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« | Home | »

IFL/Kurt Otto radio interview

By Zach Arnold | May 21, 2007

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By Zach Arnold

Update: More IFL stock shares to be made available? A stock split? Tomer weighs in.

On Sherdog.com yesterday, IFL co-founder Kurt Otto did a 30-plus minute long radio interview (audio here – time mark is from 31:00-1:02:30).

Here is a summary of the interview (and we’ll focus on the questions regarding the company’s finances).

The topic of Super Fights

Otto stated that the legends (Bas Rutten, Pat Miletich, etc.) attracted fans initially to the IFL and when those legends started recruiting fighters, it motivated the fighters to want to compete again. The IFL has been able to place the legends in positions to build new stars. Sometimes the super fights are good and sometimes they are not good.

The topic of Maurice Smith vs. Marco Ruas

Otto said that Maurice Smith stuck to his game plan, which involved wearing out his opponent. Even though Ruas won the first three rounds, Smith ended up wearing him out in round four and Ruas ended up going to the hospital. He has a slight orbital/cheekbone fracture. Otto claimed that he had no regrets in booking that fight and thought it was unfortunate that uneducated fans booed the fight while the more educated fans watched the fight closely.

The topic of merchandising

A caller phoned in and asked Otto why the IFL doesn’t have a complete selection of merchandise to order online or to buy at the live events. Otto stated that merchandising was done in-house but that they have now been able to outsource production to a new company, which should result in a good turnaround in a few weeks.

In regards to IFL DVDs, Otto claimed the first DVD would be released soon and it would be a montage of the best submissions, knockouts, and fights from the debut season.

The topic of marketing the team concept

Otto remarked that fans are starting to care about the team concept and the idea of having a playoff format. He cited a Sherdog.com poll that had close to 19,000 votes on it — but the radio hosts (Greg Savage and Jeff Sherwood) either didn’t know about the poll or forgot about it. Otto stated that the team competition has really stepped up from last year when the Silverbacks won the championships. The Silverbacks are now fighting to survive to make the playoffs.

The topic of the IFL’s financial heath

The IFL stock price is around $3 USD/share and on Tuesday, the company’s quarterly report stated that they lost $7 million USD (net loss) in 2007 Q1. Since the IFL’s debut, the company has had a net loss of $16.6 million USD. The report also stated the following:

Future Capital Requirements

Since inception, our MMA operations have incurred losses, and we have funded these operating deficits through proceeds of $2.5 million from the 2006 issuance of preferred stock and from net proceeds of approximately $22.2 million from our December 2006 private placement. Based upon management’s current forecast of future revenues and expenses, the Company believes its cash resources will likely be sufficient to fund operations into, but not through the end of, the fourth quarter of 2007.

Otto responded to questions about the company’s health at the 48 minute mark of the radio interview. Greg Savage said that in a meeting he had with Gareb Shamus on Saturday, Shamus thought the media’s focus on the company’s stock price and financials was unfair because the ’strong’ TV ratings the IFL is drawing with Battleground and FSN are not being pointed out enough. Otto stated on the radio interview that the fans support the IFL and generally care about the company’s health. In response to media reports focusing on the IFL stating in their Q1 2007 report that they would run out of money by the end of the year, Otto clearly stated twice that that’s not the case. Otto stated that management is in it for the long haul and that they want to make a difference in the sport. He mentioned that new people have been brought into production for the IFL Battleground show and that each show is improving. Between the IFL initial & replay telecasts on Fox Sports Net and MyNetworkTV, the company is getting seven hours of media exposure a week. Otto stated that the IFL is in a race to get great ratings and to use their TV shows to tell the world who they are and why they are on the air. He emphasized that the TV coverage was vital and that it would trickle down into increasing show ticket sales and merchandising sales. Otto stressed the need for patience and to dig in deep for results to surface. He wished that fans would cut them just a little bit of slack, as the company is ‘growing’ at a healthy rate.

In regards to the stock price, Otto feels that the current price is an accurate reflection of where the company stands. He felt that the stock price was overvalued a little bit and that the 60 Minutes TV segment catapulted the stock price to the levels it reached (in the $15-17 USD/share range). Otto claimed that he’s not focused on the stock price and feels that being a publicly-traded company allows them to get access to more capital and to make business partnerships. Being a publicly-traded company gives them legitimacy. It takes money to build the IFL machine, but do people know where the money they are spending is going? It was not in the IFL’s business plan to have two TV shows in under a year’s worth of time and that the Battleground show costs them money to produce (but it’s ‘money well spent’).

