Production crews descend on city to prep for MMA event|[08/24/07]

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 24, 2007

Production crews from a national cable company began filtering into Vicksburg Thursday in preparation for a mixed martial arts fight card Saturday night at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Saturday’s event, which will be televised live by the cable pay service Showtime starting at 10 p.m., is the second of a new series of MMA fights from the Elite XC Challenger Series.

&#8220Our first show was done in June and it was at the new arena in Southaven,” said Elite XC public relations rep Whitney Ashley of Los Angeles. &#8220This is our second show and once again, we’re back in Mississippi, but this time in Vicksburg. We’re looking forward to a great show.”

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A weigh-in for the 10-fight event, which will feature five professional and five amateur bouts, will be held today at 5 p.m. at Rainbow Casino.

Showtime Communications Sports and Event Progaming manager Ivy Moon said the premium cable network is anxious to showcase the rising sport of mixed martial arts. The new Elite XC Challenger Series fits exactly what the network is looking for.

&#8220SHOXC and SHOBOX is all about showing young upcoming talent who are trying to make a name for themselves,” Moon said.

Today, work crews began constructing the steel cage which will be in the middle of the VCC arena for Saturday’s fights. The feature is a main-event bout between Charles &#8220Krazy Horse” Bennett and Victor &#8220Joe Boxer” Valenzuela.

The last MMA card held at the VCC in May was with a traditional boxing ring. Those fights were promoted by Psychout Promotions out of Brandon. Psychout promoter Brian McGuire said things are a lot different this time around with Showtime and Elite XC being involved.

&#8220They are really well organized,” McGuire said. &#8220Everything just falls into place.”

After Saturday, the Showtime crew will pack up and head to Staples Center in Los Angeles in advance for next week’s boxing bout between Fernando Vargas and Ricardo Mayorga.