(The inspiration for the IFL’s new ring design.)
This morning we got a spam e-mail from the IFL imploring us to buy presale tickets to “IFL Summer Throwdown,” which goes down August 15th at the IZOD Center in the Meadowlands, New Jersey. And just as we were about to hit the delete button, we saw this at the bottom:
The night will also feature the world debut of “The HEX,” the IFL’s brand new six-sided ring. This is the future fighting surface for all of MMA. To introduce this new era in fighting, the IFL Summer Throwdown fight card will present the most explosive Mixed Martial Arts action the East Coast has ever seen!
Ho. Lee. Shit.
Merriam-Webster defines “hex” as a “jinx” (in its noun form), or “to affect as if by an evil spell” (in its verb form), which is astoundingly appropriate considering how cursed the IFL is. This is their response to public disinterest? A six-sided ring!? As we saw last week, IFL CEO Jay Larkin believes that since MMA fans haven’t taken to their events, we all must be Affliction-wearing, Xyience-swilling jokers who care more about light shows and dancing girls than high-level mixed martial arts competition. (The rebuttal to that misguided viewpoint is long and complex, and is expressed in the analysis and comments in the original post.)
So, my first thought was wow, what an idiot. Doesn’t Larkin know that gimmicky ring surfaces are the tool of the desperate and creatively bereft? American MMA fans don’t respond well to the ring, so the answer is to give them a different, more fucked-up ring? Really?
But now I’m starting to think that the “HEX” is Larkin’s final “Kiss My Ass” to all of us.
A simple Google Image Search of “six-sided ring” revealed that the enclosure had been previously used by TNA Wrestling. Sure it’s silly, but professional wrestling fans have no problem with absurd spectacle. Maybe Larkin saw the six-sided ring on TNA, and thought, “you know what, I’m going to give these inbred hillbillies what they really want.” To me, that’s the implication: The IFL is showing us a shiny piece of metal in the hopes that we’ll giggle and clap our hands.
The question is, does anyone think this will actually work? When “Summer Throwdown” fails to generate any new fans (and turns off the relatively few fans the IFL currently has), is Larkin going to throw his hands up and say “Well that’s it, I’ve tried everything, who knows what these people want?” Or is this one of those suicidal public-flameout-type deals?
But hey, you gotta give them points for sheer chutzpah for calling the HEX “the future fighting surface for all of MMA.” Please — we all know that the future fighting surface for MMA is a bowl with a raised lip at the edge.
UPDATE: MMAWeekly reports that the HEX is being constructed by Throwdown Industries, the clothing/energy drink company that’s sponsoring “Summer Throwdown.” Athletes and coaches will have the opportunity to test the new ring prior to August 15th.