Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Mixed martial arts will make its Washington debut on May 12 at the D.C. Armory. The event, dubbed the Mixed Martial Arts Championship, will feature 10 bouts in weight classes ranging from welterweight (145 pounds) to heavyweight (260 pounds and above).
"D.C. is a sports town," said Omar Olumee, the promoter behind the event. "I want to give it a jolt."
Olumee hopes to attract 5,000 fans to the Armory and currently is negotiating free agent contracts with UFC and Pride veterans, including Tony "The Freak" Fryklund, Nino Schembri, Branden Lee Hinkle and others. Several local fighters also likely will be on the card.
Last September, Olumee's application to become the city's first MMA promoter spurred the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commission to adopt rules similar to those used in states such as Nevada and New Jersey. Most mixed martial arts bouts occur in caged rings. But all of the MMA fights on the Armory card will take place in an open ring because the commission has not yet approved the use of a cage.
"I don't think D.C. is ready for the cage," Olumee said.
-- Luke O'Brien