Tuesday, May 09, 2006


International Fight LeagueFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The International Fight League is a mixed martial arts promotion billed as the world's first MMA league. Instead of the establish norm for MMA events, where matchups are strictly one-on-one affairs, each IFL card is a showdown between two teams of five fighters, each fighter fighting one match against another on the opposing team. The IFL is televised in the United States on Fox Sports Net.The IFL was founded in 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 to elevate the livelihoods of mixed martial arts fighters, many of them living meagerly, training without steady incomes and only earning small fight purses when they do fight. With the IFL, they intend to create a system not only showcasing 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 contast 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 with a continuing storyline.It has been widely speculated the IFL, with the deep pockets of its founders, television deal and innovative business plan, may become a major circuit for MMA in North America, directly competing with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Already, the UFC and IFL have a hostle 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. 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).The IFL currently consists of four teams, all owned by the league, and each coached by a retired MMA fighter. The teams are: the Anacondas, coached by Bas Rutten; the Pitbulls, coached by Renzo Gracie; the Silverbacks, coached by Pat Miletich; and the Tiger Sharks, coached by Maurice Smith. There will be three episodes of the inaugural IFL season, with the winners of the first two episodes matching off in the finale. Future seasons may include as many as 12 teams.
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