The IFL has been running on fumes for quite some time now, and it appears the company’s short run is coming to a close. The IFL announced today that they have cancelled their August 15 event due to its financial troubles.
NEW YORK, June 10, 2008: The International Fight League (OTC.BB: IFLI ) today announced that it has canceled its scheduled August 15 event at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in light of the company’s current financial condition. IFL continues to explore options for maximizing shareholder value. However, if the IFL is unable to successfully leverage any of those options, the company may seek protection from its creditors through a court proceeding.
The IFL is working with other top MMA organizations to keep its top fighters active in the sport and showcase their talent, while it pursues options that may enable it to continue its MMA operations. Several IFL athletes will compete on the Adrenaline MMA card in Chicago on June 14, and announcements with other promoters working with IFL athletes are expected in the near future. The IFL will also continue to downsize its staff to reduce costs.
It’s not looking good for the IFL. High-level executives within the company have been jumping ship with CEO Jay Larkin sending mixed signals about competing in the cutthroat MMA industry in the past few months.
Their saving grace was intended to be a six-sided ring dubbed “The Hex,” which was supposed to make its first appearance at the August 15 event at the IZOD Center. However, it doesn’t look like we’ll be finding out anytime soon, if ever, if “The Hex” is enough to save the company. I would bet my house it isn’t.
Larkin has publicly expressed interest in either selling the company or forming strategic partnerships, but it doesn’t appear that anything has come to fruition yet.
Larkin stated that in recent months the company has sought out additional funding so that the company could continue operations. The former SHOWTIME executive indicated that when seeking new partners and additional financing, no stone has been left unturned. According to Larkin, discussions with major financial companies, competing fight companies, television networks, media companies, film studios, and celebrities have all taken place. While many of the prospective investors greeted the opportunity of working with the IFL with initial excitement, they’ve been unable to consummate a deal.
While the IFL is not dead just yet, the canceled show is expected to give them just enough cash flow to survive a little longer to secure some kind of deal.
By cancelling the August show, Larkin believes that the IFL will have the needed cash flow to continue to seek out a new partner or a new owner. He would not give a timetable as to how long the company would operate before seeking protection from creditors, but insiders have indicated to FiveOuncesOfPain.com that it is unlikely that the IFL has the funding needed to keep its offices open past October.
In my opinion, the IFL did absolutely everything but what your supposed to do to create a successful promotion—team concept for a one-on-one sport, starting with taped broadcasts, emphasizing coaches over fighters and not creating or signing any marketable stars. First impressions are everything and their’s put them in a huge hole. They may have had small window of opportunity to recover, but despite getting live television and finally dropping the team concept, it just wasn’t enough. They never had fighters the general public cared enough about to watch, and ultimately that was the missing the piece of their puzzle.