If grabbing half the good fighters and trainers in the world wasn’t enough, Randy’s XTreme Couture has started swallowing camps whole. Shawn Tompkins (who’s been XTreme’s striking coach for a few months now) is folding Team Tompkins into XTreme Couture. Team Tompkins includes fighters Sam Stout, Mark Hominick, and Chris Horodecki … some great talent that has been badly served in the corner by Tompkins in the past.

Since Randy has gained a rep as gameplan master, I can only hope this merge will be in more than name only. Both Stout and Hominick have the abilities to be champions, so perhaps rubbing Couture’s buddha-like head will give them that extra push to really make it. Couture will be at the IFL show this Saturday (an appearance that’s being blown out of proportion by some), so I guess we’ll see how his golden touch fares.

This Saturday is quite possibly the most important day in the IFL’s short history: the day they do their first live broadcast for MyNetworkTV and Fox Sports World. Of course, IFL president Jay Larkin will be in England for the Kessler-Calzaghe fight. That just makes sense. Fortunately, Larkin did stick around long enough to have a phone conference on Tuesday before fucking off.

Interesting tidbits gleaned from that call included the idea of dropping heavyweights in favor of featherweights (do I even have to say this is dumb?) and changing the team format from the oh so hip wild animal theme to camp themed:

Past matches between cities like New York and Quad Cities will be replaced under the revamped format by competitions between camps, such as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Miletich Fighting Systems.

This is perhaps the smartest move the IFL has made yet, although knowing them they’re bound to fuck up the execution. But just so you know how ‘doing it right’ would look like, here’s my proposal to ‘trim the fat’ and fix the IFL:

-Switch the teams from cities to camps. It’s never been smart to (as Dana says) have the Seattle Woodchucks vs the Toronto Beavers. No one gives a fuck. Now XTreme Couture vs Jackson’s Submission Camp would be something else.

-Allow the teams to draw from their entire camp through the whole season. Stop locking these guys into season-long contracts that have you paying them way too much to sit out injured. Fight by fight is the way to go because you’re no longer responsible for paying them past fight night. Give up on your stupid “building stars” aspirations. While you’re growing, just accept your role as a stepping stone in fighter’s careers. The only way you’re gonna lose a fighter to another org is if the UFC picks them up.

-Dump the ‘coach’ concept. It’s just extra money to keep these guys on staff, plus it keeps a lot of guys from participating because of Dana White’s scorched earth policy towards the IFL. Dana White can keep Jorge Gurgel and Rich Franklin from being coaches, but he can’t stop American Fighter or Team Gurgel fighters from participating under their club banner. And again, not having to pay coaches a ton of money to do what they’d be doing anyways is just smart.

-Cut your TV shows down to an hour. The IFL simply doesn’t have enough content to be doing a two hour MyNetworkTV show every week plus god knows how many Fox Sports shows. The strain to produce non-fight content is too great and the IFL is burning way too much money and resources trying to keep it up. Even the UFC had a hard time with it’s ‘news programme’ show. Take a hint: people want to watch fights.

-Not only do people want to watch fights, they prefer to watch them live. Larkin has already said this is a big important one: Their shows have to be live, and not just 1 hour live. Two hours is more reasonable and they should be doing it four times a year. Obviously they’re stuck with the TV deals they have, but it should be #1 priority to set live shows in place.

-Stop jumping all over the country. Partner up with a few reliable local promoters and grow your shows in specific areas. Have one camp battle plus a locals-heavy undercard and a decent headlining fight (fuck, if a shitty Canadian league can have Aleks E for one show, so can you). Make your partnership with a middling flat fee plus good attendance goal bonuses.

-And last and definitely least, put Don Frye in the commentator’s booth as the third man. He’s pretty much useless as a coach and the IFL only keeps him around for his “Dear Don” columns and old school appeal. If he’s too unstable in the booth then I’m sure there’s bits and stuff he could do for Battleground. Frye is a personality and worth keeping around.

Anyways, these are just the ideas off the top of my head. If the IFL were to offer me 60k a year (no stock, you fucking bastards), I’d be willing to sit down and flesh these ideas out for them with some crayons and bristol board.

Here’s what Phil Baroni’s agent Ken Pavia had to say about Phil’s case:

Phil took 67 supplements and I MADE him take a pre fight test to make sure he didn’t have a false positive. He passed for everything.

Phil took a post fight test after his CSAC positive. He passed for everything.

Phil took another post fight test in front of Sherdog editor and cameras at a doctors office. He passed for everything.

We had the CSAC samples RETESTED at a third party accredited lab. These were the same samples that came back positive. THEY CAME BACK NEGATIVE FOR EVERYTHING.

The CSAC expert said there is no such thing as a false positive, but the CSAC web site sites an Olympic committee study that says 15% of all over the counters cause false positives. His credibility should have been shot.

Two of the six Commissioners voted to throw it out completely with one abstaining.

Every objection that was made the entire time was ruled in favor of the Commission including one where by the Commission attorney was allowed to ask about aspects of our case on cross examination that we hadn’t even introduced. She got the info out of our exhibit packet and basically introduce all of our evidence before for us.

The Commission was forced to listen to over 2 hours of steroid propaganda prior to the hearing that just by coincidence was scheduled for the same day. They actually brought in a chiropractor from New Jersey who took 45 minutes saying… steroids are bad for kids… steroids are for cheaters.

