by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Heading into their third event of the 2007 season, the IFL is experiencing some of the pitfalls of their new, busier schedule. Instead of having events around 90 days apart, the promotion has seen the time between events shrink significantly, meaning teams have a shorter turn-around time than they had last year.
Among the casualties of the shorter schedule is Wolfpack lightweight Ryan “The Lion” Schultz. While physically healthy, he will miss the team’s 2007 season debut in Atlanta, Georgia on February 23rd as confirmed by MMAWeekly with Wolfpack coach Matt Lindland.
Schultz, while healthy, will miss the event because of a mandatory suspension he received from the Mohegan Sun Athletic Commission stemming from his KO loss to Bart Palaszewski of the Silverbacks at the IFL Finals on December 29th.
The 60-day suspension is scheduled to end just hours after Schultz’s scheduled fight with new Dragons lightweight Wagnney Fabiano, so even though he is healthy, Ryan will not be able to compete at the event.
Taking Schultz’s place will be alternate Ian “The Barn Owl” Loveland, who will be making his IFL debut.
Loveland has long been one of the Northwest fighting circuit’s most popular fighters, due to his all-action style of fighting, win or lose. Currently Ian sports a professional 6-4 record, 13-4 overall, with his most recent victory coming at Sportfight 18 over CJ Thompson via rear naked choke in just over three minutes.
With Loveland moving up to the main card, the Wolfpack has secured the services of former Tiger Sharks lightweight Cam “Mr. Smooth” Ward to take the place of alternate fighter.
Should anything happen to any fighter scheduled for the 5-on-5 battle between the Wolfpack and the Dragons that forces them to be unable to fight, Ward will step in, as well as the Dragons’ lightweight alternate, to complete the team competition.
Already in both IFL events this year the lightweight alternates have been forced to step in and take the spot of one of the main card fights.
In January Clint Coronel of the Razorclaws defeated the Lions’ Joe Martin in an alternate lightweight fight due to Vernon “Tiger” White and Raphael Davis’ scheduled fight being pulled by the CSAC due to a disparage in the experience between the two fighters. A month later Sabres’ middleweight Kazuhiro Hamanaka failed to make weight for his slated battle with the Scorpions’ Shane Johnson, leaving Matt Ver Halen to dispatch Masaaki Izena, helping the Sabres take the team battle 3-2 over the Scorpions.
In other replacement news for the Wolfpack and Dragons showdown, the IFL has confirmed that light-heavyweight Aaron Stark of the Wolfpack will miss the event due to rib injury, and so 4-1 John Krohn will step in to face Dragons’ light-heavyweight Wojtek Kaszowski, who is currently winless in MMA at 0-4.