The era of ruthlessness has been replaced by the baddest man from New York.
UFC and PRIDE veteran Phil Baroni, known as the "New York Bad Ass", will fight Waianae's Kala Kolohe Hose for the Icon Sport world middleweight title in the main event of the "To Hell and Back" event March 15 at the Blaisdell Arena.
Baroni replaces Robbie Lawler, who has been stripped of the title after failing to defend it in the last 12 months.
Lawler missed three different Icon events in 2007. In February, he didn't show for a main event fight against Trevor Garrett after coming down with food poisoning.
He also pulled out of scheduled fights with Hose in June and December, citing shoulder and biceps injuries.
"I'm disappointed and upset, but I understand why this is happening," Lawler said in a statement read by Icon Sport owner T. Jay Thompson. "I accept the decision, but I promise everyone that I will return."
Baroni, whose first career fight was in the UFC, is one of the most feared strikers in the middleweight division.
"This fight is tailor-made for me," Baroni said. "I think (Hose) is a lot like a younger Phil Baroni. I'm going to show the Hawaii fans what a real middleweight champion looks like."
Oshiro signs multi-fight deal
Icon Sport 135-pound state champion Mark Oshiro (9-1) has inked a six-figure, multi-fight deal to compete in Icon Sport, EliteXC and ShoXC events.
His first fight under the new contract will be live on Showtime on March 21 at a ShoXC event against Chris Cariaso. The fight will be held in the 140-pound weight class.