Otto denied (for a third time) that the IFL would run out of money.

The topic of booking new super fights

Otto discussed Igor Zinoviev’s desire to return to fight, but that other super fights need to be booked first. Otto stated that he doesn’t believe in giving legends tomato cans, as demonstrated when he booked Mark Kerr against Mike Whitehead. He stated that watching The Smashing Machine inspired him to ‘do this’ (I think he means getting into MMA…).

In regards to Frank Shamrock being positioned as a heel or a ‘bad guy’, Otto believes that it’s due to Frank being outspoken about his ability and his knowledge of the sport. He (Otto) has not discussed money issues with Frank in regards to fighting in the IFL, but stated that if Frank can make big money elsewhere then he should go for it.

Topics: IFL, MMA, Media, Zach Arnold | 40 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

40 Responses to “IFL/Kurt Otto radio interview”

  1. Randy Rowles says:

    Seven hours of media exposure a week, and yet most fans don’t even have a clue as to how the IFL works. This seems to be a big part of the problem. Seems like if you’re going to introduce a new concept to MMA, you’d want to go out of your way to explain that concept. The IFL seems to do the opposite most of the time, keeping it all a mystery, and just making things even more confusing. There might be more interest in the team-concept of the IFL, if people had some idea of what was at stake at any given time, like they would with any other team sport. I wrote up an article explaining how the IFL works for anyone who doesn’t already know and is curious.

    http://www.mmatorch.com/artman/publish/article_503.shtml

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    They are frauding the investors with some of their comments.

  3. Zach Arnold says:

    I don’t know if I’d 100% agree with your opinion, but I will say the following…

    It’s walking a very fine line when you state in a quarterly SEC filing that you have a limited amount of cash left and may not make the fourth quarter of ‘07, and then turnaround and state clearly on a radio interview that ‘that’s not the case.’

    The question I have is whether or not the comments are enough to justify action from the SEC (either on their own doing or via an investor complaint).

  4. grafdog says:

    Frank is a heel. He should have supported the ifl more if he wants to remain employed.
    Renzo v Frank was a natural for the ifl, and would have given them instant exposure.
    Boy i’d like to see Egah Z rematch Frank, bet Igor would as well.
    Ruas (after he’s healed up) v Frye would close the chapter of ” fights that should have happened years ago”.
    Frank v Ken would be great also.
    The team dynamic is there when ties are to be broken and the fighters fight harder during the final fights. You can see an increase in motivation similar to the old tournament days.

  5. Zach Arnold says:

    Who do you think would win in a battle of the Shamrocks?

    BTW, from the Otto interview at the 48:45 mark: I think the fans support us and generally care about the health of our company. And, uh, and I’m excited about that, I know Gareb is excited about that, that people have (can’t make out word), oh my God, you know, I’ve looked at the filing and it looks like you guys are going to be out of money by the end of the year. That’s not the case. That’s not the case. We didn’t, we didn’t get into this to have some fights and get out. We’re getting into this for the long term and we really want to make a difference in this sport.

  6. Grape Knee High says:

    There’s always the possibility that Gareb Shamus might subsidize the IFL with his own cash; it could be that that is what Otto might be referring to. I like the IFL as a minor league substitute of the UFC/PRIDE but I personally don’t see this league lasting very long other than as a very expensive hobby for Shamus and Otto.

  7. Lynchman says:

    Strong ratings? The last show dropped to a .5, which is what MyNetwork averages anyway.

  8. Mateo says:

    The only reason I feel sorry for the IFL is that the idea behind it is to provide a better life for the fighters on it’s roster.

    I think attacking the Chicago crowd is also wrong. I haven’t seen the fight, but the report I read made it sound like Ruas did not want to engage at all.

  9. Tomer Chen says:

    A few comments:

    1) Kurt Otto attacking the fans that booed the Ruas/Smith fight as being ‘uneducated’ seems rather inappropriate. If Ruas was as gunshy as the PBP/reports suggest, it’s not the Chicago crowd lacking knowledge, but rather a lack of passion by the fighter is trying to engage and push whatever action he could and the crowd punishing him for it with boos. It’s one thing if there was a Nogueira-Henderson II grappling clinic that was getting booed by the crowd because they thought it was boring and would rather see two guys trading heavy leather standing. But if it’s posturing with no real action (like Gonzaga-Jordan), then definitely there’s a legitimate reason why they’re getting angry.

