Following up on last weeks news story about the American Fighting Organization, the organization has officially announced former two-time WBA heavyweight champion John “The Quietman” Ruiz as the new owner of the promotion.
Full Press Release:
Former two-time WBA heavyweight champion John “The Quietman” Ruiz, a native of Chelsea Massachusetts, has closed a deal to acquire a New England mixed martial arts promotion, with plans to hold multiple bracket-style tournaments starting this Fall.
Ruiz reached a deal with the owner of the American Fighting Organization (AFO) Pete Dilorenzo (no relation to TheMMAReport.com’s Pete DiLorenzo), based out of Rhode Island, last week. The AFO was one of the most active MMA organizations in the northeast, completing 30 shows over an almost 5 year period. The deal came together in recent weeks following reports that the organization’s future was in jeopardy because of unforeseen financial difficulties following their most recent event. Ruiz, who maintains residence in both Las Vegas and Chelsea, had been in talks to launch his own combat sports promotion. Dilorenzo agreed to transfer ownership of the business for an undisclosed sum, as part of an agreement which also included assurances that the outstanding debts owed to fighters in relation to the organizations last show would also be paid. According to Ruiz, making good to the fighters was a major part of the motivation to make this deal. “We were in position to launch our own organization, but after hearing about the tough situations that a group of fighters found themselves within we decided to see if we could help out and create a win-win situation”, said Ruiz.
Ruiz is planning both professional and amateur bracket style MMA tournaments, to commence later this year. He says that he does not foresee the organization positioning itself to compete with the top-tier promotions in the MMA business initially, but it will be having a stricter and more professional approach than that of other regional competitors. The AFO will act as a definitive stage for fighters that want to prove their merit and/or want to compete as a career. Plans for additional other combat sports tournaments are also in the works.
Ruiz, a veteran of 55 professional boxing bouts (including 30 wins via KO) rose to international notoriety in 2001 when he became the first Latino fighter to win a major Heavyweight title, after claiming the WBA belt with a win over then-champ Evander Holyfield. He retired in 2010 and opened a multi-fight gym in Medford, Massachusetts. “Quietman Sports Gym” is a full-contact, sanctioned USA Boxing gym, featuring Boxing, MMA, Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, JKD, and Kung Fu training.
Ruiz, who also heads his own charity foundation is set to have a city park is his hometown of Chelsea named in his honor after a recent vote by the Chelsea City Council, on the recommendation of city manager Jay Ash.