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Considered the America Idol of MMA, Ring Of Combat…..Past, Present and its Future

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An historic milestone for any promotion is to put on its fiftieth event and that is the case for Lou Neglia as he brings Ring of Combat 50 to east coast fight fans January 23 at the Tropicana Casino & Resort. The fight card is stacked from top to bottom and will feature the best MMA prospects from all over and also includes six title bouts.

Ring of Combat is one of the longest running and most successful shows in the the country and for good reason. The east coast promotion has sent more fighters to the UFC than any other promotion. To date, over 90 ROC alumni have gone to compete in the UFC. Not only have they sent the most to the biggest promotion but all Ring of Combat alumni who compete against the world’s elite are having successful careers.

The latest ROC alumni who are actively competing in the UFC are current middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, along with Al Iquinta, Ryan LaFlare, Eddie Gordon, Costas Philippou, Edson Barboza, Uriah Hall and most recent, Chris Wade.

As a former world kickboxing champion, Lou knows what it takes to help build fighters. “The recipe is very simple,” said Lou. “Competitive fights challenge you. If you’re not challenged, you won’t change. You get more out of losing competitive fights by improving your game. You gain nothing winning a hand picked opponent for an easy fight,” he continued.

Lou recalls when UFC came calling for a ROC alumni, “the UFC has taken a fighter that was 8 wins with 4 losses as opposed to a fighter who was undefeated at 10-0 in another promotion. The matchmakers at UFC know just as well as I do that it’s who you fought and how you fought that matters,’ said Lou. “I look at these matches as fan myself. I put two solid fighters together that not only fans want to see in action but fights that I would like to see,” he continued.

Lou’s matchmaking skills are so solid that the UFC has announced a fight between not only two ROC alumni but two ROC alumni that already fought each other; Uriah Hall and Costas Philippou. The first bout between Hall and Philippou took place at Ring of Combat 34 when Philippou took home a majority decision. Their long awaited rematch is set to take place as a featured bout for UFC Fight Night on January 18, 2015.

“When I first heard that the UFC is putting on Hall vs Philippou, I was very proud,” exclaimed Lou. “These guys are true champions and gave their all at Ring of Combat. The have both come so far since then and I know they are going to put on a good show for the UFC,” he continued.

With Lou’s matchmaking skills and top pedigree of fighters, many wonder why he hasn’t made the jump to go head to head with the UFC but for Lou, that is an easy answer. “Not to long ago, I was approached by three very successful businessmen,” said Lou. “They asked me if I wanted to join forces with them in the world of MMA and their goal was to compete with the UFC and eventually become bigger than them. I thanked them for their time but declined. I am very content with what I am doing and have no desire to compete with the UFC,” continued Lou. “They have an all star team with Dana, Lorenzo, Marc Ratner, Joe Silva and are doing great things in the world of combat sports. I enjoy finding great but unknown talent and developing them for the world’s biggest stage and I am happy with the place Ring of Combat has in MMA history, being the american idol of the sport,” said Lou.

With that being said, Lou is hard at work developing the next generation of superstars and he believes many of them competing at Ring of Combat 50. “Our next event is a very special one for Ring of Combat,” said Lou. “Not many promotions have made it to their 50th event and many have not produced the superstars that Ring of Combat has. I am very proud of all Ring of Combat alumni but also very proud of the new generation of ROC fighters who by accepting tough fights in the Ring of Combat, is also preparing them for the road that leads to the Octagon and Im confident the new generation of ROC alumni will join the others and become stars of the sport,” he continued.

Lou Neglia with UFC Champions

Frankie Edgar, Matt Serra and Chris Weidman

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Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat 47 Crowns New Champions

LouWade

From MixedMartialArts.com:

 

While Bellator holds the #2 spot in MMA, and WSoF is surging, history indicates that – so far – the only way to make a small fortune competing with the UFC is to start with a large one. So far, every company that ever went head to head with the UFC gets bought or gets bankrupt.
WFA – bought
Pride – bought
WEC – bought
ProElite XC – bankrupt
IFL – bankrupt
Affliction – bankrupt
Strikeforce – bought

On the other hand, there are some remarkably successful shows that don't aspire to the potential fabulous riches of PPV, and instead seek to give regional fans everything they want, and send their best up fighters up to the UFC on the regular basis.

At the head of that class is Lou Negia's Ring of Combat, which is the American Idol for future MMA stars. Ring of Combat 47 sold out the Tropicana Casino last Friday

“I am always proud for the support we get receive from the fight fans and the community, said Lou Neglia, Ring of Combat president.  “A lot of hard work goes into each and every Ring of Combat show and when you receive that kind of support from the fans, you just can’t say 'thank you' enough."

Ring of Combat continues to stand behind its successful formula of keeping it simple and giving the fight fans what they pay to see….great, evenly matched, fights from tomorrow's superstars.

This formula was again in play for ROC 47 as five fighters have earned the right to wear ROC gold in competitive and entertaining matchups.  All titles were vacated by ROC alumni who now compete in the UFC such as current UFC Middleweight champion Chris Weidman and undefeated prospect, Ryan LaFlare to name only a couple.

Lou Neglia feels this group of newly crowned champions will also go on to compete in the UFC just like their predecessors.  “This group of new Ring of Combat champions is a very talented group of fighters,” affirms Lou.  “I have no doubt that they will be getting the call to compete in the UFC and just to make it to the big stage  alone makes the ROC team and myself very proud."

At ROC 47, Lou Neglia was joined by good friends and also former Ring of Combat alumni Chris Weidman, Frankie Edgar, and Matt Serra.  All three are regular attendees at Ring of Combat events as they always support the fighters and the organization where they came from.

