I thought of some ideas for another league I'm in, and thought maybe you guys would like more suggestions. (This is only for if you guys decide to use real fighters as opposed to created ones, which could have unforseeable problems attached).
You can have everyone that is in by (insert date here) be eligible for a draft. Everyone gets 12 hours on the clock one pick at a time (in our other league most of the time there are 6-10 picks in a day so far, currently still drafting.) We all choose mutiple fighters as to completely empty the roster, or at least as close to empty as the number of players we have will allow.
Basically, we draft like any other fantasy draft 1-12, 12-1, etc. When all of the fighters have been chosen, its Grand Prix time. Brackets are randomly selected as is the draft order. Each weight class fights out its own championship tourney, probably within a week or even a couple days, depending on how much time everyone puts in once the game comes out.
Randomly selected brackets will be drawn up, and each player will add the rest of the players in their weightclass to their friends list. Tournament play can be done in a day, a week, or however - to be determined by the size of the league and the general activiy of its members. After the champions have been crowned, and the tournaments over with, it is time for seasonal play. Anyone who wants to enter that did not enter into the draft on time, will now be allowed to choose fighters.
Each of the original members of the draft claims 1 of their fighters as their "franchise fighter" (since we'll all have more than one guy in the beginning). All of our other fighters will be thrown into a pool for the new class to draft from (allowing them 1 or 2 fighters to play with, depending of course on how many people the league picks up over time.) Champion fighters (from our tournaments) are an exception to the rule, and if you own a champion fighter, you will still be allowed to claim a different fighter as your franchise fighter, as champion fighters will not be in the expansion draft pool. The new class of entrants will draft as we did, but from the pool of fighters that were not champions of a weightclass or marked as "franchise." Number of fighters chosen by the new class will be directly determined by the growth and/or popularity of the league at the time, and also how many players we have in the original draft. Undrafted fighters in the expansion draft will stay with the member who originally drafted them in the pre-season (a lot of football references, I know).
Fighters get matched up with one offical fight card per week, and have the entire week to add their opponent, fight them, and relay the results in a Sub-Forum marked Match Results where a new thread can be started for each fight (in case the threads become filled with non-result commentary). There can be exhibition games played any time, as well as exhibition tournaments for bragging rights or trophies, but these will not count towards your actual MMAF record. Fighters must fight at least 2 ranked fights per month to be considered an active member. Inactive members will have their fighters released to the public for perhaps another draft or maybe even into a free agent pool, where one's fighter can be traded into the pool in exchange for a fighter from the pool.
Exhibition ideas include, USA v Canada for fun, 360 v PS3 for fun (for those who have two systems maybe), Regional Tournaments, Weightclass Grand Prix's with Trophies (to be displayed in sig maybe?). Most people will want to fight more than once a week, but it'd be easiest on the staff and for all putting in free work to keep records if the matches were regularly reported and divided, as opposed to challenging anyone you want and fighting them for league record. Plus the less fights we allow to be officially ranked fights, the easier the ladders are to maintain, and the longer the season would probably keep people's attention.
Every 4th week is a special card where the champions must defend their titles(they can fight all 4 weeks, but I recommend no title matches other than once a month, with the rest of the month going towards ladders and records and exhibition tourneys). Champions will not defend their titles more than once a month, for the more times a title changes hands, the less special that title really becomes. They will still have all week to match up with the #1 contender, but if a time and date is not agreed upon by the 5th day of the week of the PPV, then the title will be stripped and the #2 contender will replace him to fight against the #1 contender for the vacated title. The stripped former champion will be moved to the bottom of the ranks, and must work their way back to the top as penalty for the no-show (this only pertains to PPV no-show champions, no one else).
Should any fighter be unable to add/schedule a fight against his opponent after making the necessary attempts, the no-show fighter will receive a No Contest instead of a loss. Receiving three No Contests by one player will result in that player being removed from the league, or at the very least stripped of his fighters for new-comers to choose from (or as was suggested before, into the free agent pool). The fighter who made attempts to add/schedule with the no-show will receive a WIN, because no one wants a no contest from showing up, regardless of how it is in real life. The video game aspect of the league must be maintained as well.
I think that covers it, sorry it's so big I really thought of most of this as I typed it. I'm probably forgetting some details, but I'm tired of typing.
I like all of that. It all sounds great I can't wait for the league to start up only 17 days away.....