The 2007 IFL World Grand Prix was announced earlier today, and the IFL held a conference call to discuss details and other items of interest for mixed martial arts’ first team-based league. Here are some highlights, in no particular order:
- The IFL plans to be very proactive in developing an internal policy regarding the prevention of substance abuse among their fighters, and is willing to work with other MMA promotions to engineer a unified, cross-promotion approach to eliminate banned substance use in their athletes, from recreational drugs to steroids.
- The IFL has stated that they may create two new teams next year from Brazil and the UK. These teams may supplant or replace existing IFL teams. Ian Freeman would be the coach of the United Kingdom team, and these teams, while representing foreign countries, may be based in the United States similarly to the way the Tokyo Sabres are based in Los Angeles.
- The injury preventing Chris Horodecki from competing in the IFL Semifinals 2007 is a broken right hand. This is the same hand and same injury the young Horodecki injured earlier in his nascent career.
- Champions in the World Grand Prix will never lose their status as winners of a certain year’s Grand Prix. However their status as individual champions will be put on the line during the course of the year. When asked if the second storyline of individual champions could undermine the team-basaed approach that the IFL was based on, Otto responded that all teams in every sport have stars and if that’s another thing to get fans excited about, the IFL wants to provide that.
- The IFL chose Sears Centre in Chicago and the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut for their two Grand Prix venues as they feel they were very successful in their earlier appearances in these locations, which they believe are great regional hubs for MMA fans.
- Live television for the World Grand Prix is not scheduled but they are working on it.
- The IFL has received offers “all the time” from individuals who would like to run franchise teams in the organization, in the way that there are team owners in sports like the NHL, the NFL, and others. Currently they are holding off on moving forward on that but they are considering it for the future. Right now they want to make sure they nail things the way they are before bringing on more variables into the mix.
- I asked the IFL what the reaction was inside the office when they learned of the Brazilian team-based league called the MoTeam League, which was announced this month. Kurt Otto stated that they are happy about it, as when others copy and emulate their system it is validation that the IFL is onto something. He wonders if the UFC may take a dim view of some of its fighters like Wanderlei Silva taking part in the MTL the way the UFC would not allow UFC fighters to participate in the IFL.