Ring of Combat is proud to announce their new champions:
Chris Wade • Lightweight Champion
Julio Arce • Bantamweight Champion
Elijah Harshbarger • Welterweight Champion
Keith Barish • Middlweight Champion
James Jenkins • Featherweight Champion

ROAD TO GLORY USA

HITS NEW YORK CITY WITH

ONE-NIGHT, EIGHT-MAN WELTERWEIGHT TOURNAMENT

 

WINNER OF DEVELOPMENT SERIES TOURNAMENT

RECEIVES $20,000 GRAND PRIZE, ONE-YEAR CONTRACT WITH WORLD’S NEW PREMIERE KICKBOXING LEAGUE

 

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

SINGAPORE (Feb. 19, 2013) – Glory Sports International (GSI), the parent company of the world’s new premiere kickboxing league, announced today that it will bring it’s ROAD TO GLORY USA development fight series designed to identify America’s next great kickboxing superstars, to Lou Neglia’s Combat at the Capitale in New York, NY on Friday, March 22.

The winner of the eight-man, single-elimination welterweight (170 pounds/77 kilograms) tournament featuring a host of prolific, up-and-coming competitors, will be awarded a $20,000 grand prize and a one-year contract with GLORY, home of the world’s elite kickboxing champions and superstars. 

Tickets for the event are priced from $40 for standing admission and $55, $75, and $100 for seated admission, and can be purchased at the door or in advance by phone at 516-458-4989.  The tournament is being held as part of a kickboxing fight card being promoted by former world champion Louis Neglia. “I’m very excited to see the top kickboxers compete and be featured in the new premier kickboxing league, as well as have a chance to be compensated monetarily for their talent, sacrifice, and hard work” says Lou, who is a top fight promoter.

 “We are thrilled to bring our all-new ROAD TO GLORY development tournament series to fight fans in New York City, one of the world’s greatest sports and entertainment epicenters,” said GLORY CEO Andrew Whitaker. 

“With the two ROAD TO GLORY tournaments we’ve held in the U.S. thus far,” continued Whitaker, “we’ve been able to discover tremendously bright and promising young kickboxers who could be developed to one day compete on GLORY’s championship stage, which is exactly what ROAD TO GLORY was created for.  We are confident that we will continue to unearth all kinds of new talent across the country, beginning with the upcoming event in New York.”

Undefeated rising stars Ryan Parker (14-0, 3 KOs) of Rochester, N.Y. and Brett Hlavacek (6-0, 2 KOs) of New York will be joined in the tournament draw by KO artists Anthony Nieves (10-4, 8 KOs) of Atlanta, Ga. and Jeremy Carper (5-1, 5 KOs) of Martinsburg, W. Va., battle-tested star Tarek Rached (24-3, 11 KOs) of New York, road warrior Marcus Fisher (16-9, 3 KOs) of Pittsburg, Pa. and promising upstarts Eric Utsch (5-1, 1 KO) of Breinigsville, Pa. and Francois Ambang (6-2, 2 KOs) of Mechanicsville, Va.

Tae Kwon Do black belt and Muay Thai champion Cyrus Washington (52-21-1, 48 KOs) of Macallen, Texas will square off with Chris Clodfelter (7-3-1, 3 KOs) of King, N.C. in a tournament “reserve” bout on the card.  Should any of the tournament’s quarterfinal round fight winners be unable to return to the ring for semifinal round action due to injury sustained en route to victory, the winner of the matchup between Washington and Clodfelter will take the injured fighter’s place in the tournament.

A draw to determine the ROAD TO GLORY USA welterweight tournament’s quarterfinal round matchups will take place on a date and at a location to be announced soon. 

Doors at Capitale will open for the event at 7 p.m. EST and the first preliminary bout begins at 8 p.m. 

For more information, visit www.gloryworldseries.com. 

About GLORY:

GLORY World Series (www.gloryworldseries.com) is the world's new premier kickboxing league, producing live events across the globe and offering up to $2 million in prize money to the winners of one-night, 16-man ‘Grand Slam’ tournaments, which are open to only the best fighters in each of six different weight classes. The fight series also includes 8-man ‘Slam’ tournaments and events with traditional, single bouts.

With television deals spanning every continent, online live video streaming of all shows and the world's largest online martial arts library, GLORY is one of the world's most widely distributed sporting organizations.

Owned and operated by Glory Sports International (GSI), the organization has offices in the UK, Holland, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and soon in the USA. Its personnel include an unprecedented mix of accomplished entrepreneurs and senior level executives from the diverse worlds of finance, sports marketing, television and martial arts fighting.


In 2013, GLORY launched the ROAD TO GLORY tournament fight series to identify and develop new kickboxing talent in The United States, Japan and elsewhere around the globe into future champions and superstars of the sport. 

Contact:

Mike Afromowitz – press@gloryworldseries.com

Latest ROC Fighter Turned UFC Star: Costa Philippou

Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat is one of the longest running and most successful MMA promotions in the country.  More than 80 ROC fighters have moved on to the UFC and other top promotions, including former UFC champions Frankie Edgar and Matt Serra.  Recently, two more former ROC fighters have been making headlines in the UFC.  UFC title contenders Chris Weidman and Costa Philippou, both of whom fought solely at the Ring of Combat before signing with the UFC, are both on five fight win streaks in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Philippou, who fought nine times at the Ring of Combat before getting the call from the UFC, recently destroyed highly ranked Tim Boetsch at UFC 155.  Costa's dominance over Boetsch was a surprise to many fans, but not to Lou Neglia.  Lou, a former world champion kick boxer, does his own matchmaking at the Ring of Combat, and he saw Costa's potential early on.  Lou's tough matchmaking has benefitted Costa, who has shown himself to be well prepared for the UFC.

There are no easy fights at the ROC, which is one reason why so many ROC fighters move on to the "big show."  If you have what it takes to succeed at the Ring of Combat, you are prepared for the UFC.  And there is also the name recognition that fighters develop when fighting at the ROC.  Lou puts on four or five shows a year, and ROC fighters get known by fight fans before they hit the big time.  The UFC and other big promotions know well of the ROC's reputation, and it's clear that they look to the ROC for new talent.

