Where The IFL Fighters Are Landing

The IFL’s demise is history.  Zuffa bought the former fight organization and its assets, but the biggest asset is the fighters.  Some of the contracts were believed to be taken by Zuffa, but apparently many were simply let go and became free agents.  Here are the former IFL fighters and their new homes. 

Fighter

New Organization

Roy Nelson*

Affliction

Vladimir Matyushenko*

Affliction

Jay Hieron*

Affliction

Dan Miller*

UFC

Ryan Schultz*

World Victory Road

Waggney Fabiano*

 

Chris Horodecki

Affliction

Mike Massenzio

UFC

Jim Miller

UFC

Bart Palaszewski

WEC

Rory Markham

UFC

Brad Blackburn

UFC

Andre Gusmao

UFC

Reese Andy

UFC

Danillo Vilefort

WEC

Ryan McGivern

 

Matt Horwich

 

Delson Heleno

 

Deividas Taurosevicious

 

Mike Ciesnolevicz

 

LC Davis

WEC

Mark Miller

 

Benji Radach

 

Pat Healy

 

Marcio Cruz

World Victory Road

Carmelo Marrero

 

Rafael Dias

 

Jake Ellenberger

 

Alexandre Ferreira

 

*Denotes a IFL title holder

The UFC, WEC and Zuffa have faired better than most people credit.  Affliction has just gotten the guys that didn’t make it in the UFC previously (Matysuhenko and Hieron).  Horodecki being one that I really feel the UFC missed out on, he would have been great for the WEC.  Also, I believe the big one will be Waggney Fabiano.  The WEC should go hard after him as he may be good competition for Faber. 

Advertisements

Evaluating Affliction

One of the questions that I keep thinking about is whether or not Affliction in here to stay and whether or not they will compete with the UFC.  No one disagrees that UFC is the standard of MMA right now, but Affliction is making up ground quickly.  It has been a tell tale sign of a slight change that Affliction has signed so many guys lately including many of the stars from the now defunt IFL, which was bought by the parent company of the UFC, Zuffa.  Affliction has signed Champs Roy Nelson and Vladimir Matyushenko.  They have signed lightweight star Chris Horodecki and are rumored to have welterweight champ Jay Hieron.  Affliction is cleaning up the free agents and doing better in that regard than even the UFC as of late.  So, what is there to judge a promotion…

1. Fighter Talent – Fight promotions are fight promotions.  There are other factors that come into play, but primarily if a promotion does not have top level talent they will not stay relevant.

2. Show Quality –  While good fighters is essential, the promotion must put on a good show.  They must entertain fans.  This includes exciting fights, good commentators and a solid show production.  Promotions have to build shows people will come to or buy.

3.  Solid Managment –  Managment is important to a fight promotion, not just anyone can do it.  A promotion may suceed or fail based ont he business savvy of the fight promoter or president.  The PR, fighter pay, contracts, TV deals, etc. all come into play here.

With that said, let’s see how Affliction is doing…

1. Fighter Talent…

There is a lot of hype around Affliction’s fighter talent.  Here is who I can think of off hand that they have and will use on their cards

  • Fedor Emelianenko
  • Andrei Arlovski
  • Josh Barnett
  • Tim Sylvia
  • Ben Rothwell
  • Roy Nelson
  • Pedro Rizzo
  • Paul Buentello
  • Aleksander Emelianenko
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
  • Tito Ortiz
  • Vladimir Matyushenko
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral
  • Mike Whitehead
  • Edwin DeWees
  • Vernon White
  • Vitor Belfort
  • Matt Lindland
  • Jay Hieron
  • Mike Pyle
  • J.J. Ambrose
  • Chris Horodecki

I went to HDNet’s Rankings to see how many Affliction Fighters were ranked in the top 100 pound for pound or top in their divisons  here is the results.

