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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.

43 COMMENTS
  • Evan says:

    IFL was such an awesome product once they got away from the ” MMA lifestyle” documentry show and just started going for live fights.

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  • Goomba says:

    Hopefully they can still get Ben Rothwell. The HW division always needs help, and he is at least on the verge of top 10. If he beats Arlovski, he will be, not to mention a 14 fight win streak.

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  • woooburn says:

    WEC40 pulver vs horodecki: battle of the 12 year old impersonators.

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    #2, Ben Rothwell is no longer under contract to the IFL. He is signed to both Affliction and Adrenaline MMA.

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  • woooburn says:

    oops, i meant to say faber! FAIL!

    excited to see who transitions to zuffa though. i like ryan schultz’s chances

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  • matt says:

    Ben is not under IFL contract.

    Sam besides the names you mentioned, they’d have to have interest in Ryan Schultz as he’s Roger Huerta’s sole loss and you know they could market the shit outta that fight.

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    Matt, I am just reporting what my sources told me.

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  • ACK! says:

    I suppose they can’t let the IFL’s talent pool land in someone else’s hands. Either way, this is great news.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • ACK! says:

    I meant *potentially* great news because I wouldn’t put it past the UFC to simply gut the organization… I’m hoping they simply have big plans to increase their own talent pool (in the UFC or WEC).

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  • Jay K. says:

    Does anybody else see TUF’s replacement here as a feeder system / television series?

    This is probably what Dana was talking about and somebody ‘leaked’ it out to the MMA Community a step to early.

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  • matt says:

    Gotcha. There are a lot of IFL fighters that I’d love to see fight in the UFC.

    Ryan Schultz, Jamal Paterson, Fabiano, Nelson, Kennedy, Vlady, Heiron, and Bart.

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  • matt says:

    Jay, what are you meaning about the TUF replacement feeder system?

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    If Zuffa finalized an acquisition of the IFL, it is expected that the promotion will be disbanded.

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  • Evan says:

    I agree Sam, I don’t think their looking to still run shows with the IFL but I’m not sure what the point is of buying it anyway.

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  • brett says:

    the point is to take out competition. they did the same thing with pride. while dana white is a snake and a liar…hes also a very smart man. so thats one less “major” promotion to worry about.

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  • Evan says:

    That doesn’t make sense, their dead already.

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  • ryan says:

    this could be really bad for us the fans
    see when zuffa bought pride they sat on fighter contracts until they experied preventing the fighters to go to anyother promotion and fight this is also fucked up because it stops the fighters from making money.
    people will start to see how bad dana white is for this sport.
    a real promotion would use the fighters that they bought up to make the best figths possible. the ufc already has the stable of fighters to give us much better matchups which would lead to much stronger cards.
    i mean come on the ufc has one or two solid fights on a card and then litters it with tuf alumns. SAM i would love to get your take on my comments

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  • Nick says:

    I don’t know to much about stock. But with a buyout price of under $1 mil it would it be worth buying any shares?

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  • Jake says:

    What’s up with Vladimir Matyushenko’s contract? Anyone know?

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  • Evan says:

    Ryan the problem wasn’t them sitting on the contracts, the problem was the contracts wouldn’t transfer to the UFC.

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  • ultmma says:

    Anyone else seeing the problem with Zuffa again spending alot of money for basically a film library?

    This is the same exact thing they did with Pride instead of letting it die on its own they waste there money on buying it out and get a handful of fighters plus the right to some Pride DVDs

    memo to the brothers and d white the IFL is dead in the water, wait a few months than low ball them on the film library and pick/choose which fighters you want to pick up

    Those 6 IFL fighters + film library does not = 1 million or anything close to that

    IMO waste of time by the Zuffa team

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  • Zack with a ck says:

    I’d bet the UFC bid is significantly less than $1M, as the only worth is essentially a film library and possible a few contracts.

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  • Ryder Die says:

    I would love the UFC to buy this org. up too. I think it is great that they keep consolidate some of these orgs. (although I liked the IFL). They would get nothing but positives out of the IFL (wonder if they get Bas Rutten along in the deal?)

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  • doubleA-ron says:

    I like schultz probrably the most. He took hordecki off the map and put himself on it.

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  • HexRei says:

    @#22 It makes a lot of sense when you consider that the UFC’s goal is to BE the industry. can’t have any competition out there unless they are feeder orgs than know their place like KOTC.

