IFL: Going, Going…Gone! UFC Here We Come?

Written by Tom Ngo
July 25th, 2008

It has been confirmed by the International Fight League’s senior vice president of communications that the organization has been bought out. Joe Favorito stated that the doors on the IFL will be permanently closed on July 31.  It has not been announced who the buyer is, however rumors have been circulating that its assets were sold to the UFC ownership group, Zuffa LLC.

“As of July 31 my role at the IFL will be no more as the company goes into its final stage of being sold and/or closed down,” Favorito stated via email to The Fight Network.

It was no secret that the IFL has had financial troubles over the past year, most recently cancelling their August 15th event at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

“We are very proud of what we did here in just over two years, building a brand from nothing into something that people in the industry and outside of the industry actually noticed, and I enjoyed working with so many different people and helped tell some great stories,” Favorito added. “At the end of the day sometimes the finances don’t make sense, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying.”

This will just be another in the long line of acquisitions that the UFC has made over the past two years. Zuffa had already bought out the WFA and Pride FC organizations in 2007, and they purchased the WEC later that same year.  As with those acquisitions, the UFC will take over control to the rights of the current IFL contracts, as well as their video library.

The IFL was founded in 2006, and they decided to take a unique angle at MMA competition. Instead of focusing on individuals, the organization focused on team competition. Unfortunately, the team concept never really appealed to the masses. Although fighters do train with specific camps/teams, at the end of the day, it still is an individual sport.

The IFL has been a great breeding ground for young, up-and-coming talent. Fighters such as; Wagnney Fabiano, Chris Horodecki, Ben Rothwell, Ryan Schultz and Roy Nelson have all made a name for themselves within the MMA community due to their successes with the financially plagued organization.

There has been no confirmation from representatives of Zuffa regarding this acquisition, however something is expected shortly. The writing for it is clearly on the wall, as the UFC showed many IFL clips throughout their “UFC Countdown: Silva vs. Irvin” and “Ultimate Fight Night 14” event this past weekend. In addition to that, they have already signed multiple IFL fighters, including; Rory Markham, Brad Blackburn, and the Miller brothers, Jim and Dan.

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