    2) Mr. Otto, in trying to defend why he thought the SEC Annual Report and the Q1 Report cash flow issue wasn’t as serious as it should be believed was trying to argue that the TV deal was going to be the force that would eventually change the business, even though the reports actually say that the FSN contract is an equal offset transaction (costs = revenues), so, in reality, the live gates are what need to go up significantly. And, for some reason, I don’t think running venues several times larger than the attendance rates you are bringing in is an efficient method of reducing costs so profits go up.

  10. Euthyphro says:

    I think the reason for the discrepancy in their comments is that the SEC filing really has to take the ‘worst-case-scenario’ outlook so as not to defraud investors. It’s a company that’s losing money and they have to make that clear. Whether the owners add more cash during the 4th quarter isn’t something that you would elude to in an SEC filing. It’s most likely that their current operating model can only be maintained through Q4, at which point Gareb will infuse more of his own money. Since that hasn’t happened yet, you can’t account for it in the filing.

  11. Zack says:

    If they don’t get on live TV, it will never turn around. I would have definitely stayed up and tuned into see Maurice vs Ruas, but the IFL TV schedule is confusing and honestly I barely bother anymore.

    My roomate tapes Battleground on Monday nights, but the main reason why it’s not exciting is because there is no time frame context involved. In order to get the fans to care, you have to make us think the match has meaning or purpose…fights that happened weeks ago can’t carry that weight.

  12. Tomer Chen says:

    I think the reason for the discrepancy in their comments is that the SEC filing really has to take the ‘worst-case-scenario’ outlook so as not to defraud investors. It’s a company that’s losing money and they have to make that clear. Whether the owners add more cash during the 4th quarter isn’t something that you would elude to in an SEC filing. It’s most likely that their current operating model can only be maintained through Q4, at which point Gareb will infuse more of his own money. Since that hasn’t happened yet, you can’t account for it in the filing.

    This is true, although it’s odd that the Annual Report only said:

    If our revenues from operations turn out to be insufficient to meet our projected capital needs in the short term, we will likely be required to raise additional capital through equity or debt financings in the near future. Such capital is not expected to be available to us from Mr. Kurtz and may not be available from any other party or, if it is available, such capital may not be available on terms that are acceptable to us. A future financing may be substantially dilutive to our existing stockholders and could result in significant financial and operating covenants that would negatively impact our business. If we are unable to raise sufficient additional capital on acceptable terms, we will have insufficient funds to operate our business or pursue our planned growth.

    It should have been spelled out that a direct infuse of funds from Mr. Shamus would be another option in that report if it was a possibility. As it is, it sounds like Mr. Shamus didn’t have the funds as of the Annual Report but does have it now (during the interview).

  13. Euthyphro says:

    Actually Tomer, I disagree with that. Technically, they’re being as accurate as possible, since in accounting terms the only ways you can finance are through debt or equity. A direct infusion of funds from Mr. Shamus would have to take the form of one or the other — either he loans the IFL the money, or increases his stake in the company by the amount that the infusion adds to the company’s value. It’s unlikely that it’s 100% decided as of this point how he would go about financing the company into 2008, so they have to cover all their bases. That’s just how accounting works. I think you’re reading into the report things that aren’t there. This is a straightforward report from a company that’s losing money. I’m no IFL apologist, but I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here.

  14. Tomer Chen says:

    Actually Tomer, I disagree with that. Technically, they’re being as accurate as possible, since in accounting terms the only ways you can finance are through debt or equity. A direct infusion of funds from Mr. Shamus would have to take the form of one or the other — either he loans the IFL the money, or increases his stake in the company by the amount that the infusion adds to the company’s value. It’s unlikely that it’s 100% decided as of this point how he would go about financing the company into 2008, so they have to cover all their bases. That’s just how accounting works. I think you’re reading into the report things that aren’t there. This is a straightforward report from a company that’s losing money. I’m no IFL apologist, but I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here.

    Actually, the notes to the financial statements are not per se directly influenced by GAAP standards. While the financial statements (balance sheet, income statement & statement of CF) and any notes relating directly to them have to be told in terms of GAAP (as they are relating to GAAP items), any additional notes relating to potential liquidity issues, etc. do not have to directly conform to the standards so long as there is transparency to the average investor (IE: They know what it means and where it’s coming from). I have never read any FASB documentation that suggests otherwise, so if you are making that assertion, I need links that verify that’s the GAAP standard and that S-OX does not trump it by demanding even more specific insight into the future policies.