(Pound for Pound Rank, Divison Rank)

  • Fedor Emelianenko (2, 1)
  • Andrei Arlovski (25, 4)
  • Josh Barnett (27, 5)
  • Tim Sylvia (55, 7)
  • Ben Rothwell (81, 12)
  • Roy Nelson (84, 13)
  • Pedro Rizzo (NR, 19)
  • Paul Buentello (NR, NR)
  • Aleksander Emelianenko (76, 10)
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (85, 13)
  • Tito Ortiz (87, 15)
  • Vladimir Matyushenko (66, 12)
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral (92, 16)
  • Mike Whitehead (NR, NR)
  • Edwin DeWees (NR, NR)
  • Vernon White (NR, NR)
  • Vitor Belfort (NR, NR) – Unfairly I’d admit
  • Matt Lindland (22, 5)
  • Jay Hieron (59, 11)
  • Mike Pyle (NR, NR)
  • J.J. Ambrose (NR, NR)
  • Chris Horodecki (NR, NR)
  • Put this into perspective, out of the top 100 the promotions faires like this in pound for pound top 100 fighters…

    • UFC -39
    • Affliction – 13
    • DREAM -12
    • WEC – 10
    • EliteXC – 10
    • Strikeforce – 5
    • World Victory Road – 3

    The point is that Affliction’s talent is overrated. 

    • They are right about the level of DREAM talent wise
    • They are no where near the talent level of the UFC
    • 10 of the Affliction guys that appeared on the rankings list have fought in the UFC before.  Some have been sucessful.  There are several former UFC champs (Sylvia, Barnett, Rizzo, Ortiz and Arlovski), however most of them did no better than fair in the UFC (see Matyushenko, Hieron, et. al)
    • Most of the top Affliction guys are in the second half of their careers and are past their prime.  They still have fight left in them, don’t get me wrong, but not for the long haul
    • What happens if two or three of those gusy get injured?  Affliction is hanging their hat on Fedor, Barnett, Arlovski and Ortiz.  They cannot keep putting everyone on every card, they will run out of match-ups.
    • To their credit, they can put on good fights.  The talent isn’t bad.  Their guys can fight exciting fighter, but they have exciting fights at tough man competitions. They need to sign younger talent and more talent.

    Show Quality…

    • I cannot judge them solely on their sole show.  Affliction needs to improve their show quality as far as commentating, interviews and production is concerned
    • Also, I thought with the exception of the last 3 fights the card wasn’t what it was billed to be
    • They are nowhere near the UFC level as far as enjoyability to watch

    Solid Managment:

    • The UFC with Dana White and the Fertitas is still the managment standard.  I have problems with the UFC and Dana White’s managing style.  I don’t like his constant expletives, I don’t like the way he trashes other promotions, I don’t like the stubborness he exhibits with signing guys like Lindland and Barnett, and even Fedor.  However, Dana is crafty.  Atencio is no Dana White.  Watch his video below where he can’t remember Josh Barnett’s name and he is the main event for the second show. 
    • Affliction does have the deep pocketed Donald Trump behind them which helps.  Trump is a business guiness, but he doesn’t neccessarily know MMA.  The money helps thought he same way it helped having Lorezon and Frank in the UFC early days when they lost tons of money.

    Here is the point folks…Affliction is a solid upstart company.  They may be around for a while, but before we jump ont he bandwagon and label them peers to the UFC and competitors to the UFC let them get through a few shows first.  Let’s see how much money they lose after 3 events.  Let’s see how many fights they can do after 3 card.  They could compete, but as for now it is the UFC and then everyone else.  Zuffa is sitting pretty in the MMA world.  They are the big leagues, everything else is just the minors.  Affliction, EliteXC and DREAM are in the same boat and in a year from now at least one of them will be non-existent.

    UFC News: Zuffa Buys IFL

    It has been rumored for a few weeks that Zuffa was going to buy the International Fight League (IFL), now it seems offifical.  we assumed it was going to happen with several clues.  First, came the announcment that the IFL was for sale for $1,000,000 and that Zuffa was the leading suitor.  Then came the July 19th card featuring IFL fighters such as Reese Andy, Brad Blackburn and Rory Markham.  Also, during the SPIKE telecast of the UFC Fight Night 14 card IFL footage was used and talked about openly, something the UFC had not done before.  Then came the rumor that  the UFC signed Jim and Dan Miller.  Here is a word from IFL Senior Vice President of Communications Joe Favorito:

    I apologize for this mass email but I wanted to take a second to let you know that as of July 31 my role at the IFL will be no more as the company goes into its final stage of being sold and/or closed down. We are very proud of what we did here in just over two years, building a brand from nothing into something that people in the industry and outside of the industry actually noticed, and I enjoyed working with so many different people and helped tell some great stories. At the end of the day sometimes the finances don’t make sense, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. The good news is I think we have gotten all our good junior people placed in some great spots, so we are pretty proud of that. Even our interns landed in good places

    That is nothing shocking.  Again, the focus now will be where do the 10-15 top guys from the IFL land.  There is some news on that front.  The IFL lightweight champion Ryan Schultz seems to have landed with World Victory Road, as he is slated to appear on their Sengoku 4 card, which is a lightweight grand prix.  That is a pretty good indicator that he will not land with Zuffa.  Also, MMAjunkie says that Chris Horodecki is in negotions with the American Fight League.  I am sure ZUffa will sign more fighters and they will go between the UFC and WEC.  I would imagine that means that the UFC will focus on Roy Nelson, Vladimir Matyushenko, and Jay Hieron, while the WEC has to crave Waggney Fabiano at 145 lbs.

    UFC News: UFC Signs Dan and Jim Miller

    This will fuel more speculation about the UFC’s purchase of the IFL.  It seems like a done deal.  The only question is where will the prized fighetrs fall.  It appears that Jim and Dan Miller will land in the UFC. 

    International Fight League reigning middleweight champion Dan Miller (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and IFL lightweight Jim Miller (11-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) have both signed multi-fight deals with the UFC.  The AMA Fight Club’s Mike Constantino, the manager and one of the trainers for the fighters and brothers,  today confirmed the signings with MMAjunkie.com  Both of the fighters signed four-fight exclusive contracts, though financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. Constantino declined to comment on the particulars of the negotiation process, and he had no comment on the UFC’s rumored purchase of the IFL. Constantino said no definitive dates have been determined for the Miller brothers’ UFC debuts, but he said they will be available any time the UFC needs them.  “If they told us to fight in two weeks, we’d be ready,” Constantino said. “We’ll fight as soon as possible. The guys are always in shape and in the gym all the time helping their teammates. We have about 20 guys at the gym who fight in pro organizations, so someone always has a fight coming up, and Dan and Jim are always there helping them out.”

    Dan Miller is the IFl middleweight champion.  He recently took the belt from Ryan McGivern.  Jim Miller is a promising lightweight fighter, who was rumored to be on the cast of the Ultimate Fighter 8.  His lone loss was to UFC lightweight contender Frank Edgar. 

    Both these guys should be a bolster to their respective divisons and we will inform MMA Blog readers of their debut as soon as we know of it.  Also, stay tuned for news of more IFL fighters.  It looks like they will fall between the UFC and WEC unless their contracts are non-transferable. 

    Guys to look for:

    1. Waggney Fabiano

    2. Chris Horodecki

    3. Jay Hieron

    4. Vladimir Matyyshenko

    5. Roy Nelson

    6. Ryan Schultz

    7. Matt Horowich

    8. Ryan McGivern

     

    Rumor: UFC Looking to Buy IFL

    It is not a secret that the IFL has been up for sale.  The supposed asking price: $1,000,000.  The most likely buyer seems to be Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC and WEC.  The rumor has been that the UFC has been in talks with IFL.  For a long time Dana White has been critical and wary of the IFL.  Recently though many fighters have tried their hand at the UFC.  Several IFL guys were cast for TUF 7 including: Gerald Harris, Mike Dolce, and Dante Rivera.  Several others were picked to fight at the UFC Fight Night held to combat Affliction: Banned including stars Brad Blackburn, Reese Andy, and Rory Markham.  Markham and Blackburn both looked very good in wins in their octagon debuts.  The rumors have been fueled following the fight night.  Many people speculated that since Rogan and Goldberg talked openly about the IFL and IFL videos were shown that the UFC could have bought the IFL.  It seems most likely that the IFL is done. This from CagePotato:

    Despite Dana White’s love of criticizing every aspect of the IFL and citing them as a cautionary tale for MMA startups, it seems fighter contracts and an extensive video library are just too attractive for him to pass up. According to a report on MMA Payout, Zuffa is very close to buying the IFL.

    The deal isn’t finalized, says Sam Caplan, but this is the most credible report thus far regarding the potential purchase of the IFL. The company was said to be on the market for around $1 million, but the UFC is believed to be getting it for less than that. Sources within the IFL could only confirm for us that the talks have been under way for some time now and the UFC is the leading suitor.

