International Fight League

Infobox sports league
title =International Fight League
logo =International-fight-league.jpg
pixels =186 px
sport =Mixed martial arts
founded =2006
teams =10
champion =New York Pitbulls
website = [http://www.ifl.tv/ IFL.tv]
ceo =Jay Larkin
TV =
The International Fight League was an American mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion billed as the world's first MMA league. It was founded on January 7 2006 and closed on July 31 2008. [ [http://www.thefightnetwork.com/news/mma/805/zuffa_purchases_ifl Zuffa Purchases IFL] ] Instead of the established norm for MMA events, where matchups are strictly one-on-one affairs, each IFL card was a showdown between two camps of at least three fighters, each fighter fighting one match against another in the opposing camps.

History

The IFL was founded January 7 2006 by real estate developer Kurt Otto and "Wizard" magazine founder Gareb Shamus, two well-financed devotees of mixed martial arts who were inspired by the Mark Kerr documentary "The Smashing Machine". With the IFL, they intended to create a system not only to showcase mixed martial arts action but also to provide a business plan that will allow fighters to also share more of the profits of the sport. In a marked contrast with the rest of the industry, instead of paying fighters only purses after fights, they are given a salary and health benefits to train and fight. The team concept is also conducive for television, where episodes can be regularly produced in the continuing storyline of an ongoing season.

It had been widely speculated that the IFL, with the deep pockets of its founders, television deal and innovative business plan, would become a major circuit for MMA in North America, directly competing with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The UFC and IFL had a hostile relationship, as the UFC have accused the IFL of and sued them for illegally using proprietary information obtained by hiring executives from the UFC organization. [ [http://www.mmafighting.com/news/2006/ufc_vs_ifl_060224.html The UFC files case against International Fight League] ] The IFL shot back with their own suit claiming the UFC was threatening potential partners to not work with the IFL, including Fox Sports Net (a deal with Fox Sports was later signed before resolution of the suit [ [http://www.sherdog.com/news/news.asp?n_id=4205 IFL Inks Broadcast Deal with Fox Sports Net] ] ). The tension between the IFL and the UFC has recently worsened with accusations that the IFL has attempted to buy out several top UFC fighters.

The inaugural event was held on April 29 2006 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, featuring the Quad City Silverbacks vs the Los Angeles Anacondas and the Seattle Tiger Sharks vs the New York Pitbulls, with a superfight between Jens Pulver and Cole Escovedo.

On August 31, 2006 publicly traded (OTCBB) company, Paligent Inc., principally held by New Jersey developer and real estate industrialist Richard J. Kurtz, [ [http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2007/03/05/story3.html Houston Business Journal, Chemical maker mixes in martial arts, - by Greg Barr, March 2, 2007] ] authorized a merger agreement that coincided with its acquisition of the IFL. The IFL became the parent entity as Paligent agreed to change its name to International Fight League, Inc. Subsequently, on November 29 2006, the IFL became a publicly traded company, under the symbol IFLI. [ [http://www.secinfo.com/d11MXs.v2Hxz.htm SEC filings] ] [ [http://www.ifl.tv/Press-06Aug31-IFL-and-Paligent-Execute-Merger-Agreement.html IFL internal press release] ] Their current net worth as of 2006 is around $150 million. [cite news
first =
last =
authorlink =
author =
coauthors = Solly Granatstein, Scott Pelley
title = Mixed Martial Arts: A New Kind Of Fight
url = http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/12/08/60minutes/main2241525_page2.shtml
format =
work = 60 Minutes (web site)
publisher =
pages = 3
page = 2
date = 2006-12-10
accessdate = 2006-12-11
language =
quote =
] In September 2007, Kurtz sold his interest in the IFL.

Changes in 2008

On December 20, 2007 IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto made an announcement in regards to some major changes for the 2008 season. First and foremost the team concept would be changed to instead focus on distinctive MMA camps. Otto reasoned that many of the teams did not train together, nor did many of them live in the respective cities they represented. Instead the new concept of the IFL will focus on camps and the fighters that already train in those camps. Also changing will be the five on five format to a more simplified three on three format. This will allow more flexibility in matchmaking as the teams will not be confined to pick one fighter in each weight class. Instead the three fighters can be from any weight class or they can all be from the same class. The "team" concept will still be somewhat intact as the camps will compete with each other for points in a final standing. Otto also announced that the IFL will extend an open invitation to any camps not already affiliated with the IFL to participate in "one off" events, where a non-IFL camp can challenge an IFL camp for supremacy. Similarly, any of the title defenses can also involve fighters who are not currently signed with the IFL in a "one off" fight. Otto announced that there will be eight shows in 2008 with no plans for a GP final. [ [http://www.ifl.tv/Roadmap08.html International Fight League ] ]

On May 8, 2008, the IFL revealed during a conference call that their August 15, 2008 event would feature the debut of a six-sided cage called "The Hex." [ [http://fiveouncesofpain.com/2008/05/08/ifl-to-unveil-six-sided-ring-announces-aug-16-date/ IFL to unveil six-sided ring during Aug. 15 show :Five Ounces of Pain ] ] This event has since been cancelled due to the company's financial problems, and made no announcement in regards to when or if it would resume full-scale operations again. [ [http://www.ifl.tv/Press-080610-IFL-Cancels-Event.html Mixed Martial Arts – International Fight League – MMA League Events | IFL.tv ] ]

In July 2008, there were reports of the IFL's possible purchase by the UFC'. [ [http://www.clusterstock.com/2008/7/ufc-might-buy-clobbered-international-fight-league-ifli- "Hope For KO-ed International Fight League (IFLI): UFC Might Buy It" Clusterstock] ] That same month, Joe Favorito, former IFL senior vice president, cited financial troubles for the closing of the company on July 31, 2008. Anonymous sources stated that parent company of the UFC, Zuffa, had bought the IFL. [ [http://www.thefightnetwork.com/news/mma/805/zuffa_purchases_ifl Zuffa Purchases IFL] ] Other reports cited the UFC's airing of IFL footage on its programming, and the signing of previous IFL fighters, as an indirect confirmation of the purchase. [ [http://www.5thround.com/07252008/news/1293/ifl-going-goinggone/ IFL: Going, Going...Gone! UFC Here We Come?] ]

Television

In 2007, the IFL made a television deal with Fox Sports Net and MyNetworkTV. This made it the first MMA promotion to appear regularly on broadcast TV in the United States. [cite web
url=http://ifl.tv/Press-07Feb2-IFL-TOTAL-IMPACT-PROGRAM-DEBUT-MARCH-ON-MYNETWORKTV.html
title="International Fight League's Total Impact" Program to debut on March 12th on MyNetworktv
date=2007-02-01
accessdate=2007-02-01
publisher=www.ifl.tv
]
The premiere of "IFL Battleground" on March 12 2007 on MyNetworkTV scored a 0.8 household rating (1.12 million viewers), and gained 250% in all key male demos (0.7 vs. 0.2) versus February. This represented a new MyNetworkTV high for male 18-34, a 17% rise over the previous record of 0.6. [cite web
url=http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6424128.html
title="MNT Gains With IFL But Ratings Remain Small"
date=2007-03-13
accessdate=2007-03-12
publisher=www.broadcastingcable.com
] However this episode was criticized by MMA journalists and fans, saying it glorified violence and brutality. [cite news
first=Ken
last=Pishna
title=IFL BATTLEGROUND PREMIERS TO... 911?!
url=http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=3590
date=2007-03-13
work=MMAWeekly.com
accessdate=2007-03-14
] Kurt Otto apologized to fans, their fighters and coaches, and critics for the content of that show, and that "we made a mistake with some parts of the show, but we will learn from this and grow." [cite news
first=Ken
last=Pishna
title=IFL COMMISH KURT OTTO APOLOGIZES
url=http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=3597
date=2007-03-14
work=MMAWeekly.com
accessdate=2007-03-14
]

On February 5 2008 the IFL announced a partnership with the HDNet to air the first three events of their 2008 season Live. [ [http://www.ifl.tv/Press-080205-HDNet-First-Three.html IFL, HDNet Fights Team Up to Televise First Three 2008 IFL Events Live ] ]

On February 15 2008 MyNetworkTV cancelled "IFL Battleground". [cite web|url=http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=7556|title=Breaking News|date=2008-02-15|accessdate=2008-03-07|publisher="The Futon Critic"]

Camps

The IFL currently consisted of nine camps, all owned by the league, and each coached by a veteran MMA fighter. Originally the IFL had teams that were associated with cities but that proved to be a lark as many of the teams did not train in their respective cities nor did all the fighters live in those cities as well. Thus in 2008 the IFL changed the format to revolve around existing camps and their established fighters. The current camps for this current season are as follows:

2007 Standings

* 2007 IFL Team Standings
* 2007 IFL Individual Weight class Standings

Grand Prix

In order to appease the many MMA critics who felt that the team concept the IFL displayed had no place in the one-on-one sport of MMA, the IFL decided to conduct an end of the year Grand Prix which will take the four best fighters of each weight class to fight it out in a mini tournament that will be conducted over two events. The first event will take place on November 3, 2007 and the second on December 29, 2007. Each Grand Prix winner will be crowned the first IFL champions of their weight class and be awarded titles that they will defend during the 2008 season.

* 2007 IFL Grand Prix

IFL Schedules/ Seasons

*2006 International Fight League
*2007 International Fight League
*2008 International Fight League

IFL Draft

As announced on September 25 2007, the IFL underwent their very first IFL draft to find new talent to fill the ranks of fighters that were cut from their IFL contracts (due to poor records).Fact|date=July 2008 The draft took place in the three different locations on October 13 2007. [ [http://www.ifl.tv/Draft.html International Fight League ] ]

uper Fights

Along with the traditional five on five team system matches the IFL also has occasional super fights between various fighters that do not count towards any team system and may include fighters not associated with any IFL team. So far these superfights have occurred along with their results:

* Jens Pulver def Cole Escovedo by KO in 56 seconds of the first round (4/29/06)
* Ben Uker def Travis Doerge by submission (key lock) in 2:10 of the first round (6/03/06)
* Chris Horodecki def Erik Owings by KO in 4 minutes of the first round (6/03/06)
* Jay Hieron def Jake Ellenberger by unanimous decision (6/03/06)
* Jamal Patterson def Alex Schoenauer by submission (guillotine choke) 2:32 in the first round (6/03/06)
* Daniel Gracie def Wes Sims by technical submission (rear naked choke) 2:42 in the first round (6/03/06)
* Matt Lindland def Jeremy Horn by TKO (Strikes) 0:21 in the second round (9/09/06)
* Renzo Gracie def Pat Miletich by submission (guillotine choke) 3:37 in the first round (9/23/06)
* Allan Goes def Daniel Gracie by TKO (Strikes) 1:03 in the second round (11/02/06)
* Mike Whitehead def Mark Kerr by TKO (strikes) 2:40 in the first round (11/02/06)
* Erik Owings def Ed West by decision (unanimous) (12/29/06)
* Andre Gusmao def Brent Beauparlant by decision (unanimous) (12/29/06)
* Reese Andy def Jamal Patterson by TKO (ref stoppage) 3:24 in the second round (12/29/06)
* Daniel Markes def Tyrie Johnson by KO 1:03 in the first round (12/30/06)
* Mike Whitehead def Krysztof Soszynski by decision (unanimous) (12/29/06)
* Renzo Gracie def Carlos Newton by decision (split) (12/29/06)
* Jeremy Horn def Faliniko Vitale by decision (split) (01/19/07)
* Matt Lindland def Carlos Newton by submission (guillotine choke) 1:43 in the second round (2/2/07)
* Robbie Lawler def Eduardo Pamplona by TKO (ref. stoppage) 1:36 in the third round (2/23/07)
* Jeff Curran def Kevin English by submission (guillotine choke) 1:12 in the second round (4/7/07)
* Maurice Smith def Marco Ruas by TKO (Towel) at 3:43 into the fourth round (5/19/07)
* Lyman Good def Mike Dolce by decision (unanimous) (08/02/07)
* Dante Rivera def Nissim Levy by TKO (strikes) at 1:15 of the third round (08/02/07)

Rules

The IFL follows the "Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts" established by the New Jersey Athletic Board, with several exceptions. In addition, the IFL is also sanctioned by the *ISCF - International Sport Combat Federation

* Matches consist of three rounds of four minutes instead of the usual five,
* Elbow strikes are not allowed to the face or head,
* If the match is initially scored a draw after three rounds, there will be a three-minute sudden victory round to decide a winner.

Ring

In contrast with most mixed martial arts promotions in the United States, the IFL stages their fights in a five-roped ring similar to the one used in PRIDE.

On 5/08/08 the IFL announced the unveiling of a new six sided ring that will be used for the IFL. Nicknamed the "hex", the ring was created by Throwdown who is a MMA equipment manufacturer. The ring allows more surface area to fight as well as give fans a better view of the action. [ [http://www.ifl.tv/Press-080508-IFL-The-Hex.html Mixed Martial Arts – International Fight League – MMA League Events | IFL.tv ] ]

Weight Classes

The IFL currently uses six weight classes:

* Featherweight: (136-145 lb.)
* Lightweight: (146–155 lb.)
* Welterweight: (156–170 lb.)
* Middleweight: (171–185 lb.)
* Light Heavyweight: (186–205 lb.)
* Heavyweight: (206–265 lb.)

There are three other weight classes specified in the Unified Rules which the IFL does not use: flyweight (125 lb. and below), bantamweight (126–135 lb.), and super heavyweight (266 lb. and above).

ee also

*Mixed Martial Arts
*List of IFL champions

References

Additional references

* Hunt, Loretta. [http://www.internationalfightleague.com/News.aspx?t=&i=31 Introducing the International Fight League] . "IFC.TV." January 9 2006. Retrieved May 6 2006.
*Thaler, Jeff. [http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles.asp?n_id=4051 Breaking Down the Match-Up: UFC vs. IFL] . "Sherdog.com". March 2 2006. Retrieved May 6 2006.

External links

* [http://www.ifl.tv/ IFL] - Official Website


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