by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com (Photo by Dave Mandel)
PORTLAND, OREGON – Just prior to tonight’s event in Portland, Oregon, the International Fight League held a press conference officially announcing the addition of not only Ian Freeman, but also UFC Hall of Famer and Ultimate Fighter 3 coach Ken Shamrock to their coaching ranks.
Freeman had been announced at yesterday’s weigh-in event, coaching the new British Bulldogs team from England. The Bulldogs will take part in a couple of events in 2007, but will officially join season participation in the 2008 season.
Shamrock, just a couple of weeks off of a recent loss to Tito Ortiz and announcing his retirement from fighting, joins his brother Frank as one of the IFL coaches. Ken’s team has been officially dubbed the Northern California Lions and will join the IFL’s 2007 season.
Neither Shamrock nor Freeman were ready to announce the athletes on their respective teams, but Shamrock did say that he has commitments from both Joe Hurley at 155 pounds and Vernon “Tiger” White at 205 pounds. He did, however, make it clear that, “that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be on the team.” Shamrock intends to find the best fighters at each weight and intends for his team to reside and train together in the same city.
While Shamrock made it very clear that he doesn’t intend to fight again, Freeman was much more amiable to the idea. “Put someone in front of me and I’ll fight anybody.”
There will be one more coach and team announced prior to the start of the 2007 season. IFL CEO Kurt Otto stated that the last of the 12 teams for 2007 will most likely be announced just prior to the December 29th World Team Championship Finals at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.