(Tiffany Fallon and Bas: Best Friends 4-Eva!!)
The IFL held a media conference call this afternoon to announce that Bas Rutten would be taking the newly created position of Vice President, Fighter Operations (the press release is here). We only caught the first few minutes of the call before they started having technical difficulties — after which we tried calling back again, heard nothing, then gave up when the delivery guy came with lunch — but here’s what we gathered:
— Rutten’s duties will include “identifying talent, and working to get the best matchups possible.” He will report directly to IFL CEO Jay Larkin. Said Larkin, “For us to be successful, we need an icon in that leadership position.”
— Rutten will still work as the color commentator on IFL Battleground, and will remain the co-host of HDNet’s Inside MMA.
— Larkin reiterated the IFL’s geographical approach in 2008, stating that rather than hold each event in a different city (which sucked up marketing dollars that weren’t being reflected in ticket sales), the league would focus on the markets where they’ve had the greatest success.
— The second event in the IFL’s 2008 season will take place April 4th at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and will feature title defenses by Wagnney Fabiano (featherweight), Jay Hieron (welterweight), and Vladimir Matyushenko (light heavyweight). Details on the first event are here.
— Bas defended the IFL’s banning of elbow strikes, saying that while he’s only seen about five fighters who’ve ever been knocked out by elbow strikes, the use of elbows create cuts that lead to early stoppages. “It’s a cheat,” he said.
— Total MMA asked Jay Larkin to respond to claims made by Roy Nelson in our interview that the IFL treats fighters unfairly. We thank them for that. Larkin called the claims “inaccurate,” stating that the IFL’s fighters still get medical coverage and other benefits, though the pay structure needed to be changed somewhat. Conveniently, that’s when things went FUBAR, but the complete audio recording from the call can be downloaded here.