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I’ve wanted to mention the fact that the IFL had hired former Showtime executive Jay Larkin for a few days, and now this new interview by Sam Caplan has popped up to give me an excuse.

First off, Jay Larkin is one of the big boxing guys. He doesn’t have the same name recognition as a Gary Shaw or Don King, but he was the guy running boxing at Showtime for over a decade and while he never managed to beat HBO out for the biggest fights, many people considered Showtime to put on the better fights. So you gotta respect that.

Now Jay is coming on board the IFL. The IFL of course is up shit creek without a paddle. Their stock is tanking, their coffers are running dangerously low, and the only star fighters they managed to develop this year are looking to jump ship. It will definately be interesting to see what Larkin can do with this whole situation, or better yet to see what Larkin does to completely change the situation and therefore the direction of the IFL.

One thing for sure though is you’re probably not gonna see any more dopey interviews with the Dumb and Dumber duo of Kurt Otto and Gareb Shemus. Now that the IFL has someone who’s public relations skills were forged in the flames of the treacherous boxing world, you better bet they’re gonna use him, and use him a lot. Just check out some of the shit this guy is already spinning:

On the financial state of the company:

The major financial hurdles are not quite as major as some folks in the industry would like the rest of the world to believe. This company is a year and a half old and in a year and a half we’ve accomplished astounding things. If you lack back in history at other MMA companies, one in particular, look where they were a year and a half in and how much money they were in debt and (in comparison) this company (the IFL) is a major success story.

Obviously Jay’s talking about the UFC. The difference here of course is that the UFC is owned by Casino magnates with deep pockets, while the IFL made the decision to go the penny stock route.

On the state of the IFL’s TV deals in 2008

Yes, there’s a deal for 2008 in place. It’s in various stages of going through the lawyers and it’s being reviewed here. Being a TV guy, I want to take a hard look at the existing television deals. But there’s definitely a television deal for 2008 that’s in place.

I like how he says there’s a deal in place then says he’s taking a hard look at the deals that are ‘in place’. Last time I checked, in place means done. Not getting there. Everything’s in place for me to get off on that stupid indecent exposure charge. It’s just gotta go through those pesky lawyers.

On the direction he wants to take the IFL:

We’re also getting ready to make inroads in the pay-per-view world. In my opinion we’re not ready for the pay-per-view world because we don’t have those names that are going to jump out at you. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to get them and it doesn’t mean we’re not going to develop them. But (PPV) is definitely the road we’re heading down.

Wow, what an original idea. Put together fights, show them on PPV. Revolutionary. With outside the box ideas like this, the IFL is sure to succeed.

So at the moment, I’m not seeing anything on the surface to tell me Larkin’s gonna turn shit around for the IFL, but my bet is Jay’s got his head under the hood looking at how everything works in the IFL. The problem is that 99% of the solutions to fix the IFL will require a lot of money and a lot of luck, one of which the IFL definitely doesn’t have and the other … well, if Kurt and Otto had horseshoes up their asses they sold them for money to keep the IFL running. Maybe Larkin’s got an extra one up his rectum to share.

If the UFC was wondering how the fuck to do business in Japan, here’s how it works:

  • To get rid of the stench of scandal, appoint FILA vice president Tomiaki Fukuda as president and former Tokyo chief of police Yukihiko Inoue as commissioner.
  • Add some star power to your brass by including famous 70’s boxer Yoko Gushiken and pro wrestling icon Hiroshi Hase.
  • Secure financing from established backers like Takao Yasuda and Naoya Kinoshita.
  • Build your promotion around popular Japanese fighters from the J-ROCK camp, and have Hidehiko Yoshida star.

And here’s how it doesn’t work:

  • Send some pencil pusher from the states over to tell everyone what to do
  • Don’t bring in any names the Japanese know and trust to deal with all the baggage left over from the DSE scandals
  • Act surprised when you can’t get a TV deal
  • Strip the promotion of all it’s stars
  • Close the office down and blame the Japanese for being punks

Just for reference sake.

So I’m making an effort to pay more attention to that whole ‘boxing’ thing … the site is called ‘Fight’ linker, not MMA Linker. And although I originally called it that because it sounded cooler and to rip off Zach Arnold, I figure I might wanna live up to the name and at least have a passing knowledge of what’s going on in the world of boxing, kickboxing, and all sports that involve one person beating another person up. Or sports that at least claim that one person is going to beat another person up but all the fights end with no one really hurt and go to a boring decision.