  15. grafdog says:

    What makes the Sham v Sham matchup is that ken always beat up frank, but is a bit older now. They could promote it as some kind of Cain and Abel clash. I really don’t know who would win other than the fans.

    Mr Chen, Otto was pointing out the obvious, and i’d say the same thing. I’d imagine not all people in attendence were aware Ruas fought smith b4. If the people were educated to this fact or had watched that fight live years ago perhaps they would have been interested in just soaking up the final chapter between 2 world champions, and then be considered “fans”.

    Also i’d imagine not many new “fans” know that fighting is 90% mental, or are familiar with the concept of sacrificing to gain a win: as in chess or judo.

    I know Severn gets pretty good respect from the crowd at the gladiator challange or king of the cage here in Cal. We are always happy to see a legend put it on the line for the fans(which severn makes clear after his fights) even when its a slow tactical match.

    Which reminds me of the last time Severn fought and won against big ol 300 lb lumpy. It was a good fight and you could see the brain of Severn clicking away calculating how to set lumpy up for some grappling.
    After the show we were hanging with severn while he signed shirts and posed for photos. Lumpy had come to the table holding an icepack on throat (from when Severn strangled him) in one hand and a severn shirt in the other for signing. Boy was lumpy happy to get that shirt signed by the guy who had beat him.

    Lumpy handed the shirt to Dan then went to get a beverage and talk to some folks. At this point Severn severn waved us over and said in a quite voice…

    What was that guys name?

  16. [...] The short and sweet is: OMG WE R BROKE LOL. LET’S SELL MORE STOCK!!!11! This is apparently the plan Kurt Otto has to deal with the fact that the IFL will be out of money by the end of the [...]

  17. Euthyphro says:

    Tomer, you’re making a different point than my own. I’m not bringing up Sarbanes-Oxley or GAAP standards. What I’m saying is, what you referred to as a “cash infusion” by definition has to be either a debt or equity financing. Shamus isn’t just going to donate 20 million dollars to the IFL — that’s not how you manage your financing when you’re running a transparent public company. Therefore, as written in the SEC filing, the company will run out of money unless there is additional debt or equity financing.

    Yes, their additional note does not have to conform to the same standards as the balance sheets, but that’s irrelevant here. The statement they made was both technically accurate and exactly what you would expect from a company which is expecting to run out of money, but add capital to avoid bankruptcy.

    I think we’ve both belabored the point here, but without obscuring the argument with semantics and the technical requirements of the SEC, let me emphasize that the statement in the IFL’s quarterly report is in no way inaccurate, and similarly does not contradict what Kurt Otto said on the Savage Dog Show.

  18. Hey guys, looks like Otto’s plan is to ask the stockholders for permission to double the number of stocks they’re allowed to sell. You can read about it here. I’d feel like a real journalist or some shit, but I heard about the meeting through the Underground forums. Oh well.

  19. Tomer Chen says:

    Euthyphro,

    From the Annual Report:

    such capital may not be available on terms that are acceptable to us.

    Unless the CEO himself intends to set terms to purchase equity or long term debt that will ultimately kill the baby he purports to be saving (which would not do ), I seriously doubt that the bolded part is 100% true when factoring in internal options. It’s only true if you consider external investors rather than a management figure who can gain more shares or loan the funds at a reasonable rate (which, in turn, would give the manager(s) who have invested even more incentive to turn around the company since their own investment would be in the balance). And while they did discuss Mr. Kurtz wanting no part in investing again into the project, they failed to mention Mr. Shamus’ interest in infusing his own funds (as Mr. Otto discussed on the program).

    You may disagree with the conclusion I’ve reached, but I’d be hard pressed to say what was mentioned in the report was 100% accurate, given that above bolded section.

  20. Tomer Chen says:

    Mr Chen, Otto was pointing out the obvious, and i’d say the same thing. I’d imagine not all people in attendence were aware Ruas fought smith b4. If the people were educated to this fact or had watched that fight live years ago perhaps they would have been interested in just soaking up the final chapter between 2 world champions, and then be considered “fans”.

    Also i’d imagine not many new “fans” know that fighting is 90% mental, or are familiar with the concept of sacrificing to gain a win: as in chess or judo.

