Ray Sefo (USA/NZ)
Martial Arts Legend
Sefo had an impressive unbeaten record as an amateur and a professional in the Oceania kickboxing league. Early in his career Sefo trained at Balmoral Lee Gar gym alongside Jason Suttie, Jayson Vemoa, Doug Viney, John Conway and his brother Rony Sefo.
Some would say his fight against Andre Manaart was his first major challenge on the world stage. In this fight he overwhelmed Manaart with devastating speed and elusive footwork, knocking him down on numerous occasions. In the ring after the fight, Manaart took the microphone and said "...you should call him Sugarfist, not Sugarfoot"...
His first major breakthrough was becoming a WKA Cruiserweight Champion, after which he also acted as a sparring partner for fellow New Zealander David Tuawhen Tua first returned to New Zealand for a fight after turning pro.
Ray made his K-1 debut against future four-time World Grand Prix Champion, Ernesto Hoost. Sefo held his own against the much more experienced Hoost, but was finally knocked out in the 4th round by a leg kick. Sefo gained respect for standing up to such an elite fighter in just his first fight.
Sefo gained more respect in his third K-1 fight where he knocked out K-1 legend Jerome Lebanner in round 1. Sefo's hard right hand was enough to break the Frenchmans jaw in four places.
Sefo had an up down first few years in the K-1, unable to make it past the quarter finals in the K-1 World Grand Prix against the likes of Sam Greco and Andy Hug. In 2000 he made it to the WGP final after knocking out Japanese star Musashi and French kickboxer Cyril Abidi before losing again to Hoost.
In 2002 he defeated Dutch legend Peter Aerts in the quarter finals but lost again to his nemesis Hoost in the semi finals.
In 2007, he was thought to be a legitimate challenger to dethrone four-time World Grand Prix Champion Semmy Schilt for the new Super Heavyweight title. In Round 1, Sefo became only the second man in history to knock Schilt down. However, he would go on to lose by KO in the second round.
He went on to lose five more fights and would not find the winners circle again till he beat Hong Man Choi, Yosuke Nishijima and Ionut Iftimoaie all by decision.
He was then asked to fight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 in Seoul Final 16 on ten days notice against Tyrone Spong. Ray put up a decent fight for a short preparation but was beaten by decision. At the moment Ray is unsure about whether he will continue to fight in the K-1, though he is still considered one of the sport's oldest and still entertaining fighters.
In mid February 2011 he had his third MMA fight in a reserve fight for the Strikeforce Heavyweight tournament. He fought Valentijn Overeem, brother of Alistair Overeem, the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix champion. Overeem had 50 MMA fights behind him and beat Sefo by submission in the first round. Sefo's striking on the feet looked good, but as an inexperienced grappler he lost early on by neck crank.
World Series Of Fighting
Sefo is the current president of the World Series of Fighting and has inked a deal with NBC Sports to air 8 to 10 events for the network.On 15 May 2013, WSOF announced a 4-man tournament to crown an Inaugural Middleweight Champion. One Semi Final fight will take place at WSOF 4 & the other will take place at WSOF 5. The participants announced are as followed: Jesse Taylor, Elvis Mutapcic, David Branch & Danillo Villefort.On 12 June 2013, WSOF president Ray Sefo announced he will return to fighting at this event. At WSOF 3, Sefo announced that he will be facing Dave Huckaba. The two fought at World Series of Fighting 4 on 10 August 2013. Sefo lost the fight via TKO in the second round.
- 2000 K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 Runner Up.
- 1997 WKA World Super Heavyweight World champion.
- 1996 WMTF World Heavyweight champion.
- 1996 ISKA World Super Cruiserweight Champion.
- 1995 ISKA World Cruiserweight Champion
- 1994 ISKA World Light Cruiserweight Champion.
- 1992 WMTF World Light Heavyweight Champion.
- 1992 South Pacific Cruiserweight Champion.
- 1991 New Zealand Cruiserweight Champion.
- 1990 New Zealand Heavyweight Champion.
- Superfight winner at K-1 Hero's 2
Retirement, Life Beyond Fighting, and Personal Life
On an interview in April 2015, Ray Sefo said "I actually made a promise to myself that this year will be my last year. He has not fought since losing a MMA bought against Dave Huckaba in the WSOF cage.Sefo is the current president of the MMA promotion World Series of Fighting.He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, and continues to train out of Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts.