bellatorNEW ORLEANS, La. (July 22, 2010) – Bellator Fighting Championships will bring its action-packed brand of mixed martial arts to the Big Easy this fall during a nationally-televised show at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in downtown New Orleans on Thursday, Sept. 9th.

The show marks the first time that a major MMA promotion has traveled to New Orleans in nearly 10 years and the first time that the 36-year-old theater will host a professional sporting event. Tickets go on sale at 1 p.m. CT Friday at

The event, Bellator 28, will be headlined by two semifinal-round bouts in Bellator’s ongoing Season 3 tournaments as well as two “Qualifier Fights” for Bellator’s Season 4 Lightweight and Featherweight Tournaments. Those fights will feature:

– New Orleans-area native and beloved UFC veteran Rich “No Love” Clementi (36-16-1) vs. Bellator Season 2 veteran Carey Vanier (9-3) at 155 lbs., and

– Bellator Season 2 veteran Georgi “Insane” Karakhanyan (13-2-1) vs. undefeated Texas-based submission ace Chas Skelly (7-0) at 145 lbs.

“We are really happy to be bringing Bellator to the die-hard MMA fans in New Orleans ,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “The Mahalia Jackson Theater is the perfect venue to continue the semifinal rounds of our Season 3 tournaments and to host a couple of great “Qualifier Fights” that will help build our tournaments at 145 and 155 for our fourth season.”

The theater, which opened in January 1973 with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa di Requiem, is home to the New Orleans Opera Association and the New Orleans Ballet Association and regularly plays host to stage plays such as Mama Mia, the Color Purple, Wicked and Avenue Q. The theatre was shuttered for more than three years after it suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina, but celebrated a triumphant grand re-opening in January 2009.

Bellator 28 will once again be broadcast LIVE nationwide on FOX Sports Net and during special weekend highlight shows on NBC, Telemundo and the cable network mun2.

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