    I’m a fan of technical battles as much as the next fan of MMA (or Boxing), but let’s be serious here. The vast majority of fans in any combat sport (MMA, Boxing, etc.) are casual fans who are interested in seeing an action fight and not a Severn-Kimo or Severn-Shamrock II circle-and-jab fest that may be the smarter gameplan in terms of technical ability, but puts the question out of “Why am I spending $50 for a PPV or several hundred dollars for ringside tickets for two guys circling each other for 5 rounds?” out there and could hurt the business of the promotion that sanctions further fights with said fighters.

    In addition, just because two fighters have a history and may be tentative about facing each other head on doesn’t mean that they aren’t stinking up the joint. While Cory Spinks was able to frustrate Jermain Taylor on Saturday with his jab-and-run style of fighting and was technically sound in following that style, it doesn’t mean that it was a “Brilliant fight” that “Only the hardcore fans could appreciate it.” I’d like to say I’m a pretty hardcore Boxing fan, but it was definitely was a snooze fest as it wasn’t active counterpunching by Spinks, it was him dancing around and countering 3-4 times a round as Taylor hit him 1-2 times. There’s a fine line between a ‘technical masterpiece’ and a ’snoozefest’ with regards to the pressure of one party to actively counter, go for the finish, etc. You may have a technically sound plan like Josh Koscheck had against Diego Sanchez, but it doesn’t mean it was a fight that hardcore fans have to like. Excitement is an element of the fight game just as prepping the left hook or setting up that armbar is.

    Yes, at a higher level of skill you will see stalemates like this, but it is no excuse for a poor showing in terms of entertainment because you are being paid to fight in front of the live & TV audience, not to add a “W” to your records (although if you do both, that’s super). There is, after all, a difference between the Amateurs (where you can learn technique at the expense of entertainment value as you’re not being paid) versus the Pros (where you are being paid to entertain by the promoter). There is also a reason why Arturo Gatti can sell out the Boardwalk Hall even if he’s getting killed in the ring whereas a ‘Winky’ Wright or Bernard Hopkins does eh business unless he’s being paired with a big draw or is given an exciting undercard.

  21. Tomer Chen says:

    Update: More IFL stock shares to be made available? A stock split?

    A stock split makes no sense as it would only allow dilution of the per share price and not increase the Market Value of the shares. If anything, they’re trying to expanded the corporate charter’s cap on authorized shares to allow more shares to be sold.

  22. grafdog says:

    Comparing mma to boxing is like comparing chess to checkers. Checkers is straight forward run to the finish with only one direction, forwards. Chess fans watch to see the strategy unfold and to learn from the masters.
    So i guess theres a lot of checker fans jumping on the chess bandwagon without the appreciation of the strategies or the masters.

    To compare Smith v Ruas, which actually had a finish brought about by Smiths strategy, to Severn v Kimo, Shammy is wrong because in those two fights the opponents happened to have the same strategy ending in a stalemate.

    I’d have to watch the fight to make any comparisons. Did you?

  23. Tomer Chen says:

    Comparing mma to boxing is like comparing chess to checkers. Checkers is straight forward run to the finish with only one direction, forwards. Chess fans watch to see the strategy unfold and to learn from the masters.
    So i guess theres a lot of checker fans jumping on the chess bandwagon without the appreciation of the strategies or the masters.

    I would say that it’s a bit presumptuous to assert that Boxing (or at least their fans) are checkers-based while MMA is chess-based given, for example, that Boxing has a multi-tiered offensive/defensive combat sport. A Benny Leonard is different from a George Foreman, who is in turn different from a ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson. Just because Boxing itself only encompasses the fists while standing up doesn’t mean there isn’t a depth to the technique it presents.

    While I agree that many of the new fans watching MMA are probably not as familiar with the finer points of setting up the gogoplata or landing a picture perfect spinning backfist, I cannot agree with your claim that MMA is a ‘master art’ while Boxing is not.

    To compare Smith v Ruas, which actually had a finish brought about by Smiths strategy, to Severn v Kimo, Shammy is wrong because in those two fights the opponents happened to have the same strategy ending in a stalemate.

    It doesn’t really matter in the end argument because (apparently) in all 3 cases, the real losers in the fight were the fans as Ruas (by all accounts) seemed content in posturing and going for the occasional takedown, slowing the fight to the a crawl just like Severn was willing to stand outside Shamrock & Kim’s firing zone and probing with the jab for 20+ minutes. The only difference is that Ruas eventually ‘lowered his guard’ and paid for not trying harder to press the fight and go for a stoppage of his own by Smith at the end. Even so, the strategy seemed to be one that was full of inactive moments and was a ‘bidding time’ move just like Ricardo Arona taking down opponents and pinning them down until he gets stood up.