As a former champion, Lou Neglia knows what it takes to succeed in combat sports.  And he looks for those types of championship qualities in his own fighters.  At the ROC, a fighter's won-lost record doesn't mean as much as his heart and passion for the sport.  If a fighter shows talent and determination and loses at a ROC event, he is not in danger of being cut.  The big shows would rather take a 7-3 fighter from the ROC than a 10-0 fighter from another organization, because they know that whoever fights at the ROC will have been in with very challenging opponents.  Records can be deceiving, ands some promoters try to pad certain fighters' records by giving them easy fights and putting them in mismatches. 

That does not happen at the Ring of Combat.  Only genuine fighters fight there–not guys who want to impress people by saying they're fighters.  If you're a "pretty boy" fighter who wants easy victories, the ROC is not for you.  And the UFC knows that.

The latest Ring of Combat, number 43, is coming up on January 25, 2013, and as always, it will feature world-class MMA talent.  At the top of the card is undefeated Ryan LaFlare.  Ryan has fought six times at the ROC, finishing all his opponents, four of them in the first round.

Also on the card is Deividas Taurosevicius, a fierce competitor who has fought for promotions such as Bellator and the WEC, and who is coming off an exciting come from behind arm bar submission at Ring of Combat 42 back in September.  Deividas displayed great courage and determination in that fight and he lived up to Lou's credo that "It's not how hard you get hit, it's how fast you get up." 

Deividas and Ryan are the kind of fighters that Lou likes.  Lou is a promoter and matchmaker, but he's also a fan.  And he makes the kinds of fights that fans want to see.  "Tough fights make great fighters," Lou says, and the proof is in the ROC and in UFC.

Like American Idol, the Ring of Combat develops talent and showcases rising stars before they get to the big time.  Talented fighters get to showcase their skills to a wider audience, including the UFC's and other big shows' talent scouts, while developing their skills against top opposition.  And like American Idol, stars are born in the Ring of Combat cage.  Some even go on to be UFC champions.  Will Weidman and Costa be next?  It's a good bet that one of both of these fighters will reach the highest levels in the UFC.

Who will be the next MMA superstar?  Find out on January 25 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at Ring of Combat 43. 

Kick Force is a Japanese cartoon animation starring former world kickboxing champion Lou Neglia. Let the adventure begin!

Lou Neglia: Proud of His Ring of Combat Alumni

Lou Neglia is a former world kickboxing champion, and president of Ring of Combat, one of the longest running MMA promotions outside of the UFC.   Of course, Lou takes great pride in his world championship, but he takes just as much pride in turning young fighters into UFC veterans and champions.  Eighty mixed martial artists who got their start at the Ring of Combat have moved onto the UFC and had highly successful careers, a feat that is perhaps unmatched in MMA history.

Three examples out of the eighty fighters who have moved on to the UFC are Matt Serra, Costa Philippou and Chris Weidman.  These three warriors all fought for Lou Neglia exclusively before moving up to the UFC.  Matt Serra, who used to fight at Lou's Vengeance at the Vanderbilt show, went on to become a UFC champion.  Costa Philippou is currently riding a four fight win streak in the UFC, and quickly moving up the ranks.   And Chris Weidman is getting off to an amazing start with the UFC.  Undefeated in his MMA career, he is 4-0 at the ROC and 5-0 in the UFC, and is coming off a dominating win over highly ranked Mark Munoz.  Neglia feels that the sky is the limit for Weidman, and expects Chris to win the UFC middleweight championship in the near future. 

"Weidman has the mental toughness to be a champion," Lou says.  "He has confidence in himself and never worries about the other guy.  When he gets hit, he grits his teeth and fires back.  Other guys fold, but not Chris Weidman.  He has all the tools.  He's championship quality."

Lou then goes on to address  Anderson Silva, the legendary UFC middleweight champion:  "Chris Weidman is coming for you, and he will take you down and that will be his avenue to his victory." 

Yet another fighter who fought exclusively for Lou before moving up into a Zuffa-owned promotion is Strikeforce star Gian Villante.  Villante is on a three fight win streak at Strikeforce, and Lou expects big things from him.  These are just four examples out of a total of eighty who have gone on to big things in their MMA careers.

As you can see, Lou is very proud of his fighters, and proud of the way that the Ring of Combat has prepared them for the UFC.   For its part, the UFC is well aware of the quality of competition that the ROC offers, which is why so many ROC fighters now fight there.  In this business, it's who you fight and how you fight rather than just your record that gets you into the big leagues.  There are examples of the UFC declining 10-0 fighters who have fought in other organizations in favor of signing 7-3 fighters who have proven themselves in the ROC cage.  Lou Neglia's philosophy is competitive fights make great fighters, not just when you get to the UFC, but at every step of the way.  For fighters looking to pad their records, participate in mismatches or get easy fights, Lou will be the first to say that the Ring of Combat is definitely not the place to go.  And his long list of successful alumni shows the wisdom of this way of thinking.

Another important part of the Ring of Combat's success–it sells out every show–is that Neglia doesn't try to compete with the UFC.  He's more than happy with finding and developing talented fighters to the point where they can compete and succeed in the big show.   

Several MMA promoters have approached Lou about merging their promotions in order to compete with the UFC.  Lou always declines the offers.   He sees through these offers, and knows that many promoters are driven by greed and jealousy of the UFC–which is why they wind up folding while the ROC continues to thrive.

Lou Neglia will continue to put on great shows and develop the MMA stars of tomorrow.  It's his niche and something he loves doing.  He always feels a special joy when ripping up a contract with a fighter because that fighter got a call from the UFC.  As a former fighter and world champion himself, Neglia knows that the ultimate goal of any fighter is to achieve a world title.  He's proud that his Ring of Combat is the ultimate stepping-stone to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and will be for years to come. 

MMA reporter Kristen Brown interviews Lou Neglia at his home. 

