Months back, the MMA community got wind of something pretty darn cool: there was a fledgling promotion, Battlegrounds MMA, who were planning to put on a one-night tournament, hearkening back to the old, pre-Zuffa UFC and Pride days. Eight welterweights, randomly paired up the night of the event, all competing for a $50,000 pot, with the action live on Pay-per-View.

Well, that got our attention.

Originally scheduled for June, the event was pushed back to October 3rd, 2014, and we’re now just a few days away. There have been some card changes, the sort of hiccups in the road you see with a lot of smaller promotions: gone from the tournament is veteran fighter Dennis Hallman, as is 2012 NCAA finalist Chris Honeycutt (the latter scooped up by Bellator MMA). Ryan Couture, who appeared at Battlegrounds MMA 3 and 4, picking up a win at each, had also been slotted in on the card, set to face Jonny Carson — however Couture, like Honeycutt, moved up to Bellator, winning his promotional debut last month.

That’s a couple of tough blows to the Battlegrounds MMA 5 card, but the promotion did manage to add Jesse Taylor to the tournament, the former Cage Warriors middleweight champion who has fought all over the promotional map, with stops in the UFC, Strikeforce, Dream, and the WSOF amongst others. Replacing Couture, meanwhile, is Danny Navarro, a King of the Cage/Gladiator Challenge vet. While he doesn’t have the name value that comes with Couture, he should be able to put on a solid fight on short notice, and really, that’s all Battlegrounds MMA is going to be asking of him. The star of the show, without question, is the elimination tournament.

Just to sweeten the pot, however — and to sell the action — the promotion has picked up perhaps the most intriguing announce team in all of professional mixed martial arts: Chael P. Sonnen, making his first appearance as a broadcaster since being let go by the UFC and Fox Sports, and the man who for many, many years was the voice of the WWE, Good Ol’ J.R., Jim Ross.

That’s a heck of a duo, and while it marks the debut of Ross in the MMA realm, he had in the past been linked to talks with the UFC, though there was no indication that a serious offer was ever made.

This is a card designed to pique the interest of old school fans. It’s a throwback event, a nostalgia trip, but will it be any good?

That’s the real question. Luckily, there are two things working in Battlegrounds MMA’s favor: at $19.95, this is a perfectly affordable event, and when it comes to one night tournaments, it’s more about the journey than the finish. Anything could happen, and probably will (with that in mind, there will also be a tournament reserve fight in case any of the eight formal tournament fighters are injured).

The full Battlegrounds MMA card is currently:

Roan Carneiro vs. TBA  (welterweight tournament fight)
Luigi Fioravanti vs. TBA  (welterweight tournament fight)
Trey Houston vs. TBA  (welterweight tournament fight)
Brock Larson vs. TBA  (welterweight tournament fight)
Cody McKenzie vs. TBA (welterweight tournament fight)
Joe Ray vs. TBA (welterweight tournament fight)
Jesse Taylor vs. TBA (welterweight tournament fight)
Randall Wallace vs. TBA (welterweight tournament fight)

Marcus Sanchez vs. Jordan Smith (welterweight tournament reserve fight)

Jonny Carson vs. Danny Navarro
Jamal Parks vs. Ruben Warr
Chris Gutierrez vs. Tyler Shinn
Jen Aniano vs. Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc

We’d love to throw out some predictions for the elimination tournament, however without knowing who the fighters will be matched up with, it’s a little tough. That said, Taylor, despite being a short notice addition, would seem to have a chance based on experience, as would Brock Larson, who is coming off a title fight loss to Nobutatsu Suzuki for ONE FC’s welterweight championship. Prior to that, Larson had been on a four fight win streak capped off with a unanimous decision win over current Bellator title challenger Melvin Manhoeff.

It’s a tough one to call — so you might be better off just tuning in and checking out this throwback spectacle for yourself.

Battlegrounds MMA 5: O.N.E. goes down live Friday, October 3rd at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.