Full Article Can Be Found HERE
Here are some of the juicy pieces of the article. There is more to the article if you check out the link. I cut it a little to give you guys a taste.
As the IFL's second full season comes to a conclusion and with championship fights scheduled in November and December, there's no better time to get up to speed on the five things you need to know about the IFL.
1. The team format
The IFL takes a different approach than most MMA organizations by using team against team matchups. Each team consists of a head coach, occasionally assistant coaches and fighters in five weight classes that range from lightweight (155 pounds) to heavyweight (265 pounds).
The team format resembles an amateur wrestling meet: Individuals compete in matches to earn points for their respective teams. One fight is scheduled for each of the league's five weight classes. The first team to win three out of those five fights is considered the winner.
At the end of the regular season, four teams advance to the semifinal playoffs. The two winning teams then battle it out for the IFL Team Championship...Co-founder and CEO Gareb Shamus admits the team format will take some getting used to, but says over time the team format will create stability, allowing fans to root for fighters they will get to know on a weekly basis and see competing year after year.
2. Individual champions
While the team format is the foundation for the league, it does still promote one-on-one competition through its annual Grand Prix Championship.
"We have that one-on-one aspect, where we take the best of the league, the top four guys in each weight class, to compete for individual belts so that we will crown individual championships in each weight class," Shamus explains.
This year, the top four fighters from each weight class square off at the Grand Prix semifinals on Nov. 3 in Chicago. The winners of each match then face off at the Grand Prix finals on Dec. 29 at Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Conn.
3. Going live
One of the league's top priorities for the end of the 2007 season and the 2008 season is to increase its live programming. Thus far, all of the IFL programming on FSN and MyNetwork has been recorded, leaving some fans on a perpetual tape delay for results, while others find results online in advance of broadcasts.
A harbinger of things to come, part of the league's Grand Prix semifinal event on Nov. 3 will be broadcast live from Chicago on MyNetwork affiliates across the country.
4. The big names
The league has bought itself instant credibility by recruiting a coaching staff that reads like the MMA Hall of Fame. Among them: Pat Miletich, Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Don Frye and Maurice Smith.
"These guys that we have in our organization were the guys that not only were champions, but also trained the current and future champions out there," says Shamus. "They can apply what they know and what they do the best, which is train and manage future talent. And it gives them a chance to compete without throwing their fists."
The IFL's lineup also includes some up-and-comers.
One fighter in particular that's catching the attention of fans and MMA experts alike is 20-year-old Chris Horodecki. The London, Ontario, native currently fights for the Los Angeles Anacondas and represents a new generation of mixed martial artists who have spent their youth training in a variety of disciplines, instead of just one style and technique like most fighters we're accustomed to seeing.
Horodecki's Grand Prix semifinal fight with Bart Bartimus" Palaszewski (2-1) is a rematch from earlier in the season and will highlight the Nov. 3 card. When the pair met earlier in the season, Palaszewski had Horodecki cinched in a guillotine, but Horodecki fell through the ropes, breaking the submission hold. Palaszewski says the fall was intentional, while Horodecki claims otherwise. Horodecki narrowly held on to win a split decision.
5. Fighter's comfort zone
The IFL is also looking to change the MMA fight culture by adding stability for their fighters, which in turn creates a stable story line of familiar fighting faces for fans. A unique payroll setup gives regular team members a base salary and health insurance, in addition to fight purses.
According to Shamus, fighters net anywhere from the mid-five figures to the mid-six figures, depending on performance bonuses that include fastest knockout, fight of the night and best submission at each IFL event.
Unlike the UFC, which offers little job security unless you're wearing a championship belt and is quick to drop undercard talent, Larkin says winning isn't everything and losing does not mean the end of a fighter's career.
"If a fighter comes to fight and makes for an exciting match, even if he loses he's welcome back here any time," says Jay Larkin. "We're interested in fighters who make for compelling MMA action."
Although I'm a huge fan of the IFL and knew most of what was in here already, I think this article is a great primer for anyone who wants to learn about the IFL. I almost wish I could post it in the heavyweights section to open some of their eyes to this organization. What do you guys think? The IFL has been getting some heavy play on ESPN
lately, you going to be watching the Grand Prix? Are these two events make or break for the IFL?