 

by Jim Genia

If you view the Northeast as a microcosm of the MMA world, then Ring of Combat and promoter Lou Neglia are akin to the UFC and Dana White. You simply cannot be a homegrown aspiring pro fighter around these parts without harboring designs on making your mark in ROC (or the Cage Fury Fighting Championship, but that's for another post), and given that dozens and dozens of UFC veterans can credit ROC as the stepping stone that helped them reach the Octagon, well, that makes Neglia the man who laid those stones down to create that path.

It's not hard to find old pics of Neglia from his championship-kickboxer days, but most of us know him as a promoter. Ring of Combat, which began in 2002 and is now up to its thirty-eighth pro installment, is perhaps his greatest achievement in the realm of MMA; however, there are amateur MMA events in there, too, plus a long-running NYC-based kickboxing show called Combat at the Capitale and a seemingly endless number of one-off events (Battle on Broadway featured kickboxing and MMA bouts in a hotel ballroom in Times Square almost a decade ago, while there was a recent kickboxing extravaganza out in Brighton Beach). Before that, there were fourteen Vengeance at the Vanderbilt installments on Long Island, which saw the likes of Matt Serra and Pete Sell getting their MMA on… heck, the first sanctioned MMA bout in New Jersey took place on one of Neglia's show in Atlantic City. "Longevity" may be an abstract concept to some promoters, but to Neglia, that word is like a genetic sequence coded into his DNA.

It takes a very shrewd business men to survive for any length of time in this sport, but Neglia has managed to temper that necessary shrewdness with traits like kindness, compassion and a genuine friendliness. If you're a reporter, he'll accomodate you; if you're a promising young upstart, he'll make sure you're tested (remember: padded records don't get you into the UFC, hard fights do); and if you're a grizzled veteran, he'll find a spot for you on the next card.

There's a few reasons why ROC has thrived for so long. But without question, the biggest one is Neglia.

by Kevin Garvey

MMA has seen many new organizations try to go head to head with the UFC and fail.  EliteXC,  Affliction, Bodog and the IFL all tried to compete with the UFC, but soon realized why the UFC is the number 1 MMA organization in the world.  It's nice to think big, but in MMA you have to be realistic.  The UFC is number 1 for a reason.  It has the best fighters on the planet and the best brand recognition.  And when it comes to business, Dana White and the Ferttitta brothers take a no holds barred approach to beating the competition, which is why the UFC is still the undisputed champion of MMA promotions.

One organization, however, Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat, has managed to thrive where so many others have failed.  The ROC is one of the longest running shows outside of the UFC, and the longest sanctioned promotion outside of the UFC.   And there is good reason for this.  Instead of trying to compete with the UFC, Lou Neglia sees his promotion as one where fighters can hone their skills to such a level that they can move on to the big show.  Indeed, where other promoters try to lock up their fighters into contracts that forbid them from fighting in the UFC, Lou encourages his fighters to move upwards and onwards.

"The UFC deserves its place in history," Lou said.  "They are the World Series of MMA.  I have a great relationship with the UFC and even have their logo on one of my event  posters.  When a fighter tells me he has on offer from the UFC, I gladly rip up his contract."

As a former kickboxing world champion himself, Lou understands the ambitions of professional fighters, and has a keen insight into what it takes to be a high level professional athlete.  He would never dream of trying to stifle their growth.   Lou takes great pride in developing the talents of his fighters, to the extent that an astounding 44 fighters who have fought at the ROC have moved on to the UFC, including current UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.  Many more if you count those who have moved on to Bellator, the WEC and Strikeforce.

Not only is Neglia the CEO of Ring of Combat, he is the matchmaker too.  And he's a tough matchmaker–there are no "gimme" fights at the ROC.  In this way, Lou prepares fighters for the adversity they will face in the Octagon.  He does his best to give fighters the kinds of tough fights they need to take the ultimate step in their MMA career.

"If you give people easy fights, what happens when they get to the UFC?" Lou said.  "The best fighters are in the UFC and you need to be prepared."

This mindset is why so many of his fighters have gone on to have great success in the Octagon.  Chris Weidman is the latest example of a fighter who fought his entire pro career at the Ring of Combat and is now undefeated in three fights in the Octagon.   His tough fights at the ROC have prepared him for the tough fights in the UFC.

But the ROC is about more than just finding and developing new talent.  The shows always feature "superfights" which include some of the sport's biggest names from all around the world.  At ROC XVIII, for example, the card featured fighters from Brazil, Canada and even the Republic of Georgia, making it a true international event.

This is all part of Lou's strategy to make the Ring of Combat the biggest show not competing with the UFC.  And his formula is working.  He is providing fighters with an opportunity of a lifetime, as well as giving MMA fans what they want most: the best fights you can find outside of the UFC.

Aug 1, 2011: Muay Thaimes: The Story of 3X World Champ Lou Neglia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ring of Combat XXXI: A Night to Remember

By Shawn Baran

TheGARV.com

What can I say about the Ring of Combat XXXI card that took place Saturday night from The Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ?  Well, I will say that there is a reason that New Jersey produces some of the best MMA fighters out there today.  One of the organizations that produce these fighters is Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat.  There have been 40+ fighters from ROC that have gone on to obtain UFC contracts.  Saturday night proved exactly why that is.

From the preliminary card to the main card and the title fights, the action never let up.  Neither did the crowd for that matter.  There were several empty seats in the Grand Ballroom Saturday night, but it was not because people did show up.  They just spent most of the night standing and cheering for their fighter.  One thing about ROC events, they attract some of the die-hard fans of MMA and boy, are they passionate. 

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The Herald

July 15, 2010

MMA Has Strong Local Flavor

by Steve Siniski

When Lou Neglia talks Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), people tend to listen — and for good reason. A former three-time world kickboxing champion in the 1980s who boasted a career record of 34-2, Neglia is now one of the preeminent MMA promoters in the United States.