    I’d have to watch the fight to make any comparisons. Did you?

    Will the fight be shown on TV anytime soon?

  24. Jonathan says:

    This is some in depth analysis by Euthyphro and Tomer Chen. My hat is off to both of you guys for making alot of good points, even if they are kind of hard to understand. Personally, I believe that the IFL is in a bad way, but I think that if anyone is going to survive, these guys will. But then again, I am reminded of how upbeat the WFA was when they talked about all that they were going to do.

    I think Shamrock vs Shamrock will bring in some new fans…and I cannot wait to see Frank and Ken hug after the match. You know that it is going to happen!

  25. Tomer Chen says:

    This is some in depth analysis by Euthyphro and Tomer Chen. My hat is off to both of you guys for making alot of good points, even if they are kind of hard to understand. Personally, I believe that the IFL is in a bad way, but I think that if anyone is going to survive, these guys will. But then again, I am reminded of how upbeat the WFA was when they talked about all that they were going to do.

    I personally don’t think the IFL will last much beyond the end of the year even if Gareb Shamus does toss money or they do get to authorized more shares of stock, mainly because a number of these contracts seem to be long haul and will drain the funds almost as soon as they get them. Can I end up being wrong? Sure, and I’d be more than happy to be. But the odds are not in its favor. If Mr. Shamus is wise, he will likely not put his own funds into the virtual ‘money pit’.

    As an addendum to my discussion with Euthyphro, I don’t personally think that the IFL would really be fined/investigated based on Mr. Otto’s comments, but it is a bit head scratching to not see both external and internal potential investor opportunities discussed in those notes (hence my issue with the 100% accurate comment). They weren’t misleading, but they didn’t show all angles, either (in my mind). Hope that explains my point a bit better than my convoluted argumentation earlier. ;)

  26. JThue says:

    Great Severn-story, grafdog :)

  27. 45 Huddle says:

    Selling more stock is really their last option. But it will only slow the death. Their business plan is flawed. And their ratings are bad enough that they might not be on MyNetworkTV next year (if the station is still around).

  28. Euthyphro says:

    Tomer, we definitely agree that the IFL is in trouble. The only investments that really matter right now are what they get from advertisers (of the non-Xyience variety) and fans (in the form of merchandise and ticket sales). Until they have the latter, they won’t get the former. No amount of money from the Wizard folks is going to change that. The team concept, in its present incarnation, isn’t working. The UFC can get by, when they have a weak card, on pushing the brand of the organization itself. They’ve earned that over a long period of time. Right now, the IFL is only going to survive by building and pushing stars — they don’t have the cachet in the league name or the team names to draw fans.

    If I were in charge, this is how I’d fix the IFL:

    I’d change a few things as soon as possible — once the playoffs are over this season:

    Hold the planned all-star event and set IFL individual champions in each weight class.

    Make the teams informal (i.e. now they’re organizations of fighters who train together), and…

    End the team scoring model (no more team-based events or team rankings)

    Change the myNetwork TV show to an HBO-style “24/7″ format in the weeks leading up to a big fight.

    Once a month, hold your cards in large fight markets (Atlantic City, LA, Vegas, New York (once the Marc Ratner gets MMA un-banned in the Empire State). For each card, tape 2 hours of “undercard” for the Fox Sports Net shows, and go live on myNetworkTV for the main card.

    Essentially, your schedule would look like this:

    Average Month:

    Week 1: Monday – IFL Battleground (myNet TV) – Previous week recap and transition to promotion for week 4 live event
    Week 2: Monday – IFL Battleground (myNet TV) – 24/7-style promotion
    -IFL on Fox Sports Net – “best-of” fights
    Week 3: Monday – IFL Battleground (myNet TV) – 24/7-style promotion
    Week 4: Monday – IFL Battleground (myNet TV) – Live Fight Card
    -IFL on Fox Sports Net – undercard fights from Monday night’s card which were not shown on the live program & additional “wrap-up” interviews

    It’s a larger initial investment to get the infrastructure up and running for monthly live TV, but I think a restructured business model like this can attract new investment. If the IFL takes off, then you have a perfect “Ultimate Fight Night” style free-tv model to go along with eventual Pay-Per-Views. If they can product compelling stories they can provide better-than-average ratings for myNetworkTV (think a 1.0 to a 1.5) on weeks 1, 2, and 3, then a significantly larger rating for the live fight card on week 4. This is the kind of thing that could draw fans, and eventually, major advertisers.

