” amidst my involvement with the IFL and my broadcasting work, and I’m confident that my skills will be sharp as ever when I face Kimo on July 22nd.”

Rutten will return to face a formidable opponent in Kimo, in a fight fueled by animosity, stemming from rumors over the past month of Rutten’s return and his specific decision to target Kimo as his first opponent fresh out of retirement. In an interview during a WFA production day in Los Angeles, Kimo was outspoken regarding his feelings about Rutten’s decision.

“I’ve helped this sport come from bare knuckles, no rules and no excuses to where it is today, and for this man to select me specifically as the target for his comeback is an insult to everything I’ve accomplished,” said Kimo. “This will be the shortest comeback of all time, and Bas will regret the day he chose me for his return to the cage.”

According to those present at the WFA production day, Kimo and Bas had a heated discussion away from the rest of the group. Both Bas and Kimo seemed noticeably upset throughout the afternoon and avoided being around each other for the remainder of the day.

“The day of the production shoot, I was pretty sure I wanted to return to fight for the WFA, but I had yet to make a final decision,” said Rutten. “Kimo’s comments and behavior certainly made that decision an easy one, providing me a whole new level of motivation.”

Rutten’s return to fight for the WFA is yet another in a recent series of announcements, reinforcing the WFA as a legitimate force to be reckoned with in MMA. The announcement comes on the heels of the WFA’s signing of MMA superstar Quinton “Rampage” Jackson – the man who destroyed reigning UFC Champion Chuck Liddell. The WFA also announced the WFA: King of the Streets on July 22nd at the Forum in Los Angeles, an event featuring arguably the greatest U.S. fight card ever assembled.

“A recent MMA fan poll showed that fans preferred our King of the Streets fight card over the UFC 60 card, and this was before we announced Bas’ return to fight Kimo,” said Lappen. “With this incredible fight and the incomparable fight card we’ve already announced, this will clearly be a historic evening for the sport of mixed martial arts.”

Tickets for “WFA: King of the Streets” at The Forum are available at all Southern California Ticket Master outlets (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino and Ventura Counties), online at Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (213) 480-3232, (714) 740-2000, (661) 322-2525 or (805) 583-8700. The event will also be shown live on pay-per-view television via iN Demand (additional details for satellite television pay-per-view to be announced). For more information on the WFA, WFA fighters or WFA: King of the Streets, visit www.wfa.tv.