His Ring of Combat promotion at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City has helped launch the careers of 39 MMA fighters to the sport’s top level, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), including East Meadow’s Matt Serra. So when Neglia throws out the name of someone he thinks is nearing the launching pad to be the 40th to advance from the Ring of Combat ranks to the UFC, it carries plenty of weight. The fighter in his sights is Ryan LaFlare, the Ring of Combat’s current welterweight champion who competes out of the Bellmore Kickboxing Academy.

“I believe Ryan [can] be the next Ring of Combat fighter to get to the UFC,” said Neglia, who resides in Bellmore. “He fights to win and doesn’t fight not to lose. [Ryan] fights from the beginning to the end of a round, has a great fighting spirit, the heart of a lion and is in great condition.

“He does his homework and has the stamina and work ethic required.”

LaFlare sports a sparkling 6-0 mark as a professional in Ring of Combat competition and successfully defended his title June 11 in Atlantic City with a second-round technical knockout of Mike Medrano. The referee stopped the bout at the 4:07 mark of the round due to strikes by LaFlare. He’s scheduled to put the belt on the line again Sept. 24, but in a show promoted by Neglia, no outcome is a given. “Styles make fights,” said Neglia, who schedules up to 16 bouts per show at the routinely sold-out Tropicana. “When I match up fights at shows, I don’t even know who’s going to win.”

LaFlare agrees with that assertion. “I think it’s the most competitive [organization] besides Strikeforce and the UFC,” he said.

A former wrestler, LaFlare’s first experiences with mixed martial arts helped quench his thirst for competition. Now, he’s trying to turn it into a full-fledged career. “I’ve wrestled my entire life,” he said. “I always liked the competition and used to watch. Then I got into submission wrestling and saw all of the jiu jitsu.”

As a professional, he trains twice a day, five times a week in a variety of fighting disciplines. Trained by Keith Tremble of Bellmore’s Kickboxing Academy, LaFlare also hones his wrestling skills with coach Kenny Willis and develops his jiu jitsu skills at D’Arce Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. “You have to be equally good in everything,” LaFlare said. “All the training at Bellmore Kickboxing has really put that all together for me.”

Judging by the results of his first six professional bouts, all wins, with two coming via knockout, two by technical knockout and two by armbar submissions, it’s clear LaFlare has developed into a well-rounded fighter. “There’s so many ways to win,” Neglia said. “That’s what makes it so exciting. If you get hit and don’t like what’s happening, you can take it down [to the mat]. Anything can happen at any time.”

As important as the physical aspect of MMA is, the mental aspect plays just as big, if not a bigger role in the development of a fighter’s career. As Neglia points out, being successful takes far more than just showing up in an arena on fight night with a mean mug and a big right hook. “That journey of two and a half to three months of gruesome training is the hard part,” he said. “The hard part is getting competition-ready. It’s a lot of sacrificing that a lot of people couldn’t handle.”

Decried by some as brutal, including New York lawmakers who continue to ban the sport in the state and refuse to approve sanctioning, MMA’s hopes for a reversal were recently dealt another blow when a proposed bill to allow professional bouts was struck down by the state assembly.

New York remains one of just six states that does not sanction MMA fights, but the long-running debate appears to be far from over. “The greatest fighters in MMA should fight in the greatest arena [Madison Square Garden],” said Neglia, who experienced that exact rush by winning the World Kickboxing title at MSG in 1983.

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June 27, 2008
 

Promoter Neglia finds mixed martial arts home in A.C. for Ring of Combat

By DAVID WEINBERG Staff Writer
Published: Friday, June 27, 2008

ATLANTIC CITY – Mixed martial arts promoter Louis Neglia figured out a few years ago that it is easier to scale a mountain by taking a roundabout route than by charging straight up its face.

It is that conservative approach that has kept Neglia's Ring of Combat as one of MMA's strongest organizations while others have been forced to tap out after becoming tapped out.

According to published reports, organizations such as EliteXC and International Fight League are struggling financially and Vineland-based Cage Fury Fighting Championships folded last year.

"Those other (MMA) promoters are like used-car salesmen just looking to make a quick buck," said Neglia, who will stage Ring of Combat XX tonight at Tropicana Casino and Resort. "I'm doing this for the love of the sport."

Neglia, a 55-year-old native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is one of MMA's pioneers. Along with Ray Longo, he staged the first fight sanctioned by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board.

On Feb. 26, 2000, Neglia convinced then-NJACB commissioner Larry Hazzard to approve a one-round exhibition between Steve Anshelewitz and Mark Shopp as part of a full-contact karate show held at the Trop. A few months later, the NJACB got together with a few MMA promoters and fighters to devise the rules and regulations that are now universally used in fights.

In the past eight years, a number of MMA organizations have held cards in Atlantic City, including high-profile outfits such as UFC, EliteXC and International Fight League. But none have had the consistent presence in town like Ring of Combat. Tonight's card will be Neglia's 11th straight on the Boardwalk.

"We've been doing business with Louis for a number of years now and I can honestly say we have never had a single problem," said state Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Lembo, the NJACB's legal counsel who also oversees most of the state's MMA shows. "We've never had a single fighter complain, and that's rare in MMA and boxing.

"Louis also deserves a lot of credit for the quality of his shows. If you're a fan, you know that when you go to Ring of Combat, you're going to see competitive, exciting fights."

The Tropicana evidently agrees. Eighteen of the previous 19 Ring of Combat cards have been held in its showroom – Ring of Combat IX was in Asbury Park – and two more are scheduled for Sept. 12 and Nov. 21, respectively.

While other casinos such as the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Showboat Casino-Hotel have dabbled in professional MMA, the Trop is the only one that has made it a main course on its entertainment menu. In addition to Ring of Combat, Battle Cage Xtreme is slated to hold cards at the Trop on July 12 and Oct. 18.

"We were looking for something that would appeal to a younger demographic that spends a lot of time in The Quarter (at the Trop)," said Michelle Robb, Tropicana's entertainment director. "Some of our concerts don't appeal to that age group, but MMA certainly does. Every event we've had here has done very well."

