Story updated at 3:41 p.m. ET.
The International Fight League revealed plans on Thursday to debut a six-sided ring as the fight promotion’s fighting surface. The new ring has been branded as “The Hex” and will debut on August 15 for a show at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
The prototype of the new ring is still being constructed. Upon completion, it will be stored in Las Vegas.
While not addressing the issue directly, it’s likely that the IFL’s decision to use a six-sided ring is based on claims by critics that their product looks too much like boxing on television. Publicly, the IFL is indicating that its audience enjoys the ring and that they are going with a six-sided version in order to create a larger fighting environment.
“From a production and live event standpoint, the ring has proven to be the most fan and media friendly environment, as well as providing the safest possible environment for our athletes,” IFL CEO Jay Larkin is quoted as saying in a press release. “The Hex allows for the larger surface that is utilized in other MMA organizations while still retaining the advantages we have enjoyed with the ring.”
No matches for the Aug. 15 card have been announced. The promotion may start revealing matchups to the public in June.
Other notes from the conference call:
– IFL CEO Jay Larkin was asked about rumors that have suggested the IFL is for sale. Larkin used the patented “Everything is for sale” line but then his rhetoric took a surprising turn. He posed the question “Is the IFL actively for sale?” I expected him to say “No” but he said “Yes, the IFL is actively for sale.” He said they are receiving calls from investors about the sale of the company on a daily basis. Not only that, but Larkin also stated at another point in the conference call that they are actively seeking strategic partnerships with other MMA organizations or media companies. I think I am not taking any liberties by stating that the IFL is actively seeking a sale or a merger.
- The IFL’s willingness to co-promote was brought up several times during the course of the press conference by Larkin. He said that after their May 16 show they will be taking a two-month hiatus until their August 15 show. In that time, many IFL fighters will be allowed to fight for other promotions. Larkin specifically brought up Adrenaline MMA. He also revealed that EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw contacted him about their desire to use Jay Hieron for an upcoming show. Larkin said normally he would have been agreeable to such a proposal but that Hieron is already scheduled for an upcoming show. This is purely conjecture on my part, but I believe that EliteXC probably tried to get Hieron to face Jake Shields for its June 14 show in Hawaii as an injury replacement for Drew Fickett.
- Larkin said the IFL is trying to talking to other promotions about using their talent for their Aug. 15 show at the Izod Center.
- Larkin said the IFL was willing to allow Jim Miller to fight for the UFC, so long as the UFC made a mention on the telecast that Miller was appearing was appearing courtesy of the IFL. When they proposed the caveat to Miller’s people, they weren’t even willing to bring it up to the UFC because they were so sure the answer was going to be “no.” Larkin feels that if the UFC can’t even give a public thanks for allowing them to use a fighter, where’s the upside for the IFL?
- More co-promoting goodness: Larkin said that Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker proposed an idea where IFL fighters would go head-to-head with Strikeforce fighters on an HDNet telecast. Larkin said he liked the idea but that it didn’t work out due to scheduling issues.
- In addition to the Aug. 15 show in New Jersey, the IFL is also looking at a show in the Fall at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
- Larkin at one point promised some surprises for the Aug. 15 show and stated that more changes in addition to the six-sided ring are in store.
- Larkin rarely dodges a question but when asked about the camp format, he conceded that as the promotion evolves that it could become a thing of the past. However, no camp vs. camp matchups are planned for next week’s show, so haven’t they already abandoned the concept?
- Larkin said the IFL continues to add international distributors of its television shows. According to Larkin, the IFL is now seen in over 80 countries.
- He said they are happy with their current television partners, HDNet and FSN, and that their partners are happy with them. Larkin said they expect to continue their relationships with them but that they are also exploring options internationally and domestically.
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