    Thoughts?

  29. Tomer Chen says:

    Thoughts?

    It’s a good idea, although I also believe that they should consider focusing on (i) minimizing the amount travel costs that they have (which would likely require reducing the total amount of shows run) and (ii) stop running medium to large sized venues when the attendance will fit a small sized venue. It’s better in terms of arena fees and fan perspective (live and televised) to see a 90% full 5,000 seat venue than a 45% full 10,000 seat venue.

    I think the show model you propose is a good idea if they are allowed to change it around.

  30. 45 Huddle says:

    Solid idea, but what happens when the MyNetworkTV deal is gone for next year? I have a strong feeling that they will only be on FSN next year.

    As of right now, they are on pace to bleed money through the rest of the year. That is how their TV deal is set up. And typically to get a better deal, they have to provide the good ratings, which they haven’t.

    They should be losing less money in the second half of ‘07, but that is only because they will have a few less events.

    So we are looking at an equally crappy TV deal in ‘08 (if not worse), along with large production costs. Even if they have one arena to do all their shows out of, I can’t think of a market that would support an organization like theirs for 10+ shows a year. Even the Iowa area wouldn’t support that. Neither would Vegas, as they have only been friendly to Zuffa type of events.

  31. JOSH says:

    I think they should keep the team concept. Why end what makes them unique just because a few people dont catch on? I say educate the fans, really push to explain the concept of the team sport rather than act like everyone accepts it and doesnt question it. I think it will eventually catch on, if they can survive long enough. IMo if they get rid of the team sport they will just be looke ddown on as a smaller indy UFC (which they already are looked down on for but at least they can say they have the team concept).

    I agree whole hearidly with Tomer, they definitly need to stop picking big evnues they have NO way of filling. I think cut that and they can easily save some money.

    as for Mynetwork, I dont think the IFL has much to worry about because the other crap on that channell can NOT be getting better ratings then them. C’mon hottest twin models? WTF?! I think the show has ogtten ALOT LOT better since its early stretcher days. Keep up the indepth behind the scenes of the fighters lifes (or 24/7) and eventually it will catch on,

    I think people really forget how hard it is to run a fed from scratch…its not like the UFC became successful over night…remmeber the dark ages of UFC which was like 5 or so long dark years?

  32. Rollo the Cat says:

    “I think people really forget how hard it is to run a fed from scratch…its not like the UFC became successful over night…remmeber the dark ages of UFC which was like 5 or so long dark years?”

    Well, the original UFC was an instant success. It was McCain who crippled it later on. Admittedly, circumstances were different with it being the first such organization.

  33. Zack says:

    $16,000,000 in now, I wonder if they wish they would’ve just locked up Fedor and a few other big names and ran a more traditional organization. With name talent and the TV connections they have, they could be legitimate competition to the UFC instead of coming off like Global Championship Wrestling or something compared to the WWF.

  34. 45 Huddle says:

    “I think they should keep the team concept. Why end what makes them unique just because a few people dont catch on? I say educate the fans, really push to explain the concept of the team sport rather than act like everyone accepts it and doesnt question it. I think it will eventually catch on, if they can survive long enough.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. The team concept is horrible. It creates entire cards with mismatches. I don’t care to see Rothwell continue to fight guys we know he can beat. Give him some legit competition and see if he can sink or swim.

    Plus, the team concept is keeping many fighters away from it. They can’t attract good fighters with a moderate name. And the fighters who make a name in the IFL will be in the UFC next season because they can pay more.

    What has made them “unique” is also what put them $16 Million in the hole. They should have been like the WEC.

    I use to be a huge ECW fan. One thing the owner (Paul Heyman) said was that they couldn’t beat the WWF or WCW in terms of production, so they didn’t even try to compete. They did what worked for them, and put a spotlight on those traits. The IFL tried to compete with the UFC directly. Yes, they had a team concept, but everything else tried to compete on the same level.

    They should have been the WEC. They should have had all of their shows in one, smaller building. Yes, it might not have worked (as I stated before), but it sure as heck saves on costs. They should have put on fights like Condit vs. Alessio. They should have went for the lower weight classes before Zuffa used the WEC. They would of had their pickings of the top stars of the lower weight classes. Instead, they used the same 5 classes the UFC did.

    They are going to lose money for the rest of the year. That is a fact. They have no major source of revenues.