Ring of Combat's appeal centers around its deep stable of fighters. Several of its top performers such as Phil Barone, Frankie Edgar and Matt Serra have gone on to compete for higher-profile organizations like UFC.

Because Neglia does not permit mismatches, each of tonight's 14 bouts is regarded as a toss-up. Fighters who want to be coddled and protected should seek other organizations. That usually makes for even, competitive matches that can only help the sport.

"I'm not like some of the other promoters in that I have no interest in signing has-beens or guys with no talent," said Neglia, who was a three-time world kickboxing champion. "I don't care if a guy is from Kalamazoo, Mich.; if he can fight, I'm interested.

"I pay my fighters well (usually between $4,000 and $25,000), and they also know that I look out for them and care about them. They all know that my word is my bond and that's the most important thing."

NOTES: Doors to Tropicana's Showroom open at 8 p.m. with the first undercard bout scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Three championship fights are scheduled. The main event is the USKBA welterweight title bout between Nick Catone and Erick Tavares. Tickets are priced from $50 to $150 and are available at the Trop box office and through TicketMaster.

June 28, 2008

With Ring of Combat, Lou Neglia shows MMA promoters how it should be done

By Pramit Mohapatra of Fight Ticker

Over the last 18 months, I've been fortunate enough to cover MMA at its best having been Octagonside for three historic UFC events (Couture-Sylvia, Rampage-Liddell, and Liddell-Silva.) I've also been cageside watching intently as a new promotion like EliteXC struggles to gain credibility from and acceptance with the MMA public. And, unfortunately, I've been a first-hand witness to the failures of the now-defunct Bodog and IFL promotions.

While the UFC has clearly hit upon a formula for success, leagues like Bodog, IFL, and even EliteXC could learn a lesson or two from Lou Neglia, who puts on highly-recommended regional MMA cards in New Jersey with his Ring of Combat promotion.

Last night I attended my second Ring of Combat (ROC) event this year and for the second time I came away a believer. Neglia has figured out his own formula for success that has allowed him to now put on 20 events under the ROC banner, with two more planned for later this year. How has he done it? I thought about the two events I've attended and came up with some answers:

1) Venue. A major mistake promotions like the IFL, Bodog, and even EliteXC make consistently is that they rent big-time arenas (the kind only the UFC can fill) and routinely fall far short of arena sell-outs. In the case of the IFL and Bodog, arenas at the events I went to were 3/4 or more empty. Even EliteXC struggles to put 10,000 people in the seats for a Kimbo Slice-headlined card.

Neglia, on the other hand, holds his shows in the cozy confines of the Tropicana showroom in Atlantic City, which can't hold more than a couple of thousand people and pretty much sells the venue out. There's something to be said for picking the right-sized venue and packing it to create intensity and an experience that is far superior to sitting in the Izod center in the Meadowlands and being able to hear a pin drop.

2) Location. Remember when it seemed like every MMA event was held near a casino? Well, many up-and-coming promotions have forgotten that equation and have held events in some rather "interesting" locations. There's no doubt, however, that gambling and fighting go hand-in-hand.

While it's been a long time since a major promotion such as the UFC has ventured to Atlantic City, Neglia certainly hasn't forgotten the inherent benefits of putting on live shows in a location that is more conducive for holding such events than the average city. Rather than putting on a show in a place like Stockton, Calif., where there are few other attractions, ROC events are located in a hotel and in a city which provide MMA fans with far more than just MMA action to fulfill their entertainment needs. Atlantic City has restaurants, clubs, and casinos to pass the time. And, while it's not Las Vegas, it certainly is a major step up from Newark for traveling MMA fans.

3) Hospitality. Neglia also hasn't forgotten that it's the paying fans who keep promotions like his afloat. And, he treats ROC attendees like he cares about them. Between every fight on the card, ring girls toss prizes into the stands. The girls are also very accessible for pictures with their adoring fans. Each event ticket comes with free drinks, which is a nice perk if you're into consumption of beverages. And, maybe most importantly, fans can essentially walk up to the cage and take pictures during fights. In addition, a ROC ticket stub gives attendees free admission into the Tropicana's best night club, Providence, after the fights are over. While this might sound like a chaotic mix, somehow it all seems to come together to produce what appears to be a very content and entertained crowd. Fans don't simply get MMA fights when they attend a ROC event — they get a night's worth of entertainment.

And, with tickets affordably priced between $50 and $150, the night's entertainment won't break the bank like a UFC event will.

4) Fighters. Something else Neglia hasn't forgotten is that fights involving participants fans have a connection to are much more compelling. So, he fills a majority of ROC cards with local fighters. New Jersey and New York-area academies such as Serra Longo and Tiger Schulmann and numerous others are well-represented and each fighter brings a strong contingent of fans to the event. It's not a stretch to say that many in attendance have a direct rooting interest in at least one fighter in the event.

5) Pace of the card. Neglia keeps his cards moving, wasting very little time between fights. So, while last night's card was full of quick, lopsided matchups, fans had little time to worry about what they'd just seen because the next fight was ready to go within five minutes. As EliteXC proved at the May 31 event in Newark, nothing kills a buzz better than sitting around, waiting for the next fight to begin.

While overly-ambitious promotions arrive on the MMA scene with delusions of grandeur and fade away within months, Neglia has become a fixture in the northeast MMA scene by keeping his events simple and fan-friendly and by not over-reaching. ROC isn't the only promotion out there that adheres to these few rules but it is the one regional promotion I've become acquainted with — very happily — over the last few months.

Neglia's next event, ROC XXI, is scheduled for September 12 back at the Tropicana Showroom. And, if you haven't figured it out by now, I'll be there for sure.

