Former LSU player featured in MMA event at the Belle of Baton Rouge

Former fullback James Stampley (35) runs drills. Stampley is scheduled for the co-main event in WFC 9
Former fullback James Stampley (35) runs drills. Stampley is scheduled for the co-main event in WFC 9

World Fighting Championships will promote its debut mixed martial arts event at the Belle of Baton Rouge Saturday, July 20. WFC 9 will feature 10 bouts, including amateur and professional MMA fights, showcasing talented fighters in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas and fighters across the region.

"There is untapped talent in Louisiana, and we want to showcase them on the biggest stage possible," Matt McGovern, president of WFC, said. "I have promoted over 40 mixed martial arts events between the WFC and a prior company. We are in three different markets in Nevada, which include Reno, Lake Tahoe and Lauhlin. Baton Rouge will be the fourth market we enter with plans on being in Las Vegas by the end of 2013."

McGovern has committed WFC to a total of 15 MMA shows for this year, with another event coming to the Belle of Baton Rouge this fall. Next year, as WFC enters into five markets, McGovern anticipates a total of at least 27 events for 2014.

The main event of WFC 9 will feature professional lightweight fighters Thomas Webb and B.J. Lawrence.

"It is a pleasure to fight on anyone's card, and especially as the main event," Webb said. "It is exciting that a non-Louisiana fight promotion like the WFC is coming to Baton Rouge. It just gives the fighters more exposure on a larger level and for fighters to have greater opportunities."

Webb, who is undefeated, is the head MMA instructor of LA Boxing Sherwood in Baton Rouge. He is an avid striker who is recognized as one of the most talented lightweights in the state. Webb will be ready to display his talents in front of his hometown fans this weekend.

"B.J. is a good fighter with good technical skills, but I'm better," Webb said. "The submission attempts I can handle. I train with people all the time who are good on the ground, and my wrestling is my game, so I am not worried about that. I know my experience will come into play with this fight against him. Expect to see a great fight with some new things thrown in the mix."

Lawrence is also undefeated as a professional, making this main event even more interesting. He has won most of his amateur and pro fights by submission. He trains at Gracie United in Biloxi, Miss. and is known for being one of the top emerging professional lightweights in the region.

"I respect Thomas Webb as a fighter," Lawrence said. "I've heard really good things about him, and I am very excited to be able to step in a cage with somebody with his level of respect. I believe I have prepared well for this fight. I look forward to getting in there, showing my talent, as well as putting on a good show for the fight fans."

Heavyweight powerhouse James Stampley is scheduled for the co-main event. Stampley, a former LSU fullback and national champion, is making his mark in the MMA community and remains undefeated with all of his wins by technical knockouts. His power and speed are impeccable, so get ready for a great and entertaining fight.

Other featured fighters on the card include Gage Duhon, Tarron Rogers, Robert Dunn, George Frangie, Joc Bernard, Brian Wells and many more.

"Being a new promoter in town, it's a building process between us and the MMA community," McGovern said. "I didn't expect it to be easy, but I am satisfied with the teams we have involved on this fight card. We have fighters coming from Gladiators Academy of Baton Rouge, LA Boxing of Baton Rouge, Alan Belcher MMA in Biloxi, Gracie United in Biloxi, Universal MMA out of Lafayette, and continue to grow relationships and rapport with more training facilities. We want people to know that we are here to build up the fight business in the area and treat people fair - WFC is here for the long haul."

Doors open at 7 p.m. with fights starting at 8 p.m. General admission tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at For VIP and table seating, call 702-336-6707.