    And this dream about TV giving them better attendance is a joke. What organization has has great attendance in America (besides the UFC)? There ratings are flopping, and it is only a matter of time before they go bust. And once the company is gone, we will be lucky if 3 fighters come out of that entire organization and are able to make an impact on the rest of the MMA world. The majority will be on lower level shows were they belong.

  35. JOSH says:

    I disagree 45 Huddle. The Ben Rothwel example is your un doing. With the fact that Rothwell has been dominating the IFL all the teams that have been set up against him have been trying to find ANYONE to beat him. Renzo snagged Dan Christison thinking his 7 foot frame could do wonders and Igor brought in Iron man Travis Fulton. Also this is where the IFL GP comes into play I am just WAIITNG in anticipation for a Antoine Jaoude/ Ben Rothwell fight and both men have dominated so far in the IFL. Hel the whole IFL GP IMO is going to be an amazing card IMO. I also dont think any of the IFL fighters will jump to the UFC simpley beause Dana is a egomaniac and wont even think about taking anyone. ‘

    Also the ECW example is your undoing. the IFL is focusing on whats unique in order to not directly compete with the UFC, what else are thye doing to try and copy the UFC?They havent made a crappy reality show…yet

    I do agree wiht you on the one building concept but the IFL should not have even tried to be the next WEC. Otherwise they would have failed like the WFA and all the other random small indy MMA feds that have come and gone.

    I guarnatee the IFL will survie for another year or so and hopefully by that time they will catch on.

  36. grafdog says:

    This weeks IFL show hit it on the mark. The team dynamic came out in full with the back against the wall Silverbacks v Lions. Great back and forth battles no mis-matchs, and Nelson’s toughness validated Kens opinion of him. I thought he won that fight or a draw at the least. Tigers comments “Finish your beer and leave” very entertaining.
    Point dedection for first rope grab great idea.
    All they need now, are a couple of the superfights as mentioned above and they will be here to stay. IMO

  37. grafdog says:

    Oh and Chen try to read slower, i said nothing about MMA being a master art. I made an analogy between a chess master and a seasoned older professional fighter who by his age is considered to be in the masters division. Boxing is punch for punch MMA is kick for punch for takedown to sweep to kimura to leg lock to……
    Two different fans, one who feeds on the copper flavored adrenaline rush from watching knock outs and brutallity.

    The other savors the crisp green flavors generated by the formation of new neural pathways generated by usefull incoming information.

    Knowledge lasts forever, adrenaline only for the moment

  38. Tomer Chen says:

    You said:

    Comparing mma to boxing is like comparing chess to checkers.

    Then proceed to argue that where chess is an art with an unfolding strategy whereas checkers has only one direction (forward). If you weren’t saying MMA is chess whereas Boxing is checkers in this case, I’d like to hear your explanation for the above quote, because you wrote it poorly, then.

  39. Tomer Chen says:

    I made an analogy between a chess master and a seasoned older professional fighter who by his age is considered to be in the masters division.

    How does this exactly jive with:

    Checkers is straight forward run to the finish with only one direction, forwards. Chess fans watch to see the strategy unfold and to learn from the masters.

    You first say that MMA is Chess whereas Boxing is Checkers and then associated Checkers with being comparatively simplistic in strategy and that the masters are in Chess (MMA) and not Boxing. Please explain to me where my logic train is derailing in thinking that you are trying to (subtlely?) assert that MMA is the far more complex sport in terms of strategy than Boxing, because either you aren’t getting the point you were trying to get across well or you are trying to cover your previous comments.

    Boxing is punch for punch MMA is kick for punch for takedown to sweep to kimura to leg lock to……

    And that makes Boxing any less complex a sport to succeed in than MMA how, again? Just because the sport itself is comparatively one dimensional doesn’t mean there is a depth of complexity present since the participants must focus on proper offensive & defensive technique in Boxing whereas in MMA you will unlikely see proper Boxing technique executed because you have to worry about the low kicks, shoot, etc.

    Two different fans, one who feeds on the copper flavored adrenaline rush from watching knock outs and brutallity.

    The other savors the crisp green flavors generated by the formation of new neural pathways generated by usefull incoming information.

    Yes, because there are no Boxing fans who appreciate beautiful technique over brutal KOs. I must be delusional as I appreciate the beauty of Boxing technique more than the KO power of a fighter…

  40. grafdog says:

    I’m just stating the obvious.

    Nuff’ said

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