U of MMA anounces new event at Club Nokia



Los Angeles, CA – Building off the success of 2011, Southern California’s leading amateur MMA promotion, the University of MMA, sets off its 2012 season with a new venue partner in Club Nokia, part of L.A. LIVE. The partnership’s first event, ‘Champions of Tomorrow!,’ is scheduled for May 20, 2012. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster or through www.UofMMA.com.

‘Champions of Tomorrow!’ will be the U of MMA’s biggest show to date, and likewise will be historic for Club Nokia as the venue’s first-ever MMA event.

“This is a milestone for the Los Angeles MMA scene. When the big shows aren’t in town, fans now have a definitive local MMA series in a top venue that belongs to them. In fact, you’ll get to see Southern California’s top talent before they hit the big shows,” said U of MMA founder / promoter Turi Altavilla.

‘The U’ is coming off four spectacular events in 2011, three of which took place at the historic Avalon Hollywood venue in the heart of Hollywood.

Club Nokia is located in the center of the prestigious L.A. LIVE complex, which houses STAPLES CENTER, Nokia Theater L.A. LIVE (which hosted Strikeforce: Los Angeles in June 2010), and a bevy of restaurants not limited to Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, ESPN Zone, The Farm of Beverly Hills, Trader Vic’s, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

Known as the entertainment capital of the world, this sprawling campus also plays host to attractions such as the Ritz-Carlton Spa, Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge, The GRAMMY Museum, Nokia Plaza, and an 18-screen Regal Cinema’s multiplex.

Although set up as a premier venue for music and theatrical acts, Club Nokia hasn’t missed a beat in hosting other combat sports with its high-end nightclub setting. The venue has been home to Golden Boy boxing promotions since 2009, hosting bi-monthly televised events. And in October 2011, M-One Muay Thai promoted a night of championship kickboxing at the venue, broadcast live on network television in Thailand.

In addition to its high-class atmosphere and décor, state-of-the-art sound system and video screens throughout the main floor, Club Nokia also has a separate VIP room featuring top shelf liquor and quality food catered by Wolfgang Puck.

Despite all these factors in providing an upscale live entertainment experience, tickets still remain affordable. General Admission floor tickets are $35.00, with upper level reserved seating ranging from $45.00 to $65.00. Cageside VIP seats go for $150.00.

“I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunities here. We’re helping tomorrow’s stars and future champions kickstart their fight careers, and to be able to provide them a stage as ritzy and prestigious as Club Nokia is a thrill,” commented matchmaker Jay Tan.

As the event name infers, ‘Champions of Tomorrow!’ will feature its first- ever title match, pitting ‘Gorgeous’ Georgie Garcia (10th Planet Van Nuys / Saekson Muay Thai) vs. Chris Bonilla (Bas Rutten’s Elite MMA), for the University of MMA’s featherweight (145 lbs.) championship. Last year, ‘Gorgeous’ Georgie went 3-0 in U of MMA competition, with a second-round TKO finish in September at the U’s ‘Salute to Service.’

Chris Bonilla comes in with a commanding 5-2 amateur MMA record, going to the Northern California amateur MMA championships finals in 2010 and the Southern California amateur MMA championship finals in 2011. With professional debut aspirations not far off, both men are hungry to cap their amateur careers off with a championship belt.

‘Champions of Tomorrow!’ will also mark the beginning of two four-man tournaments to crown U of MMA champions at welterweight (170 lbs.) and heavyweight (265 lbs.). This show will feature two semi-final and one alternates match in each weight class, with the semi-final winners scheduled to compete for the championship belt at the U of MMA’s next event.

Bracketing is now underway.

Among the fight teams expected for ‘Champions of Tomorrow!’ are fan favorites like Sweet Science MMA, 10th Planet Van Nuys / Saekson Muay Thai, Legends MMA, West Coast Jiu Jitsu, FightworX, and Team Quest.

Additionally, True Warrior Fitness, 5 Star Martial Arts, All In MMA, 10th Planet Riverside, Adrenaline MMA, Brood 9 Martial Arts, and several other fight teams have been invited to represent their gyms at this milestone event.

Also debuting at ‘Champions’ will be a new discipline in fighting sports, COMBAT JIU JITSU. This brainchild of Eddie Bravo, developed with U of MMA promoter Turi Altavilla and California Amateur MMA Organization (CAMO) officials, is best described as no-gi jiu jitsu with striking allowed on the ground. According to Bravo, this innovative set of rules allows grappling practitioners to acclimate to the element of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows before committing to full MMA rules.

“Traditional jiu jitsu tournaments give grapplers a false sense of security with many ground techniques because they are relying on submissions that are very dangerous when strikes are allowed,” he explained. “[MMA] needs to keep the quality of its jiu jitsu at the highest possible levels and CJJ is a giant step in the right direction,” said Bravo.

The University of MMA’s ‘Champions of Tomorrow!’ takes place at 4:00pm on Sunday, May 20, 2012, at Club Nokia at L.A. LIVE, 800 West Olympic Boulevard. Doors open at 3:00pm. Tickets for Club Nokia events are available at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.ticketmaster.comand from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM, Mon-Fri at the STAPLES Center Box Office located at 1111 S. Figueroa St. No box office or Ticketmaster convenience fees are charged at the STAPLES Center box office or at the Club Nokia box office on show days. The Club Nokia box office will open at 2:00pm the day of the event.

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CONTACT: Either Turi Altavilla at turi@UofMMA.com and phone (310) 701-8339 or Jay Tan at jaytan@UofMMA.com and phone (213) 618-0332.

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About the University of MMA (www.UofMMA.com): The University of Mixed Martial Arts (aka “The U”) is a Los Angeles-based fight promotion specializing in exciting, high-octane, upscale amateur MMA events around the Southern California region. Its mandate is to provide a stage for young, aspiring fighters to hone their MMA skills and develop themselves as marketable personalities and respectable ambassadors of the sport. The U was founded in 2010, running its first show on September 19th of that year at the Irvine Marriott in Irvine, CA, as part of the inaugural California Amateur MMA Organization (CAMO) State Tournament. It ran four shows throughout Southern California in 2011. The U serves as a scouting show for professional organizations such as Strikeforce and King of the Cage. Each event is sanctioned by the CAMO, which upholds the highest safety standards in the nation for amateur competition. The team behind the U collectively has over 20 years of professional promoting experience at the highest level of the sport, including international and domestic events which were broadcast on pay-per-view, cable, and network television in the United States, Japan, and Great Britain. For tomorrow’s MMA stars and champions … IT STARTS HERE!

About Club Nokia: Club Nokia, a multi-use music, entertainment and concert venue– located in the heart of the acclaimed L.A. LIVE sports, residential and entertainment district- -accommodates over 2,300 guests. Featuring state-of-the-art acoustics designed for live entertainment, Club Nokia is the perfect venue for emerging music acts and cultural shows while also providing excellent space for corporate events and private parties. The theatre brings the latest technology to music enthusiasts including an innovative interactive experience embedded in foot-controlled floor interfaces, touchscreens, and a large LED installation within the lobby of the Club Nokia space. This interactive experience allows users to scroll through the history and the future of Club Nokia events and interact with pictures, video and text messages submitted by fellow concert fans. Club Nokia has been honored two consecutive years at the annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards-in 2009 as “Best New Major Concert Venue” and in 2010 as “Nightclub Of The Year”; along with a Zagat Award for Best Live Music Club in Los Angeles (2009).