Ok…so the IFL, on its last leg, has come up with yet another gimmick—since the whole team concept for an individual sport didn’t work—called ‘The Hex.’ What is ‘The Hex’ you ask? It is a six-sided ring being developed by Throwdown Industries, which is supposed maintain the viewer-friendly aspects of the ring while providing more space as typically found in a cage.
IFL CEO, Jay Larkin, explains:
“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. 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.”
I really don’t understand why Larkin doesn’t get it. A ring is one of the last things you should change to get more people to tune in. Fans, especially casual fans, are not going to tune in to see a ring that grew two extra sides. It’s about the fighters. Promote and build marketable fighters that fans want to see, create compelling matchups for them, and give them and your promotion the proper exposure to be successful. It’s obviously a lot easier said than done, but those are the keys to success in this sport. A little luck doesn’t hurt either.
Production values and gimmicks just aren’t enough. In my opinion, PRIDE had the best production values of any promotion, but they also had the fighters, fighters who were built into superstars in their promotion or were stars entering it. But without those fighters, PRIDE wouldn’t have been anything. With the exception of a few top names in the lighter weight classes, that’s essentially what DREAM is now. The difference between them and the IFL is they’re at least trying to get a hold of the best and most recognizable fighters they can.
Mr. Larkin, I just don’t understand why you don’t get that. Give us a real reason to care; then, maybe we’ll tune in.