Meyrowitz Announces New MMA Venture

By Josh Gross Jan 30, 2008
UFC co-founder Bob Meyrowitz announced Tuesday a new mixed martial arts league called YAMMA Pit Fighting.

As CEO of Semaphore Entertainment Group, Meyrowitz produced UFC events from 1993 through 2000. Now he has formed a company, Rope Partners, that plans on reviving the tournament format and using a new fighting surface, known as "The YAMMA."

According to a press release announcing the league's first event, a pay-per-view card April 11 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., "The YAMMA" will "change the face of the sport and will challenge the relevance of the fighters' trademark tactics, as methods that were previously successful may be rendered useless with the new ring."

The organization's Web site, currently under construction, greets visitors with perhaps a more accurate description of the future of YPF:

"Redefining MMA. On the street it's against the law. In the pit there is no law. THEY'RE BACK!!!!!!"

Details on aspects of "The YAMMA" fighting area were not released.

New Jersey State Athletic Control Board counsel Nick Lembo told Sherdog.com via e-mail that the regulatory body has "approved in concept" schematics and drawings of a fighting area, which, according to YPF, "will greatly alter the current basis of MMA by changing how the fight is fought and the strategy the fighters must use to win."

Said Lembo: "We have yet to see the actual fighting stage, and would have to see it in person" before signing off.

He declined to provide details on the design.

Acknowledging his biggest pet peeve regarding MMA stemmed from bouts stood by a referee, Meyrowitz told Sherdog.com the new fighting area will demand continuous action of competitors.

"One of the original things was to create fights as real as they possibly could be, and having a referee -- whatever great knowledge, whatever good thoughts he has -- stand them up still creates a problem for me," he said. "So this is a way I hope will resolve that."

NJSACB referees following the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts will be employed for the April 11 event, Lembo confirmed.

An announcement regarding additional details about fighters and "The YAMMA" is expected after the Super Bowl, the promoter said.

"People that understand mixed martial arts will get it, and understand why I think it will be a very positive thing for the sport," Meyrowitz said.

Earlier this month, a partnership between Meyrowitz -- whose early promotion of the UFC helped build a negative, violent perception of mixed martial arts, eventually leading to its removal from cable television -- and Live Nation, a concert and live-event promotion company that controls venues across the world, was announced.

In 2006, Multichannel News reported that Meyrowitz was shopping a similarly titled "YAMA" to cable networks. The reality show concept pitted two teams of dissimilar styles in competition.

"We're not building up anger between two men, but rather matching two totally different fighting styles," Meyrowitz told R. Thomas Umstead at the time.

It remains to be seen if the YPF with an additional "M" will reveal a similar concept.
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