They had one test that said he did steroids. We had four tests including their test that said he didn’t do steroids.

Phil was innocent.

After having to endure 2 hours of a steroid seminar where because it was not testimony there was no cross examination, we began the proceeding. The AG tried to introduce a packet of info. I objected as I had requested copies in writing over a month before of all materials. I requested a recess to review the packet and my request was denied by the presiding chair. I objected again and was denied. It was only after they started presenting that one of the Commissioners spoke up and said, why cant he see it, a mans career is at stake.

When I objected to the failure of the chair to follow any sort of procedural guidelines or have an consistency in rulings I believe his words were he said that the did not have to follow civil or criminal procedure OR ADMINISTRATIVE procedure. He did say that the rulings were what he said they were.

In my opening I tried to challenge the standard the chair had stated as the burden of proof. He had at the previous meeting said it was by PERPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE. That mean 51%. I asked for authority and was told it was precedent. It was not in the code or regs or minutes from previous hearings. When I got the info packet I found that they were relying on a 1999 hearing where someone applied for a auto salespersons licence from the DMV. That was their authority and the standard they were apply as gospel. Not an Athletic Commission ruling. Not the BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT standard that our criminal courts apply when someone stands accused. This case was not about a kid trying to get a licence to sell Malibus at a sled lot. It was about a man that worked his entire career and whose next contracted payday was more then ALL 8 OF HIS UFC FIGHTS COMBINED, of ALL 6 OF HIS PRIDE FIGHTS COMBINED.

I began to state an objection to this standard, mind you after 2 hours of a steroid seminar that had nothing to with the facts of the case and whose prejudicial value far outweighed the probative value. I was cut off immediately by the chair and was told to bring it up in my close. I objected as I wanted to address it now so the Commission could consider it. I was cut off again and told I could not. This was the general pattern of how things went.

Way back when we were still green and ignorant, the peeps at Fightlinker had such high hopes for BodogFight. Fuck … the premise sounded so awesome to us:

Calvin Ayre is the guy behind Bodog, a multi-billion dollar illegal internet gambling empire. The guy can’t set foot on US soil without SWAT getting deployed. In a scenario ripped directly from a bad Jean Claude Van Damme script, ol Cal is flying 16 fighters by helicopter to a fortified compound in the jungle to fight eachother in a reality TV show. The kicker – the winners of the reality show get to have their skulls smashed by Fedor Emelienkobob’s training team, the Red Devils.

Of course, you know how all this turned out. Terrible production values, a leathery Bif Naked, and more skanks than you can shake a stick at. People stopped watching, BodogFight became something of a joke, and many dollars were lost.

Things have been sliding for a while now … a lot of the skilled management has left and Matt Lindland recently said he never knew who to call there or who was calling him regarding his Bodog contract.

Now it looks like the shit has really started to smell: BodogFight is officially off the air. Yup, that’s right – Bodog couldn’t even keep it’s deal with an obscure network like ION. I seriously doubt they’ll be able to secure a new deal … in ION’s defense they never saw how bad BodogFight was going to be before they signed it. Now there’s plenty of content for a TV exec to watch and vomit to.

This has been the month of the press conference / conference call. In addition to the UFC and Couture conferences, the IFL apparently had one earlier this week and EliteXC had one yesterday. Of course, neither of those fuck nuggets thought we here at Fightlinker were worth inviting, despite the fact that we had some seriously awesome questions to ask both parties:

IFL:

  • How much will you charge for blowjobs in 2009 when you are destitute and living on the street?
  • Is hindsight really 20/20 or do you still think you’re smart?
  • Who’s responsible for you guys sucking so bad and when does he get fired?

EliteXC

  • Who’s responsible for completely fucking up Kimbo Slice’s debut with your organization?
  • Since you’ve now got drug users, felony fighters, and kidnappers in your league, how long till you start adding rapists, murderers, and nazis? I understand your farm league has several of these?
  • When is Gary’s loser son $kala going to fight Robbie Lawler?

But hey, I’m not all about shit disturbing. For example, half the blogs on the internet are freaking out that Gary Shaw has ditched the standard Unified Rules weight classes in favor of his own system: 140, 150, 160, 170, 185, 205, 205+ and 265+. But when you wash the sand out of your vagina and actually think about it, this move isn’t as bad as it really seems.

Hey, I’ve said it before: the last thing MMA needs is 20 different weight classes. But in this case, Gary hasn’t actually added a bunch more. Basically all his system does is (theoretically) lessen the number of pounds a fighter has to cut by 5 pounds. Here’s the unified weight classes next to the Shaw-daddy classes:

  • 135 / 140
  • 145 / 150
  • 155 / 160
  • 170 / 170
  • 185 / 185
  • 205 / 205
  • 205+ / 205+
  • 265+ / 265+

Of course, if the point is to keep his fighters from cutting too much it isn’t going to work. Fighters will always cut like emo teenagers, and if you give them 5 pounds to play with, it just makes it more likely that they’ll try to cut down another weight class. You can’t trust these morons to be reasonable. They’ll take every inch you give them and try to squeeze as much advantage out of it as possible.

So while this isn’t exactly the best idea in the world, it’s not like Shaw is adding stupid ‘super middleweight’ and ‘ultra light’ classes.

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