That being said, I’m glad I watched the Pavlik/Taylor fight last week or I would have already given up on boxing already after watching the Evander Holyfield / Sultan Ibragimov fight from this weekend. I’m down with the whole aging fighter vs underperforming champion thang – we all saw how awesome that was when Couture pulled it off against Tim Sylvia. But instead of 5 rounds of Couture outsmarting and outclassing Sylvia, this fight was twelve rounds of slow monotany.

In fact, the most exciting part of the whole fight was when Holyfield’s corner shat all over him before the 8th round, berating him like a kid caught sniffing his sister’s panties. I knew Holyfield was done when he just took it and didn’t respond … he went out in the 8th and just continued to plod. Ibragimov was happy to pick Holyfield apart with the jab and throw occasional body shots, and in the end he won an uninspired decision.

Even the announcers were commenting on how dry and unexceptional this fight was. But apparently boxing announcers do this on a regular basis … fuck. I can understand why. 12 rounds = 36 minutes I’ll never get back. I’ve taken shits that have been more satisfying than this fight.

Anyways, I only checked this out because Holyfield was involved, and I don’t think I’ll make that mistake again. As for the whole retiring shit, people have to fuck off and mind their own business. The day Holyfield gets smashed in the ring is the day he should consider stopping … while the fight definately sucked, there’s tons of high profile matches that have sucked just as hard if not worse.

People are blaming Holyfield’s age for it, and maybe it’s true. But if he was really over the hill, should he have been able to go twelve rounds with a heavyweight champion and emerge unscathed? Is that the sad state of boxing, or are people just flapping their gums about ‘protecting a legacy’. Hmmm, that sounds pretty familiar to me.

Last week was the Low Blow 2.0, and now it’s the Low Blow 20. That’s right, 20 freaking shows adding up to somewhere around 15 hours worth of completely useless blather. Amazing how time flies.

This week marks the return of Sean Connery, a Xyience taste test, our UFC77 preview, and several items of random news that may already be obsolete. Damned MMA, slow down for a second. We also talk about how depressing it’s been to be a fan of Ultimate Fighting over the past two weeks. But don’t worry, we’re fucking smashed so it’s not a downer … really. We’ve inserted a pee break 45 minutes into this episode so you can last the whole 72 minutes. We’re starting to feel like FightOpinion here with our marathon shows. Next week we’ll try and make it short.

Download the latest show here or listen to it on our handy dandy talkshoe app to your right. And as always, feedback is loved and cherished.

**UPDATE** Talkshoe sucks and the file isn’t uploading. I’ll keep trying, but for now that means no streaming and no iTunes

Back in April the NSAC approved a small show’s request for doing a two round tournament on one night. At the time I was young and naive, and thought perhaps this could mean the UFC-owned PRIDE would be able to continue it’s Grand Prix in America now. Oh, stupid me. But all hope is not lost … it looks like Strikeforce is hearing the call of every PRIDE fanboy on the internet and is bringing back tournaments:

Scott Coker, who promoted numerous tournaments when he helped promote K-1 kickboxing shows, will stage a four-man tournament to determine the No. 1 challenger for the Strikeforce middleweight title on Nov. 16 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

Coker said he has signed Joe Riggs (27-9) and Niko Vitale (24-7) to compete in the tournament and is working on landing two others.

“It is my hope that the winner can fight Frank, and I’ve talked with him about that,” Coker said.

Coker said Strikeforce plans to use the tournament format extensively going forward. He said he plans to have tournaments for the heavyweight and lightweight titles sometime in 2008.

I’ve always been a fan of tournaments … sure they often create unfair finals between a fresh fighter and an exhausted fighter. And sure, it’s easy to skew the results however you want by matching the guy you want to win against a pushover in the first round. But you just can’t beat the drama and excitement of having guys fight more than once over the night. Plus, it’s for the belt which means you get to see all of a promotion’s best fighters in one weight class over the night.

Of course, there’s some problems with Strikeforce’s plans. First, they’re crossing their fingers and hoping Frank Shamrock agrees to fight whoever wins. Frank already seems to have his mind made up that he wants to fight Renzo Gracie again in the spring, so given his slow schedule that might mean the winner of this tournament may be stuck twiddling his thumbs until this time next year. And that’s IF Frank Shamrock decides the winner is worthy of fighting him.

Second, because you’re stacking a card with all your top names in a weight class it’s gonna be a pretty expensive card. Plus you need to have decent depth across several weight classes in order to still have talent to fill your other cards with. Finally, you always run the risk of everyone injuring eachother and having some dude win the tournament by default. Tournaments are a wild and unpredictable thing … you never know what’s gonna happen. That’s why it’s great as a casual fan to see.

Me, I just hope the legitimacy of the tournament system isn’t smashed because Frank Shamrock doesn’t feel like fighting whoever wins.

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