Broken Leg Forces Thomson out of Title Defense

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE BROKEN LEG FORCES THOMSON OUT OF TITLE DEFENSE

New York (April 1, 2009)–A broken left leg sustained during a sparring session earlier today has forced Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson (16-2) to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (14-2) at Strikeforce’s “Shamrock vs. Diaz” event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on Saturday, April 11. Strikeforce is searching for a replacement fighter to face the top-ranked Melendez in the live SHOWTIME televised event. “I was sparring hard and I broke my leg, above my ankle, during an exchange,” said the 30-year-old Thomson, who was trading blows with fellow Strikeforce competitor Billy Evangelista when the injury occurred.

Thomson is scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday and is expected to be out of action for two to three months. “I’m very upset. All the hard work was done and it was time to fight,” said the injured champ. “I was looking forward to putting on a great show for the fans. All I can say is that I’ll be back when I get healthy.”

Strikeforce “Shamrock vs. Diaz” will air live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) on Saturday, April 11. Tickets for “Shamrock vs. Diaz,” priced from $30, are available for purchase at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (408-998-TIXS), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com), and Strikeforce’s official website (www.strikeforce.com).

About Strikeforce: Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.”

In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of Strikeforce, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.

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