PRESS RELEASE
November 30, 2007

MARK CUBAN’S HDNET FIGHTS & LOUIS NEGLIA’S RING OF COMBAT

JOIN FORCES TO BRING THE NORTHEAST’S LEADING MMA EVENT INTO MILLIONS OF HOUSEHOLDS

The Kicks-Off Event Will be Held at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City,

 November 30, 2007

(Atlantic City, NJ) – November XX, 2007 – HDNet Fights, the newly launched Mixed Martial Arts League from Dallas Mavericks owner and Internet broadcasting pioneer Mark Cuban today announced an exciting new partnership with legendary World Champion Louis Neglia’s Ring of Combat, the northeast’s leading Mixed Martian Arts (MMA) event series.

The partnership will debut with the broadcast of HDNet Fights Presents: Ring of Combat.  This first telecast on HDNet will be of Neglia’s Ring of Combat Beasts of the Northeast Tournament Finals on November 30, 2007 at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, NJ.  HDNet will air the event at a later date to be determined.

The mission of HDNet Fights is to grow the sport through its own events via the HDNet Fights brand and by bringing attention to the top regional MMA organizations, such as Ring of Combat, through its “HDNet Fights Presents” banner.

For over ten years, Louis Neglia has provided the most action-packed MMA events in the Northeast through his Ring of Combat tournaments. This partnership with HDNet Fights affirms Neglia’s ongoing commitment to bringing quality fighters from around the world together and producing the best events in the region and is now leading the charge in bringing high-definition quality MMA bouts to living rooms nationwide.  Previous Ring of Combat events have been televised on the Madison Square Garden Cable Network, Telemundo, Sports Channel, ESPN2 and on iNDEMAND Pay-Per-View.

The main fight-card for the November 30th Tournament will feature bouts between MMA stars Gregor Gracie from Team Renzo Gracie vs. Eric Henry (from Team XXX), as well as Jim Miller (XXXX) vs. Chris Liguori (XXXXX), among many other action packed bouts.

“Mixed Martial Arts is becoming a truly revolutionary sport, surpassing almost every major sport in popularity among its target demographic,” stated World Champion and Ring of Combat promoter Louis Neglia, whose tireless efforts have developed a truly loyal and energetic fan base. “We are committed to producing some of the greatest MMA events and giving our fighters the respect and care they deserve.”

Louis Neglia is a three-time world kickboxing champion, and has performed in some of the largest arenas in the world. He was named “Fighter of the Year” and inducted into the Karate Hall of Fame, among other notable achievements. Louis Neglia Presents… has hosted sellout Mixed Martial Arts events at the Taj Mahal, Caesars Palace and the Tropicana in Atlantic City, the Marriott International, the Meadowlands, The Capitale in New York City and Madison Square Garden, to name a few.

HDNet produces more original sports, music, news, and entertainment programming than any other domestic network.  HDNet Fights is HDNet’s new Mixed Martial Arts initiative showcasing cutting-edge competition and events for the ultimate MMA fan. “Inside MMA” on HDNet brings viewers inside the world of Mixed Martial Arts with expert coverage and in-depth interviews with todays top MMA fighters and trainers.

Launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban and General Manager Philip Garvin, the HDNet is available on AT&T, Bright House Networks, Charter Communications, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and more than 40 NCTC cable affiliate companies. For more information, please visit www.hd.net, www.hdnetfights.com, or www.ringofcombat.com.

The EVILMASTER REPORT
March 30, 2007

LEGENDARY FIGHTER & PROMOTER LOUIS NEGLIA TO ANNOUNCE PPV SCHEDULE FOR THE RING OF COMBAT

World Champion Louis Neglia today announced the season premiere of Ring of Combat – Tournament of Champions championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events. The first available pay-per-view broadcast of the event debuts on Friday, June 29, 2007, at 10:00 PM EDT with replays throughout the month of June and July and will cost a budget-minded $19.95.

Louis Neglia’s Ring of Combat has held many of the most action packed MMA events that the Northeast has seen and is moving up to the next level of competition and moving up to a new level of broadcast exposure.

"Mixed Martial Arts is becoming a truly revolutionary sport, surpassing almost every major sport in popularity among its target demographic group of 18-34 year old males,” said Louis Neglia, founder and promoter of Ring of Combat. “2007 will be the best year yet for the Ring of Combat tournament and our partnership with Pay Per View is breaking new ground for our fans and creating new exposure for our sport and broadcasting partners. Our PPV broadcasts will be available for a reasonable and affordable $19.95, giving fight fans and the hard working man and woman the opportunity to be inside the ring when the action starts.”

Recent Pay-Per-View (PPV) broadcasts of MMA events exceeded 700,000 buys in early 2006 and then closed out the year with the highest PPV buys ever with more than 1,000,000 for a single event. Louis Neglia’s Ring of Combat is sure to be a crowd pleaser, with finals scheduled for and April 27th respectively. The top fighters in each of three different weight divisions – Lightweight, Welterweight and Middleweight will vie to be the Champion in their respective divisions and for their share of more than $100,000 in prize money.

Louis Neglia’s Ring of Combat – Tournament of Champions Finals will be held live at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ on Friday, April 27, 2007 at 9:00pm EDT. Fighters from around the world will be competing for their share of a $100,000 purse. MMA finalists competing in the Tournament of Champions Finals include, Binky Jones of Maryland vs. Ian Loveland of Oregon; Todd War of Texas vs. Philippe Nova of New York and Marc Stevens of Delaware vs. Jason House of Texas.

“Having been a former world champion myself, I know how difficult the life of a fighter is and this is why I created Ring of Combat in 2000 into one of the only MMA events that truly rewards talented and undiscovered fighters with substantial compensation and TV exposure for their hard-fought efforts,” added Neglia. “With Ring of Combat, we are giving these up-and-coming fighters the support and compensation they deserve and bringing honor to the MMA world.”