     The rumor has been that the IFL fighters would be split between the UFC and WEC.  Some would become free agents.  Here are the msot attractive fighters to Zuffa. 

    1. Waggney Fabiano – 145 Lbs.  (He is the IFL Fetaherweight champ and would make a good competition for Urijah Faber in the WEC.

    2. Roy Nelson – HVWT.  (He is the IFL heavyweight Champ and would likely be given a shot in the UFC, but I don’t know how he’d fair against UFC fighters)

    3.  Ryan Schultz – 155 lbs. (He is the IFC Lightweight Champ, and may be better suited for the WEC)

    4. Chris Horodecki – 155 lbs. (I think he could hack the UFC, but 155 is stacked)

    5. Jim Miller – 155 lbs. (He has been rumored to be on TUF 8 cast as a lightweight, but I don’t but that)

    6. Jay Hieron – 170 lbs. (He is the IFL Welterweight Champ, he has been in the UFC, but he may have impreved since his stint there)

    7. Ryan McGivern

    8. Matt Horowich

    9. Vladimir Matyushenko

    10. Dan Miller

    UFC Signing IFL Fighters

    It seems the UFC has growing intrest in IFL fighters.  Recently, the UFC signed notable light heavyweight fighter from the IFL, Andre Gusmao.  Also, today it is reported that the UFC has signed Rory Markham to contract.  Also Brad Blakburn will be featured on July 19th at UFC Fight Night 14.   Also, Chris Wilson, another welterweight and former IFL figher is now with the UFC.  TUF 7 featured a few IFL fighters in Gerlad Harris, Dante Rivera and Mike Dolce.

    Many of the IFL best have tried their hand at the UFC and not done great.  Jay Hieron and Vladimir Matyushenko are UFC vets.  I personally would like to see guys like Roy Nelson, Ryan McGiven, Chris Horodecki, Benji Radach, and Dan Miller in the UFC.  I don’t know how they will fair.  I have a feeling that Chris Wilson, Rory Markham and Andre Gusmao will be good indicators of how IFL fighters would do in the UFC. 

    Elite XC on CBS II on July 26

    At Last night’s EliteXC event it was announced that EliteXC and CBS will in fact move forward with their second show in late July. Scott Smith and Robbie Lawler will headline the card in a rematch for the EliteXC Middleweight Championship.

    Smith and Lawler first fought two weeks ago at EliteXC ‘Primetime’ on CBS which was turning out to be a classic fight, however the fight came to a sudden end when the champ Robbie Lawler accidently poked Scott Smith in the eye.  Both fighters were willing to continue, but doctors called a stop to the fight due to the fact that Smith said he couldn’t see.  The fight was shaping up to be fight of the night by far.  “Neither one of us wanted the fight to end that way, so we definitely have some unfinished business we need to take care of,” Smith said during Saturday’s broadcast. Smith said his eye is fine, and though he initially thought he had broken his foot in the fight, he said it, too, is completely healthy. “I’m more confident going into this rematch than I was going into the first fight,” Smith said. “I’m really excited for this.”
    When asked about a potential re-match, EliteXC president gary Shaw said, “I’d like to bring these guys back.” “They’ve got unfinished business. That could be the name of the show, ‘Unfinished Business,’ because that’s what it is.”

    We knew that CBS wanted to do another show and play off the success of the last show and it looks like it will happen, however it will happen without the two biggest stars in Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano.  I have a feeling a better card will be developed.  Rumor has it that Antonio “Junior” Silva will be on the card to fight for the first Heavyweight title.  Many opponents have been mentioned such as Roy Nelson and even Brett Rogers.  Also, it is likely that a welterweight belt will be issues as well.  It is certain than Jake Shields will fight for that title, but his opponent is yet to be known.  Some have speculated it could be Drew Fickett, which is most likely, but also it could be IFL’s Jay Hieron.  Those three fights alone would make a great card.  Perhaps they could also showcase some new talent like Paul Daley or Rafael Feijao.  Gary Shaw said that they will cut down on the showiness and the antics more this time, I hope they do.  It could be a great card and not so much a joke.  It looks like about every other week has a major MMA event through the summer.