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Ring of Combat XXXI: A Night to Remember: Sep 24, 2010

Ring of Combat XXXI: A Night to Remember

By Shawn Baran

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. 


MMA Has Strong Local Flavor

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.

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

June 27, 2008

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

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.

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

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.


November 30, 2007



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,, or