(photo courtesy of IFL)
As previously reported by MMAWeekly, the IFL has added Matt Lindland, Carlos Newton, Mark Coleman, and Antonio Inoki as coaches for its upcoming season. The IFL confirmed the news by officially announcing that Lindland, Newton, Coleman, and Inoki will join its coaching ranks along with Pat Miletich, Bas Rutten, Renzo Gracie, and Maurice Smith.
As with the first season, each coach will have full control over his team, and each team will consist of one heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, and lightweight (as well as back-up fighters).
This season is scheduled to play out in the form of an eight-team tournament that begins in September and ends in December. According to the Wrestling Observer, “Randy Couture was actually one of the original four [IFL coaches], but he backed out because of pressure from the UFC.”
The IFL has also confirmed another MMAWeekly report by officially announcing the return of Pat Miletich to in-ring competition, as he will fight Renzo Gracie at an IFL event in September.
Miletich previously told MMAWeekly, “Renzo and I are going to fight. I think they’re going to be making the announcement on the IFL [show on] June 3rd… We’re excited. Renzo and I get along very well. We’ve known each other for a lot of years, but we recognize we can have a lot of fun, put on a good show for the crowd, make some money at the same time, and help the IFL along. It’s very exciting.”
Miletich has a 28-6-2 professional MMA record, and his fighting accomplishments include becoming the UFC’s first 170-pound champion by defeating Mikey Burnett at the UFC’s “Ultimate Brazil” event in 1998.
After losing the title to Carlos Newton in 2001, Miletich moved up to the middleweight division, where he lost to Matt Lindland in March of 2002. Miletich has not fought since then, in part due to a variety of injuries that have healed over time.
Another interesting sub-plot that has been added to the coaching dynamic of the IFL with the announcement of the new coaches is that Miletich will be a coach in the same league as Matt Lindland and Carlos Newton, who are responsible for two of the six losses that Miletich has had in his 36-fight career.
Carlos Newton and Renzo Gracie have also fought before, as have Mark Coleman and Maurice Smith. Newton defeated Gracie via judges’ decision at the very first Pride Bushido event back in 2003, while Smith defeated Coleman for the UFC Heavyweight Championship back at UFC 14 in mid-1997.