When IFL co-founder and commissioner Kurt Otto announced several months ago plans to hold the league’s first-ever World Grand Prix event to crown champions in each of its individual weight classes, it seemed like a great idea.
But in hindsight, it might have been asking too much, too soon. When the 2007 season began the WGP concept was not written into the contracts of the IFL’s fighters. Agreements had to be extended and it was later determined that fighters not committed to the league for 2008 would not be allowed to compete.
As a result, Ben Rothwell was removed from the heavyweight draw while Mike Whitehead was removed as a seed in the light heavyweight division. Antonio McKee was yanked from the welterweight division after he violated his contract and attempted to sign with the Brawl for it All promotion for an October event in San Francisco that ended up being canceled.
Injuries have also taken a toll on the field with top fighters such as heavyweight fighter Reese Andy and Andre Gusmao unable to compete.
The latest hurdle in the IFL’s attempt to put on a tournament featuring its top talent competing as individuals took place on Friday when four of 18 fighters involved in tonight’s card were unable to make weight.
According to The Fight Network, Delson Heleno, Gideon Ray, Donnie Liles, and Matt Horwich all failed to meet their contracted weights during weigh-ins.
Heleno, Ray, and Liles have all compromised the integrity of the promotion’s welterweight division by failing to make weight. Heleno and Ray will compete at a catch weight of 175 pounds while Jay Hieron has agreed to a seven-pound weight difference in order to face Liles at 177 lbs.
Liles and Ray were late replacements, with Liles being named to the tournament field within the last week while Heleno is a fixture in the IFL.
Horwich is also a veteran in the league but weight 187.5 pounds, or two and a half pounds over the middleweight division’s 185 lbs. limit. Brian Foster, Horwich’s opponent, still accepted the fight.
Below are the weigh-in results (according to The Fight Network) by matchup with my predictions:
Middleweight semifinal: Brent Beauparlant (185) vs. Benji Radach (186) - I’m picking Radach via TKO in the first round as he’s head and shoulders above anyone in the IFL’s middleweight division.
Lightweight semifinal: Bart Palaszewski (155.5) vs. Chris Horodecki (154) – This will be Palaszewski’s sixth fight this year while Horodecki has had to fight since June. I expect the fresher Horodecki to win via unanimous decision.