Indiana (USA): 2009 was a big year for Midwest-based fight promotion MMA Big Show, which was recently chosen by alongside Art of Fighting, Shark Fights, and Rage in the Cage as this year’s top local promotions in the United States. Now, the promotion Big Show is looking to enter the next phase of its evolution, as “NEW DAWN” will start the New Year off right for fight fans.

The event will emanate live from the Belterra Casino in Belterra, Indiana on Saturday, January 9th, and will feature the Big Show debut of UFC/PRIDE pioneer heavyweight slugger Gary “Big Daddy” Goodridge (23-19-1). The MMA legend will be taking on “The Monster” Ron Sparks (5-0) in a true clash of the titans.

In the co-main event, former TUF competitor Luke Zachrich (10-1) will battle undefeated up-and-comer Byron Sutton (5-0) with the MMA Big Show Light Heavyweight belt on the line.

Tickets for “NEW DAWN” are priced at $25, $40, $45, and $75, and are available through Ticketmaster, as well as 21 and over only, please.

Gary “Big Daddy” Goodridge burst onto the MMA scene in his debut in 1996, making it all the way to the finals of the UFC 8 tourney. In one of the most memorable finishes in UFC history, Goodridge trapped both the arms of his opponent in a crucifix hold and proceeded to deliver multiple elbow blows to his head, ending the bout in 13 seconds.

He also competed at the very first PRIDE event, knocking out MMA great Oleg Taktarov with three seconds left in the first round. “Big Daddy” became a mainstay in PRIDE, fighting there 19 times. In 1999, Goodridge began his kickboxing career, which culminated with him becoming the 2005 K-1 World Grand Prix in Hawaii champion.

He has faced some of the top competition in both MMA and kickboxing. Fighters like Mark Coleman, Marco Ruas, Igor Vovchanchyn, Tom Erikson, Ricco Rodriguez, Heath Herring, Paul Buentello, Alistair Overeem, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Fedor Emelianenko have faced the wrath of “Big Daddy,” with talent such as Taktarov, Don Frye, Andre Roberts, and Dan Bobish going down in defeat.

And Goodridge is ready to add another victim to his list when he faces Ron Sparks on January 9th. I’m doing my research on Ron. He’s a big muscle-bound guy, he’s very entertaining to look at, and it’s going to be like a young buck taking on the old lion. I know Ron has a really good right hand, so I’ve been training with boxers quite a bit, including a Canadian boxing champ. I have my game plan, and I’m going to try to stick to it, but everything changes once you get hit,” said the UFC/PRIDE veteran. In a bit of gamesmanship, he added: “The show should be called anger management.”

“NEW DAWN” is all about the arrival of the fresh and exciting, and “The Monster” Ron Sparks certainly fits into that category. The undefeated super-heavyweight is very aptly named, as the 6’5″ 285-pounder packs quite a wallop.

Sparks, with his freakish girth and power, has finished four of his five opponents by KO/TKO. His calls for bouts with Kimbo Slice and Hong-Man Choi have gone unrequited, and so the massive “Monster” has set his sights on the extremely experienced and dangerous Gary Goodridge.

“Trust me, we’re going to go down swinging. There will be no tap-outs, and it will be a quick one. We’ve both been training hard, so stay tuned, and don’t blink,” he said about his bout with “Big Daddy.” Sparks obviously has a lot of respect for his opponent, and isn’t shy about showing it.

“It’s an honor to get it on with him. He’s a UFC vet, a legend, and I’ve been a big fan of his. I’ve watched him for a long time, and I’m going to do my best to win. I don’t talk a lot of trash, and I believe in being respectful of the guy getting in there. It’s definitely an honor to be in the cage with Gary Goodridge.”

And “The Monster” is looking forward to more with MMA Big Show: “I’m really excited about being featured on MMA Big Show, and hopefully there will be more to come.”

Luke Zachrich is one of the most underrated fighters in MMA today. Sporting an outstanding 10-1 record, the light heavyweight has developed a reputation as a great all-around fighter with a crowd-pleasing penchant for ending his fights decisively.

He’ll be fighting for the MMA Big Show Light Heavyweight title, and with the belt, his record, and his reputation on the line, Zachrich is taking his fight with Byron Sutton very seriously.

I’ve seen some of his fights. He hasn’t been fighting for a long time, but he’s fought a lot in that time. From what I’ve seen, he’s even fought on a bi-weekly basis at times. And I heard that he’s recently been training with Chris Lytle.”

But though Zachrich is taking the fight seriously, the veteran is confident. “From what I’m seen, I’m not too impressed with the kid. He’s got some skills, but with my experience, I don’t think there’s anything he can do that I haven’t seen. But he’s tough, explosive, and fast, and anything can happen. It’s a tough fight for me, no matter what.”

This fight will be Zachrich’s debut with MMA Big Show, and he’s elated with the opportunity to entertain the fans.

“I lived in Cincy for three years, but I was never able to make it down for a show before. But I’ve trained with [current MMA Big Show Welterweight Champion “Relentless” Roger] Bowling and [former MMA Big Show Middleweight Champion] Mojo [Horne], and those guys talk very highly of the promotion and [owner] Jason Appleton. I was at the Browning-Cornwell fight, and I was very impressed. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, but it was such a quality show. I was very, very impressed, and I’m very excited to fight for Big Show. I’ve fought on huge shows and small shows, and I can’t wait to get out there and put it all on the line for the Big Show fans.”

MMA Big Show’s most recent offering, “ONSLAUGHT,” took place on Saturday, November 28th at the Belterra Casino in Belterra, Indiana. In the main event, former UFC fighter and TUF competitor Junie Browning finished off a tough young local favorite Scott Cornwell in the first round after a valiant effort from the Cincinnati native.

The co-main event saw former MMA Big Show Middleweight Champion Mojo Horne get back in the win column, as he conquered Kevin Barkdull in a first round submission victory.

In addition, MMA Big Show Amateur Lightweight Champion “The Samurai” Chris Bennett dominated Brian Karmolinski in their bout, prompting the post-fight interviewer to question when the 17-fight amateur veteran will go pro. In all, 14 entertaining bouts were put on, and a great show was enjoyed by the fans in attendance.

Stay tuned to for the upcoming release of the full fight card.

One thought on “Gary “Big Daddy” Goodridge takes on “The Monster” Ron Sparks in MMA Big Show main event on January 9”
  1. Over the past year or so I have been hearing some incredible things about Ron Sparks. I am a fan of Goodridge but if the rumors are true I will be suprised to see Goodridge get out of the first round.

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