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  • HexRei says:

    @#24 Lol, wrong on two counts, Schultz was already on the map (have you looked at his long record of wins over legit MMA names?) and Horodecki is hardly off the map with one loss against a guy he already beat. Both these guys have long and successful futures ahead of them.

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  • doubleA-ron says:

    To me horodecki didn’t look too good in his fight after schultz and schultz looked pretty good after his fight with chris. I believe the both have futures also, but chris was on everybodys list before his loss to schultz

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  • You guys are crazy if you think the UFC would buy the IFL simply to step on the graves of its competitors. The only reason why the UFC would buy the IFL is if they thought there was money to be made from aquiring their fighters or something else that is not obvious. Merging WEC and IFL would keep the comeptition strong in the WEC. 155 in UFC is already stacked.

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  • Jay K. says:

    # 12 matt Says:

    Jay, what are you meaning about the TUF replacement feeder system?

    Matt,

    I was referring to the TUF Formula being shaken up. Didn’t you guys get direct word in a UFC sponsored press conference call that Dana wanted to revamp the show’s formula?

    Imagine now if there were now five coaches with teams that were competing for five UFC Contracts as opposed to two or one per weightclass. They’d have to stay in separate houses, separate areas. There’d be some real drama, strife and conflict. This would make for greater exposure and a great feeder system.

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  • [...] UPDATE: Inside MMA has learned that the UFC is in the process of acquiring the IFL. The news was shared with MMAPayout.com this morning by a senior producer of the show (EDITOR’S NOTE: The language of the original report has been changed to more clearly reflect this fact, my apologies for any confusion). MMAPayout.com was then able to independently confirm that the companies are engaged in negotiations concerning a potential acquisiton. Sam Caplan has more details at 5OuncesofPain.com. [...]

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  • mma-pr0 says:

    matt. heiron has already fought in the ufc, he was dismantled by gsp

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  • ThatsRowdy says:

    What about Bart Palaszewski?! I think he’s awesome and should be on that list of “prefered fighters.” I’d pick him over Chris Horodecki. I mean the kid is good but everytime I have seen him fight Bart he always just pushes him against the ropes and then HOLDS the ropes and just leans on Bart, yet somehow magically he always gets the decision win over Palaszewski. I don’t understand it. I guess like they say you can’t leave it up to the judges!!

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  • Mike Wolfe says:

    I’d be surprised if UFC maintained the team concept of the IFL. That hasn’t been the model for any other org., and never made sense to me. If UFC cherry-picked the IFL fighters in welter weights through heavy weights and folded them into the WEC, that would strengthen the WEC’s weaknesses. UFC is pretty stacked in all weight classes except heavy, so I don’t see how UFC could add a bunch of new fighters. I’m not sure how much value IFL’s library would have. I guess it would provide new material for UFC Unleashed etc, but it might seem strange to have some fights in an octagon and some in a ring. I don’t think they air any of the Pride fights, which were better than most of the IFL fights.

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  • Panama says:

    The UFC would fold the IFL like they did PRIDE and WFA. I hope someone else buys the IFL because with the UFC controlling the libraries nobody will be able to use them and the UFC is out to control more and more fighters.
    I would have liked to see Roy Nelson, Horodecki, Heiron fight for other promotions because the UFC would strangle their careers.

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    Mike W, not even the IFL retained the team concept. They abandoned it after the ’07 season.

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  • mike wolfe says:

    #35 Sam

    I’d have known that if freaking Comcast carried HDNet, which it doesn’t. Bastards.

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  • joe says:

    I own shares of IFL stock. I was wondering what would happen to my shares if the IFL gets sold

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • [...] Sam Caplan over at FiveOuncesOfPain.com provides a few more details. 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. [...]

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  • Ned says:

    anybody think ufc/wec would pick up ryan mcgivern? hear he has some crazy conditioning.

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  • ryan says:

    EVAN # 20 hey belive that the UFC did aqurie the contracts. i have seen interviews (mark hunt couple days ago) where fighters have stated that there contracts rights were held by the ufc and they had to sit on the sidelines
    but anyways love the open forum on this website
    thanks for the good talks fellas

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  • batman says:

    IFL should get bought by the UFC for more exposure. I think affliction is the future and Elite XC is on the rise.

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  • Tony Fennen says:

    This reminds me of that Jet Li move ONE
    Where Jet Li travels through time and space to kill all the other Jet Li…. Or maybe HIGHLANDER….. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!!

    HA

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  • [...] deal isn’t finalized, says Sam Caplan, but this is the most credible report thus far regarding the potential purchase of the IFL. The [...]

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