International Fighting League

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The Ifl, International Fighting League is a championship where only a good all-round fighter can survive.
Different of other MMA leagues is that the IFL still fights in a ring. Last year, they have changed the traditional ring for the octagon ring. Reither they still fight between the ropes, there is a bigger surface fot the war.

The IFL started in 2006.

When former Showtime executive Jay Larkin took over as the IFL’s new CEO in december 2007, he didn’t waste any time in planning some major changes for the league in 2008.  Now a little over a month away from the first event of the year, those changes – as well as the reasons behind them – are coming to light.

The most obvious of those changes is the transition from the tightly structured, team-versus-team format of the league’s early days into a more fluid system that matches the more organic, existing camps in MMA against one another, while incorporating individual champions.

“One of the very first things that I did when I came on was to examine the original team concept of the IFL,” said Larkin.  “When I came on there were teams here called Anacondas, Razorclaws, Pitbulls, Dragons, Scorpions.  As an observer, before I joined this organization, I felt that those teams were contrived, and I learned later that a large majority of the MMA public agreed. 

“We had teams with contrived names, fighting out of cities that they had no connection to, in cities that neither team was from.  That did not make for a strong basis for fan support.  It became irrelevant who was actually in the ring.

“The first change I made was to address that, eliminate that, and now those teams are gone and we changed the format to something I think the fans and the writers can relate to, and that is camp-based competition.”

The camp-based competition, in addition to bouts between title-holders in each weight class, also allows for greater flexibility on the fight cards, Larkin said.  This more open system allows for new camps – American Top Team and Team Punishment, to name two examples put forth by Larkin – to bring their fighters in at any time.

For instance, the first card of 2008 features fighters from Team Quest, Xtreme Couture, the Lion’s Den, and Mario Sperry’s World Class Fight Center, in addition to three title bouts.

Larkin is quick to point out that these changes reflect an organization that is learning from its mistakes, and one that is doing so with speed and clarity.

“As with any startup organization, there are going to be some correct moves and there are going to be some missteps.  This organization’s been in existence for a little over a year and a half. 

"There were some missteps in the beginning, and one thing that we don’t want to do is perpetuate a mistake, regardless of how honestly that mistake was made or with what good intentions.  There were a lot of things that were done out of necessity, as a startup organization, that are not so relevant right now.

“We’re trying to correct the mistakes, we’re trying to enhance the things we’ve done right, we’re moving forward in our television production and we’re about to premiere a whole new graphics package as we move into a new era for the second year of the IFL.”

One of those changes was announced yesterday, as MMA legend and former champion Bas Rutten was named as Vice President of Fighter Operations.  While Larkin will be the business head of the company, Rutten will serve as the public face in a role that allows him to put his immense popularity with fans and fighters alike to good use.

“One of the things that I think we are doing that’s one of the most compelling things we’ve done here since we turned on the lights is establishing a new role for Bas Rutten.  Bas is an icon in the MMA world,” said Larkin. 

“For us to be successful, we need an icon in that leadership role.  There is no one more iconic in MMA who has the respect of the fighters or the love of the fans than Bas Rutten….He has the ability to help us strengthen our connections across the industry and help us make the best fights, and that’s what it all comes down to.  As we say, it’s the fights, not the lights.  When you have a good match in the ring, it doesn’t matter what banner is hanging over that ring.”

Larkin noted that other changes in the league would include returning to a few select cities and venues – such as the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and the Izod Center in New Jersey, among others – rather than traveling to a new city for each new event.