Titan Fighting CEO Joe Kelly made the news official late Thursday night.
Lashley will be competing for the first time since a Strikeforce event on August 21, 2010. His return to the cage on March 25 will come against M-1 Challenge veteran James Jack, who is 6-2-1 (according to MixedMartialArts.com).
Titan Fighting Championship 17 will be televised live nationally on HDNet (www.HDNet.com) for the second consecutive show and the Lashley vs. Jack main event joins the previously announced bout between Phil Baroni and Nick Nolte as the first two contests officially announced for the telecast.
“We received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from the MMA community following our HDNet debut on January 28,” Kelly began. “A lot of unique opportunities have presented themselves to Titan since the show and working with Bobby Lashley was one of them. We are really excited to be working with Bobby as he continues his pursuit of MMA greatness.”
Lashley’s March 25 main event bout vs. Jack will mark the first time he has competed in a mixed martial arts bout near his original home. Currently fighting out of Denver, Colorado, Lashley was born in Junction City, Kansas, where his parents still reside. He also attended Missouri Valley College, where he would go on to claim three national college amateur wrestling championships.
“There’s a group of regular Titan fans that I communicate with on a regular basis. They serve as a focus group for the promotion, as I bounce ideas off of them and gauge their reaction. When I floated the idea of Bobby fighting on the card, the response was incredible,” said Kelly.
After college, Lashley joined the Army, where he continued to wrestle and even began to pursue a spot on the U.S. Olympic team until a knee injury sustained during a bank robbery while present at the bank as an innocent bystander ended his dreams of Olympic gold.
A two-time ECW world champion and former U.S. champion during his professional wrestling career with the WWE, Lashley began his MMA career with a successful 5-0 record. He was dealt a setback in his last fight when he suffered a second round upset defeat to Chad Griggs in Houston.
“In the fight game, a fighter is usually viewed as only being good as their last fight. But I don’t think that is a fair way to evaluate a fighter, especially an athletically-gifted heavyweight who is only six fights into his career,” Kelly stated. “Bobby won’t admit it and he refuses to make excuses but the reality is that he was diagnosed with mononucleosis shortly after the fight. Also, if anyone watched Griggs’ fight last weekend against Gian Villante, who was widely considered one of the top prospects in MMA coming into that fight, you can clearly see that Griggs is the real deal. Anyone who is writing Bobby off is making a huge mistake. I believe that Titan Fighting will be the perfect platform for Bobby to prove his critics wrong.”
While Lashley enter the March 25 as the favorite, Jack will look to follow in Abe Wagner’s footsteps and look to pull off a main event upset for the second consecutive Titan show in a row. A veteran of Blue Springs, Missouri, Jack began his MMA career in 2006, first competing as an amateur. After going 4-0 on the amateur circuit, he would later go on to become a two-time veteran of the M-1 Challenge fight circuit.
Tickets for Titan Fighting Championship 17 are now on-sale at all local Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com (www.Ticketmaster.com), as well as the Memorial Hall box office. Tickets for the event start at $25.