The International Fight League: A New Concept

By Tom Donelson
Updated: March 19, 2007

IOWA CITY, Ia.— Mixed Martial Arts as a sport has thousands of years pumping in its blood. Combining variety of fighting styles such as boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, judo, and Jiu Jitsu; the Mixed Artist athletes are combing various fighting styles in synergic way to present Americans with a new sport.

The sport has its origin in the Ultimate Fighting championships debuting in the mid 90’s but now the the sport is now finding its way as it moves forward.

One new thing that some Mixed Martial Arts promoters are trying is a team concept in form of the International Fight League. Other individual sports have their form of team concepts.

In Tennis, the Davis Cups has various nations competing against each other for the cup and Golf has its Ryder Cup. Both the Davis Cups and Ryder Cups are based on a nationalistic concept of nations against nations.

Even Boxing has attempted similar match ups when Golden Boy Productions featured some of the best fighters from Thailand and Mexico a couple years ago in several championship matches but the concept had not been tried since.

The international Fight League is featuring upcoming martial artists coached by some of the legends of the UFC, including Frank Shamrock, Renzo Gracie and Don Frye.

The league does differentiate itself from the UFC and other mixed martial events in two ways. The first way is the rounds are three four minutes rounds as oppose to five minutes rounds and the second is that the events are held in a boxing ring as oppose to a cage stage.

The promoters often match four teams on the same card and the fans will have a chance to see up to 10 matches in the course of an evening. The season ends with a championship tournament featuring the top four teams.

The question is if the team concept could work in the long term, but collegiate and high school athletics have done this for year. Track, tennis, swimming and golf have always been conducted in a team concept and the reason for success is that it allows athletes to share the expenses of training and have a constant place to train.

The IFL concept advantages are similar for it allows athletes to have excellent coaching, training partners and equal resources to ensure that these athletes have equal access to training facilities.

In many individual sports, the ability of an athlete to gain access to the best in training facilities depends upon obtaining resources through sponsors or promoters.

In boxing, an Olympic boxer may obtain instant backing from promoters that will allow him to train full time while starting his career. Most boxers find themselves working other jobs just to make ends meet while trying to get their career going.

Tennis and Golf are similar in this respect. The better the athlete, the more support he will garner.

International fight league ensures these athletes a steady pay check, training partners and regular television coverage that will build their reputation.

And this will produced better martial artists, artists to build the sport around.

Sports, individual sports in particular, are built around heroes and stars. The International Fight League provides the platform in which future stars are born and provides Mixed Martial artists the stars needed to grow the sport in the future.