I promise I will have my post-UFC 77 thoughts later today. I’m running behind because I attended to IFL draft tryouts in New York on Saturday. It was a full day of MMA for me between the IFL and UFC 77, but I had a blast.
I was xocering the draft cover for CBSSports.com and I will post my professional, third-person feature-style article for CBS later this week, In the meantime I wanted to post my free-form, first-person account here.
As a point of clarification, while the IFL is labeling their three-city tryouts as the “IFL Draft,” I would say that scouting combine would be a more apt description. My understanding is that fighters will be evaluated during the tryouts and then when the tryouts are over and the IFL has verified that these guys aren’t contracted to other promotions, the teams will then be able to choose who they want to join their team.
Overall, I had a lot of fun at this event. It was really great and it is definitely something that should be opened up to the public next year whether it be in a bigger venue or building a webcast around the event.
The tryout process was about as fair as it can be given the circumstances (i.e. a lot of fighters and little time). The fighters were broken down into groups of four and then went through the opening round that consisted of 1:30 of takedowns, a 1:30 of rolling/submission grappling with no closed guard, and 1:30 of standup sparring. Sometimes there were additional rounds if the coaches wanted to see some of the matchups changed. The fighters were told up front not to feel each other out and to get down to business. Most heeded the advice but some did not. Some of the fighters got quick hooks if they were warned to pick up the pace and then didn’t.