Former ’Dogs are taking the ring

Photo courtesy of Wargods

Mixed martial arts event on Saturday in Selland Arena has ties to Fresno State

With a real estate license and the market down due to the economy, former Bulldog football player Jamie Iracheta found himself in a tough situation soon after graduation. Living off his savings and figuring out what he wanted to do with his life, he looked into the mixed martial arts (MMA) business.

“I was approached by a promoter in Salinas who wanted me to become a partner of his, but it didn’t feel right,” Iracheta said. “That’s when I decided to pitch the idea that we could start our own MMA organization to my friend Marcelo who owns Buhawe gym.”

It didn’t take long for Marcelo to partner up with Iracheta as they came up with the name Wargods for their organization.

Now, the two look to make Wargods mixed martial arts’ next hottest promotion.

“We would love to make Wargods as big as Strikeforce,” Iracheta said. “UFC and Elite XC have the same type of fighting and rules, but are out of our league due to how much money they have to spend.”

After six months of preparation, Wargods made its debut in July at the Fresno Convention Center luring 3,400 people. Soon after, Wargods put on an outdoor event in Salinas.

“The first show we didn’t know what to expect,” Iracheta said. “The second event we put on was better than the first and assured us we are moving in the right direction.”

With two shows under Iracheta’s belt, he notices the growth in Wargods already.

“There has absolutely been growth since our first production,” Iracheta said. “Many fighters have called in to the point where we have trouble scheduling them a fight.”

Wargods’ next event is tomorrow night at Selland Arena in Fresno.

Iracheta feels their newest event titled “Do or Die” will be the biggest and best thus far.

“We expect around 5 to 6,000 fans,” Iracheta said. “It will also be our first televised event.”

Wargods recently signed a deal with, which will make Saturday night the first of many televised events. The event is projected to reach roughly 150,000 people. However, people who live in Fresno will not be able to watch the show due to the blackout rule.

Iracheta said the first couple events are not necessarily about making a profit.

“The exposure of getting our name out to the public is our main focus right now,” Iracheta said. “If we are successful in doing that, money will follow.”

Iracheta is currently in negotiations with Ken Shamrock’s Lion’s Den organization to partner with Wargods for at least one event. Partnering with Shamrock will not only help in paying expenses, but also produce more publicity.

The “Do or Die” event held tomorrow night is expected to cost around $120,000.

“We have definitely put the most money into this event,” Iracheta said.

The event will consist of 11 bouts. Former Bulldog wrestler Jorge Ruiz was scheduled to fight but has been scratched from the event due to a rib injury. However, there will be plenty of local talent taking part in the event.

One of the fights will feature Clovis High teacher and wrestling coach Ben Holscher. After training with Strikeforce’s undefeated rising star, Billy Evangelista, for the last three years, Holscher has decided to take his skills from training partner to MMA professional.

The show will also include Madera’s own Lavar “Big” Johnson who will take on B.J Penn’s prodigy Sean Souza for the current vacant heavyweight title.

Also from Madera will be Zoila Frausto making her professional debut as the organization’s premier female fighter.

The main event will feature Wargods’ “prospect” Marcus Levessuer and Palace Fighting Championship’s current lightweight champion, Brian Cobb.

If that’s not enough, Iracheta has also arranged for UFC’s Roger Huerta as the night’s special guest.

“It’s a loaded lineup,” Iracheta said. “With Huerta and Penn in the house, it gives off a feeling that we are slowly arriving.”

Wargods currently has multiple contracts with roughly 10 fighters.

Iracheta said he will not let Wargods flop.

“We have to be smart with our money, treat fighters right and put on a good show for the people,” Iracheta said. “If we do, hopefully someday some kids starting up an MMA organization will say, ‘I hope to be as big as Wargods.’”

“Wargods: Do or Die”

Several local fighters will be on display tomorrow night in Fresno:

• Where: Selland Arena

• When: Saturday, Nov. 8, 7 p.m.

• Price: $25 general admission

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