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UFC (Zuffa) looking to acquire the IFL

MMAPayout.com, citing a senior producer with HDNet’s “Inside MMA,” is reporting that the “IFL will be bought by the UFC.”

FiveOuncesofPain.om has learned that the Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, and the IFL have not finalized a deal and that several other promotions (including HDNet Fights and EliteXC) in recent weeks had been falsely rumored to have completed the purchase. However, sources have confirmed that Zuffa is attempting to complete an acquisition of the New York-based promotion.

During trading on Thursday, over $2.7 million of shares of the company’s stock had been traded based largely on speculation. As of 2:30 p.m. ET, the stock was trading at $0.02 a share, up from the previous day’s close of $0.01.

We contacted IFL Senior Vice President of Communications Joe Favorito in regard to MMA Payout’s report, but he declined comment.

Five Ounces of Pain first became aware of the UFC’s attempted acquisition while speaking with a former IFL fighter on Tuesday afternoon. We followed up the information with two sources that had past ties to the IFL that were able to confirm the story.

Previous reports indicated that the asking price for the IFL was $1,000,000. According to a source speaking on the condition of anonymity, the IFL has been accepting bids the past several weeks with several existing promotions submitting offers. The source indicated that it was likely Zuffa’s bid was less than the $1,000,000 reported asking price.

The primary assets of any possible deal are considered to be the IFL’s film library, which contains over 400 fights, along with the contracts of several of the promotion’s premier fighters. It’s unclear whether Zuffa has any proposed plans for the IFL’s library other than to use the footage to promote fighters it would absorb through a possible acquisition.

After speaking to a manager of several IFL fighters on Tuesday, there was some uncertainty expressed as to whether all of the fighter contracts would be transferable. It’s possible that while attempting to close a deal that Zuffa would try to get several of the IFL’s top stars to sign new deals. One source indicated that if IFL fighters are acquired by Zuffa through an acquisition that they would be divided between the UFC and WEC.

It is believed that the most attractive fighters under contract to the IFL were considered to be heavyweight champion Roy Nelson, welterweight champion Jay Hieron, lightweight Deividas Taurosevicius, lightweight Chris Horodecki, lightweight Jim Miller, and featherweight champion Wagnney Fabiano.

Despite the fact that UFC President Dana White had been publicly critical of the IFL in the past, the UFC has signed a strong contingent of the promotion’s former fighters. Gerald Harris, Dante Rivera, and Mike Dolce were all a part of the cast for the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and all had fought previously in the IFL. On this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 14 card, former IFL fighters Rory Markham, Brad Blackburn, and Reese Andy are all scheduled to make their UFC debuts. Former IFL light heavyweight competitor Andre Gusmao is set to make his UFC debut next month at UFC 87.