Bellator Fighting Championships signs former NYU wrestling star Shad Lierley
From Bellator FightingChampionships:
CHICAGO, Ill. (February 18, 2010) –Bellator Fighting Championships put yet another piece in place for its upcomingSeason 2 featherweight tournament today with the signing of 5-2 Shad Lierley, aformer International Fight League (IFL) standout and elite-level collegewrestler.
The 29-year-old Lierley—who was a top college wrestler while earning hisbachelor’s degree in economics and political science at New York University—isperhaps best-known for his legendary 2007 fight against one-time IFL poster boyChris Horodecki. Despite his wrestling background (and the fact that he wasfighting at 155 lbs.), Lierley stood toe-to-toe with Horodecki for three fullrounds, delivering one of the most dramatic and action-packed fights in theIFL’s short history.
“Shad Lierley has been part of some great fights. If you ever want to see anawesome highlight reel watch his fight with Chris Horodecki, which Shad took at155 even though he’s a legit 145 fighter,” said Bellator founder and CEO BjornRebney. “He is another solid addition to our featherweight tournament.”
Leirley is the seventh featherweight to be announced as a participant in theeight-man tournament along with Georgi Karakhanyan, Joe Warren, PatricioPitbull, Bao Quach, William Romero and Wilson Reis. Bellator will also conducttournaments at 155, 170 and 185 lbs. with the winners in each division beingdeclared No. 1 contenders to the current Bellator champions.
Each of Bellator’s 24 Season 2 and 3 events will be broadcast on FOX SportsNet, NBC and Telemundo.
Lierley was born in Utah but moved at a young age to Alaska with his parentsand eight siblings. He was a four-time state wrestling finalist and was namedas Alaska’s Wrestler of the Year during his senior year, earning him aninvitation to continue his career at NYU. There, he became one of the bestwrestlers in the school’s history and held the No. 1 national ranking duringhis sophomore year.
After graduating, Lierley considered a wide variety of career paths, but foundhimself being drawn toward professional fighting. In 2006, a wrestling buddyencouraged him to try out for the IFL and he earned a spot in thatorganization.
“When I started college, I never planned to get involved in MMA, but it’s whatI fell into and I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “There are a lot ofwell-educated people who have a lot of options in front of them and they choosefighting. It’s a great sport and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
As a professional, Lierley is a perfect 5-0 when fighting at 145, with his onlytwo losses (against Horodecki and eventual IFL Featherweight Champion WagnneyFabiano) coming at 155. His most recent win came during Bellator IX last May inMonroe, La.
“I found out then that Bellator is just an awesome organization,” Lierley said.“They’re doing some great things in MMA and the talent they’ve been recruitingis just phenomenal. There’s going to be a lot of fireworks come springtime andI think I’m going to be a part of that. I wouldn’t have signed if I didn’tthink I could win this tournament.”
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter@BellatorMMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bellator.
About Bellator Fighting Championships
Bellator Fighting Championships is a Mixed Martial Arts promotionalcompany with offices in Los Angeles and Chicago. Bellator’s founder/CEO,Bjorn Rebney, is an experienced fighting sports and entertainment professionalwith a deep commitment to the purity and integrity of the sport of MMA and itsathletes. Bellator Fighting Championships’ executive team is comprised oftop industry professionals in the areas of live event production, televisionproduction, fighter relations, venue procurement, sponsorshipcreation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising,publicity and commission relations.