World Series of Fighting (WSOF) today officially launches its efforts to become Las Vegas' newest successful mixed martial arts promotion and will announce that former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion and four-time Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Miguel Torres will headline its first major show, a person familiar with the deal told USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). The person requested anonymity because the official announcement had not been made.
The promotion is expected to reveal the headliner at a news conference in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the same property that will host the company's debut event Nov. 3.
World Series of Fighting is backed by MMAWC, a Nevada-based company founded in 2011. Advertising and marketing mogul Sig Rogich is the company's CEO while kickboxing legend and recent MMA fighter Ray Sefo serves as president.
"Running a fight organization like the World Series of Fighting is the natural next step for me in my career," Sefo said. "I've been in the fight business a long time — more than 20 years — and I understand how it works from the inside out.
"I'm ready to stand behind this brand of MMA and bring it to a national audience."
Initial reports pegged WSOF as a tournament-based promotion, but USA TODAY Sports has confirmed the organization has opted instead for a more traditional card-to-card format.
The promotion's debut event airs live on recently rebranded NBC Sports Network (10:30 p.m. ET).
Other bouts include UFC vets Ronys Torres (25-4) vs. Brian Cobb (19-7), welterweights Gregor Gracie (7-2) vs. Tyson Steele (8-1) and lightweights Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante (16-6-1) vs. John Gunderson (34-14-2). Josh Burkman (23-9) also will be on the card.
"There are so many talented fighters out there looking for a home and a place to showcase their skills, and, with this deal with NBC Sports Network in place, we can deliver that," Sefo said.
A Planet Hollywood rep said the Caesars Entertainment-owned property planned to expand its role in the MMA world.
"Planet Hollywood is a leader in Las Vegas entertainment and brings a sense of youth and energy to the table that is a perfect match for the World Series of Fighting," Planet Hollywood vice president and assistant general manager Sean McBurney said. "Hosting this event is just one further step in Caesars Entertainment having a larger presence in the MMA world."
The latest WSOF 1 card includes:
- Miguel Torres vs. TBA
- Brian Cobb vs. Ronys Torres
- Gregor Gracie vs. Tyson Steele
- Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante vs. John Gunderson
- Josh Burkman vs. TBA