About World Champion Louis Neglia Presents…Louis Neglia is a three-time world kickboxing champion, has performed in some of the largest arenas in the world and has starred in three martial arts films. He was named “Fighter of the Year” and inducted into the Karate Hall of Fame, among other notable achievements. Louis Neglia Presents has hosted sellout Mixed Martial Arts events at the Taj Mahal, Caesars Palace and the Tropicana in Atlantic City, the Marriott International, the Meadowlands, The Capitale in New York City and Madison Square Garden, to name a few. Louis Neglia Presents events have been televised on the Madison Square Garden Cable Network, Telemundo, Sports Channel, ESPN2 and on Pay Per View. Louis Neglia Presents Ring of Combat is one of the most action packed Mixed Martial Arts events that the Northeast has seen. For more information visit: www.louneglia.com.

The Daily News
September 15 2006
Written By Clem Richardson

School is out of the (kick)box

Young students at Louis Neglia Martial Arts Academy in Gravesend learn all the right moves from three-time World Kickboxing Champion Neglia (center).

Dozens of inspirational phrases – stuff like "Quitters Never Win; Winners Never Quit" – festoon the walls of the Louis Neglia Martial Arts Academy in Gravesend, Brooklyn.

But only one sprang to mind after watching 12 of the former three-time World Kickboxing Champion's students go through their paces: "If you want to kickbox, train hard; if you want to win, train harder."

A punishing warmup of stretches, leg lifts and pushups doesn't hint at the mayhem to follow as students pair off and proceed to execute a series of close-order, synchronized jabs, punches and lightning-fast kicks to each opponent's shins.

All this while the barefoot Neglia, 52, prowls the room, barking out moves students are to execute and shouting encouragement or criticism as needed.

"Jab! Jab! Jab!" Neglia says in his Brooklyn staccato. "Now kick! Remember, there is no power in the leg! The power is in the hips! Jab! Jab! Jab! Now fake the jab and kick!"

On and on it seems to go, five two-minute rounds of punching, kicking and ducking broken up by 30-second or one-minute breaks that students use to put on more protective equipment as the intensity progresses.

Afterward they pair off again and climb into the boxing ring at the back of the room, or dojo, where they go at each other freestyle, with Neglia again barking encouragement and his observations but largely leaving the attack and defense to the student.

If it looks brutal, that's because it is. But Neglia's students wouldn't have it any other way.

"I love it," said John O'Dea, 35, a Port Authority policeman stationed at LaGuardia Airport. "It lets me get out my aggression and stay in shape. I've been coming here since I was 12, and I look up to Lou like a father."

"Lou is a great man," seconds Maurice Elbaz, 37, a lawyer and emergency medical technician who trained with Neglia for many years. "He works you hard, but he looks out for you, too. You can come to him with any kind of problem and he's there for you."

Neglia was about 14 years old when he discovered kickboxing and instantly fell in love. "I thought it was very hard, so I wanted to see if I could do it," he said.

That curiosity would lead the Brooklyn native to his three world kickboxing titles, a U.S. kickboxing crown, as well as Florida, New York State and Eastern American karate championships in the 1980s.

"My parents didn't know what to do when I told them I was going to be a professional kickboxer," he said. "I had a brother [Peter] who was a lawyer and a sister [Maria] who was a commodities trader."

Neglia would go on to amass a record 34 wins against only two loses. He received the Fighter of the Year award in 1984 and, on his Web site, www.louneglia.com, notes that no opponent lasted more than three rounds with him in the ring.

"Fighting is like chess," he said. "You have to have a strategy. You throw punches to set up other punches. The punch you really want to hurt him with, you don't want him to see that coming."

Newspaper clippings (many from New York's Hometown Paper), photos taken with movie stars and flyers from around the globe pasted on the dojo walls testify to Neglia's heady career. He headlined at Madison Square Garden, Atlantic City and Vegas and appeared on "The Mike Douglas Show." Neglia signed an endorsement deal with Everlast sports equipment company and traveled to Brazil, Israel and parts of Europe to appear in kickboxing competitions and demonstrations.

"It was front-page news when I went to Poland and, again, when I went to Russia," Neglia said, pointing to two front pages bearing his name.

He also starred in four movies; "Fist of Fear, Touch of Death" (1977), "Sun Dragon" (1979), "Hard Way to Die" (1980), and "One Down, Two to Go" (1982).

"I've had great experiences through the martial arts," he said. "They let me do the things I wanted to do."

Neglia walked away from professional competition in 1984, the permanent crease in his often-broken nose ("That goes with fighting," he said) the only physical testimony to his years in the ring.

World middleweight boxing champion "Rocky Graziano used to come to my fights," Neglia said. "After I won the world title in 1984, he took me aside and said, 'What's one more trophy going to mean?' So I was done."

Neglia soon opened his martial arts school, teaching kickboxing, karate, jiu jitsu and grappling. He admits the training is difficult – Neglia claims a competitor once told a prospective student that ambulances seemed to always be parked outside Neglia's dojo.

"There is no feeling in the world like mastering something that's difficult," he said. "The same strategies you use in the ring, you use in life. To be really successful in life, you have to work really hard."

Vincent Pizzuti, 22, credits the discipline he picked up from Neglia with helping him graduate from Brooklyn College last year. "It a hard school, but I got out on time after four years because I was not afraid of hard work," said Pizzuti. "These classes gave me the strength to get through those classes."

Agnese D'Istria, 34, a teacher at Public School 95 on Avenue U, said her seven years with Neglia have been invaluable for relieving the stress of teaching. "I come in here worn out and leave a new person," she said.

Besides his dojo, Neglia also has had a lucrative career promoting kickboxing events here and in Atlantic City. His next, "Combat at the Capitale," is scheduled for Sept. 29 at the Capitale, 130 Bowery, in Manhattan.

Trainer's rules give students a leg up

Louis Neglia's younger students have to maintain a B average to stay in his school. They also must perform a variety of tasks at home, and have their parents sign a list testifying that the children:

Read a book for 20 minutes each day.

  • Helped with a chore they don't normally do.
  • Made up the bed when they woke up.
  • Cleaned their rooms.
  • Put the dishes away after eating.
  • Went to bed on time.
Black Belt Magazine

April 2006

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