by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
After a very successful event this past weekend, IFL President Kurt Otto appeared on MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio to talk about the organization’s recent success and what they have planned for the future.
“We’re on a mission to bring events to areas that most people wouldn’t go to,” commented Otto about the IFL’s choice of venues. “And we feel that’s how we’re going to expose this sport to as many people as possible and try to build this.”
The superfight between Matt Lindland and Jeremy Horn was one of the biggest middleweight fights outside of the UFC and PRIDE in recent history. “I want to thank Matt Lindland and Jeremy Horn for taking that fight. It was everything I thought it would be,” said Otto.
“I want to put together the most incredible fights that most people wouldn’t be able to put together,” Otto stated regarding future superfights in the IFL.
Regarding the IFL’s team concept, “It’s turning exactly the way that Gareb and I envisioned it,” commented Otto. “Gareb and I are kind of like peanut butter and jelly; he handles one end of the business and I handle the other end of the business. Together, we’re able to accomplish a lot of things.”
“Our league concept…I don’t feel that we’re directly competing with a lot of other organizations that are out there,” added Otto. “I would not want to try and put together a company and compete directly with the UFC, it doesn’t make sense to me.”
Part of the IFL’s success can be attributed to the experienced coaches that Gareb and Otto have hand-picked. “Wait until you see the next four coaches that we’re going to announce. We’re probably going to announce two of them at our Moline show. I’m also going to announce a superfight for November 4th which people are really going to be excited about.”
The IFL show on September 23rd in Moline, Illinois will be headlined by a superfight between fellow coaches Pat Miletich and Renzo Gracie. “You have a situation now where you’re having Miletich himself face Renzo, who I feel is probably is one of the more well-rounded fighters of all the Gracies…it could tell the tale of who has the better fighting system or maybe who has the more powerful fighting system,” said the IFL President.
Former UFC champion Mark Coleman was set to become a coach with the IFL. Later, it was announced that Frank Shamrock was the new coach. “Number one, I respect Mark. Number two, I think he just didn’t know how to say no…I think he had a couple of opportunities that were presented before I picked up the phone and spoke to him,” responded Kurt. “…He just wasn’t able to do it. Were we embarrassed? No. People tell you one thing one day and tell you something else the next day. That’s just the nature of this business.”
During his appearance on SoundOff Radio, Otto revealed that Maurice Smith will be participating in an upcoming superfight. “I do know that Maurice Smith is going to start to train and he is 100% going to fight. I don’t want to say who he is going to fight but it is going to happen and the person he is going to fight is no joke.”
In addition to news of Maurice Smith’s return, Kurt hinted a future match-up between Matt Lindland and Carlos Newton. “Matt Lindland already challenged Carlos Newton at the last press conference. I could tell you that fight would happen.”
The next IFL event is schedule for September 23rd at The Mark in Moline, Illinois. Pat Miletich’s Silverbacks will face against the Renzo Grace-led Pitbulls. Also on the card is the debut of two new teams; Frank Shamrock’s Razorclaws will square off against Carlos Newton’s Dragons. The IFL World Team Championship will be headlined by a superfight between Pat Miletich and Renzo Gracie.