Submission ace Jesse “JT Money” Taylor (27-10) and red-hot finisher Joe Ray (11-3) have entered the highly-anticipated BattleGrounds MMA one-night, eight-man, welterweight (170 pounds) tournament that will award its winner a grand prize of $50,000, live on pay-per-view from BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. on Friday, October 3.
Taylor and Ray will replace Dennis Hallman and Chris Honeycutt, respectively.
“We are thrilled to bring two more highly accomplished competitors like Jesse and Joe into the tournament fold, and are excited by the increased number of potential outcomes that their addition creates for this incredible, one-night event,” said BattleGrounds MMA President and Olympic wrestling gold medalist, Kenny Monday.
A veteran of a number of the world’s current and former top-tier fight promotions, including the UFC, Strikeforce, DREAM and World Series of Fighting, the 6-foot-1, 31-year-old Taylor honed his foundation in wrestling, becoming a two-time Junior College All-American and, later, a standout competitor for NCAA Division I Cal State Fullerton.
Between August 2012 and December 2013, Taylor ran to seven consecutive victories, defeating standouts Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove and Elvis Mutapcic along the way. Taylor also boasts finishes of superstars Denis Kang and Murilo Bustamante.
One of the hottest prospects in MMA, the 5-foot-11, 29-year-old Ray has earned all of his victories to date by (T)KO (7) and submission (4), and enters the BattleGrounds MMA cage on a six-fight winning streak that began nearly three years ago with a first round (1:48) TKO (punches) of Levi LaLonde. In his last start, Ray pulled off an impressive submission of Muay Thai champion Ole Laursen with a guillotine choke in the third round of battle.
Ray relocated from Sarasota, Fla. to Miami in 2007 and began his training in martial arts shortly after the move. In a relatively short time, he has built a powerful foundation in the striking art of Muay Thai, splitting his training camps between American Top Team in South Florida and Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand. In addition to his stellar MMA record, Ray owns a 6-1 record in professional Muay Thai and kickboxing competition.
Taylor and Ray join a tournament field comprised of elite competition in submission wizard Cody “AK Kid” McKenzie (15-4) of Spokane, Wash.; two-time, one-night tournament winner Brock Larson (37-8) of Brainerd, Minn.; hard-hitting brawler Luigi “The Italian Tank” Fioravanti (24-11) of St. Louis, Mo.; Urijah Faber protégé David “Bulletproof” Mitchell (14-4) of Lower Lake, Calif.; Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Roan “Jucao” Carneiro (16-9) of Atlanta, Ga.; and Trey “That Just Happened?” Houston (11-2) of Bixby, Okla.
BattleGrounds MMA ‘O.N.E.’ will be distributed at a price point of $19.95 in the United States and Canada by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing, beginning at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST on both cable and satellite pay-per-view carriers iN DEMAND, DirecTV, DISH and Avail-TVN in the United States and Bell TV and SHAW PPV in Canada. A pre-show will begin at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.
WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross and recently retired UFC superstar Chael Sonnen will call the action live from cageside.