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Seminole Indians Jump on MMA Bandwagon

This Friday night, from 8 to 11 p.m., Hard Rock Live in Hollywood will host an 11-bout mixed martial arts tournament where former Latin Syndicate gang leader Rene "Level" Martinez will make his pro debut.

The Cuban-American back-yard brawler was recently featured in New Times, documenting his transformation from street terror to a God-fearing aspiring MMA fighter.

Martinez will go up against Bounmy Somchay, a trained Muai Thai fighter with an 0-3 professinal record.

According to  Roger Krahl, one of the event's promoters and matchmakers, Somchay is no pushover. "Bounmy will come out swinging," Krahl says. "He likes to throw a lot of kicks, and he has an unorthodox fighting style. It is gonna be a good fight."

Asked if he was nervous, Martinez replied, "Not at all. I've been training on my ground game, sparring three times a week with the best pros. I'm ready to show everyone what I got."

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Billed as "Rumble at the Rock," the event is the brainchild of Kevin Wynne, an ex-vice president of sports and consumer sales at Madison Square Garden, who started the Action Fight League.

With the backing of the Seminole Indians, Wynne is banking the IFC will draw enough customers to take his shows to other Seminole-owned Hard Rock properties around the nation.

"We are look to run an event here in South Florida every eight to ten weeks," he says. "Hopefully we can expand into Tampa and Louisiana. Florida is a hotbed for MMA talent. Our model is to take that local talent and showcase them."

In addition to Martinez's debut, Rumble at the Rock will feature Rodrigo "Baga" Ramos, owner of the Davie-based American Top Team gym, and an International Sport Karate Association middleweight title bout between Danny Babcock and Crafton Wallace.

Tickets cost $25, $45, and $100.

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