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IFL to unveil six-sided ring during Aug. 15 show

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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.

35 COMMENTS
  • Kelvin says:

    Ehhh…TNA anyone?

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  • Mike Calimbas says:

    Hopefully it will lead to profitability for these guys. Anyone think this is going to impact their product at all?

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  • Ehyo says:

    The hex?…thats creative!!! blahhhhhhhhhh

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  • Evan says:

    If they had just done all of this in the beginning instead of worrying about promoting “who leaves in a stretcher”

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  • Adam Morgan says:

    Oh my.

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  • matt says:

    I say cut 3 sides off and have them fight in a triangle ring! or actually just on a rolling log! jesus…IFL will be dead by years end.

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  • [...] IFL plans to unveil a six sided ring (called “The Hex”) as their new fighting surface; s… [...]

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  • Matt C. says:

    can we officially say IFL has jumped the shark???

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  • Lethal says:

    IFL just doesn’t get IT. All of these gimmicks with the team names and the type of ring you fight in won’t change anything. Big name main events sell PPVs not the team concept or the type of ring you fight in.

    And they seriously need to do 5 minute rounds like everyone else. Hard to take them serious when the fights only go 12 minutes each, that’s borderline amateur rules.

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  • Michaelthebox says:

    *holds head in hands*

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  • C.C. says:

    How many sides do you think their coffin will have?

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  • Andrej says:

    ^ That is easy – 6 sides, And I thought Yamma was weird.

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  • bjjdenver says:

    I don’t mind the “Hex”, but I liked the ring fine. I don’t prefer one surface over anhy other, but it is nice to have alternatives. That was one thing I liked about pride, not that it was better or worse, just different.

    IFL has put on a couple of the best shows of 2008. they have stepped back from the team concept (not abandoned) and featured multiple title fights. They have done a nice job of growing their roster and have many exciting, skilled fighters.

    For those of you that would rather watch a big name, stick to the UFC. If you want good fights and a lot of up and coming guys, then check out the IFL. Personally I like just about all mma, but the IFL shows have been superior to many of the recent UFC shows. I’m not saying anything against UFC, I have enjoyed all their cards, just that some people may really be missing the boat here.

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  • Gygax says:

    They are also planning on featuring a “group of Eastern European superstars” for the fights on August 15. Not that it will make a difference.

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  • bjjdenver says:

    #12…interesting.

    I have long thought 2 things that would help the IFL are:

    1) Have a Red Devil team added. Not that fedor would fight, but he could showcase the fighters they have that are starting to appear in shows.

    2) Keep the HDNet deal, but have a next day or next week broadcast of their cards on some network or high profile cable channel.

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  • A.C Slater says:

    in terms of marketing, it’s actually not a bad move.

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  • Evan says:

    “in terms of marketing, it’s actually not a bad move.”

    Agree

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  • bjjdenver says:

    Agree also.

    I get a feeling many people who bash the IFL, don’t even watch it.

    They aren’t a threat to the UFC, but they do have a decent product.

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  • Gygax says:

    There’s likely a big problem with including Red Devil in any team affiliation. Vadim Finkelstein will want part ownership/promotional fees in any event that features his team as a whole.

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  • Evan says:

    “… they do have a decent product.”

    which has been steadily getting better and better.

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  • bjjdenver says:

    #20 yes, this year has been far superior to the strict team/team concept, imo.

    #19 true, very good point, they have proven to be difficult to deal with in the past, but it sure would be fun.

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  • Mike C. says:

    Is this all that was announced at the big conference call today? You lose millions of dollars and this is all you announce?

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  • Kelvin says:

    “They aren’t a threat to the UFC, but they do have a decent product.”

    I disagree.

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  • bjjdenver says:

    “Is this all that was announced at the big conference call today? You lose millions of dollars and this is all you announce?”

    As much as I support them and want them to succeed, I have to admit I was expecting more from the conference call.

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  • bjjdenver says:

    #23 Kelvin…not surprising considering your initial post. I assume you disagree with the decent product part. If so, please explain what it is you don’t like. Not bashing you in any way, I would like to know what people don’t like about them.

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  • D says:

    IFL has been putting on some good shows, but they need to address the money issue and put on a few more consecutive shows that have consistent themes (team/no team) and fighting surfaces.

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  • Reaser says:

    IFL has a lot of good fights and decent to good fighters, besides that everything else is a joke…

    The Hex, I started laughing so much, especially the quote how when they announced it they said it’s “the future fighting surface for all of MMA”..hahahahaha, just like the team concept huh?

    or just like YAMMA saying the pit is the future fighting surface, hah…

    Way off topic but for the record I like WEC’s “cage” best…..

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  • Gygax says:

    BTW, as a friend just reminded me, this won’t be the first time a promotion has used a ring with more than 4 sides. PRIDE’s The Best series used an 8 sided ring for showcasing up and coming fighters in 2002. So this new fighting area is not that innovative.

    I like the IFL, having been to a few of their recent shows. But constant change to the product is not the way to survive IMO.

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  • Kelvin says:

    #25BJJDenver…I suppose I got off on the wrong foot with the IFL…from the first episode on Mynetwork to just lackluster fights…I’m a MMA fan first and foremost…however, I tried watching the IFL for the first couple of months and I just could never get into the matches. They were often sloppy and the referee’s always stood the fights up too quick once they hit the mat IMHO.

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  • GoofyMonkey says:

    Lame

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  • William W. says:

    No ropes? How is Chris Horodecki going to get out of guillotines now?

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  • bjjdenver says:

    Kelvin…

    i agree completely with your point of view, but I suggest giving them another try. Their first couple of shows are occasionally shown on HDNet (if you have it available). Their cards are set up completely different now and are much, much better, imo. If it was the same original format, I would be with you all the way. Hex or ring doesn’t have much of an impact on most of us, I think they could fight in a kids plastic swimming pool and we would be happy. Basically what I’m saying is that their product now is almost unrecognizable compared to the past.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain your stance for me.

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  • [...] So when the IFL announced during a conference call today that their big promotion saving change was the creation of a new six sided ring called “The Hex”, no one followed up with “What, are you fucking kidding me? Because that’s fucking [...]

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  • Nate says:

    Pride still had it best, use a ring and have the right “ring rules”, no hanging on, yellow card if the fight is slow, stand the fighters up if they are boring, and if they are on the edge, put them back in the middle.

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  • Fight Fan says:

    A lot of you guys are saying that it’s going to fail. Pretty petty. It looks like a good idea to me. Why not try it ? it may be the fairest surfase for fighting. The glass is half full people.

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