With just days to go, Shine Fights has moved their embattled Lightweight Grand Prix to the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma. However, the event will now be unsanctioned and MMARising.com has confirmed that the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission will have zero involvement.
Shine Fights representatives contacted the OSAC prior to the event’s move and were informed that the commission would not approve the tournament format that the promotion intends to use. As a result, no commission will be present at the event in Newkirk if it proceeds as planned on Friday.
The Shine Fights Lightweight Grand Prix was originally set to take place at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia, but the event was scrapped this past weekend by the Virginia commission. According to Shine Fights, issues at hand were concerns over a “fan matchmaking” concept that allowed fans to choose the first-round matchups, as well as reports from MMA media that painted the promotion in a negative light. Shine Fights CEO Devin Price maintains that his promotion met all obligations from a failed May 15th card in North Carolina and that online reports suggesting otherwise had been instrumental in the cancellation of the Virginia event.
While the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission frequently works in partnership with native-owned casinos in Oklahoma and oversees mixed martial arts events that take place within, that will not be the case on Friday. Should the event still go ahead as planned, Shine Fights will not be operating under the guidance and rules of the OSAC. This was a conscious decision made by the promotion in order to utilise its proposed format for the one-night, eight-man lightweight tournament. The tournament winner will be required to fight and win three times in a single evening.
Such tournaments are rarely supported in North America and it was not a surprise when the Virginia and Oklahoma commissions opted not to sanction this event. Additionally, fighters who compete in unsanctioned events in Oklahoma have been subject to suspensions – typically 60 or 90 days – from the OSAC in the past. That policy may come into effect here.
The first round matchups in the Shine Fights Lightweight Grand Prix are as follows:
- Drew “The Master” Fickett vs Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett
- Marcus “Maximus” Aurelio vs Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez
- Carlo “Neo” Prater vs Rich “Cleat” Crunkilton
- Kyle “Alley Cat” Baker vs James “The Unbreakable Heavy Hitter” Warfield