Former WWE star Ivelisse Velez has signed with Fight Card Entertainment and will make her MMA debut at Fightcard 48 on March 1, according to a press release and video posted by the promotion.
Velez ventured into MMA when she was living in Chicago in 2010, training with Franco Lozano and Team 110, who were the FCE Team Challenge champions in 2011.
“I was totally hooked. Don’t get me wrong, wrestling is an intense & brutal training regiment, but in there with Coach Franco & Team 110, it’s a whole another world,” Velez said.
Velez wrestled under the name Sofia Cortez as a contestant on the WWE reality show ‘Tough Enough’. She signed with the pro wrestling promotion in November, 2011, but MMA stayed with her. “I would always have (Muay Thai) mitts with me or first chance I get to hit the bag, I was there. On nights of wrestling events, I’d warm up hitting mitts sometimes,” Velez said.
Velez was released from her WWE contract near the end of 2012. The time seemed right to move into MMA, and Fight Card seemed like a natural fit. “I’ve always respected Brian and Fight Card Entertainment. When I was living in Chicago, I went to their shows, went backstage and never pressured into anything or asked for anything. In the wrestling industry and I’m sure in the MMA industry, the talent is always treated like a piece of meat. I didn’t get that from them.”
Here’s a video Fight Card produced for Velez’s debut on March 1. For tickets and card information, visit FightCard.net.