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Tag: Jay Larkin

Todd Beard Calls Quitsies

Todd Beard Affliction MMA
(Google Image Search result for “awful Beard.”)

Affliction put out a press release today announcing that loose-cannon/multiple-felon Todd Beard has left the building. Dig:

SEAL BEACH, Calif., Nov 14, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The board of directors of Affliction Inc. announced today that it received and accepted the resignation of Todd Beard as an employee of the company. Mr. Beard is one of the original founders of the clothing company based in Seal Beach, California. The resignation coincides with a public apology for comments made by Mr. Beard and directed toward Randy Couture and his wife Kim Couture regarding their business relationship.

Mr. Beard also disclosed that he will be seeking treatment for anger management and alcohol abuse.

According to Mr. Beard, “I would like to apologize for my comments that may have offended Kim and Randy Couture and Mr. Spira. I had a long-standing relationship with the Coutures and I was deeply and emotionally hurt by some of their recent business decisions. I have only the best of intentions for the success of the Affliction and Xtreme Couture clothing brands and understand that there are personal issues I must address.”


IFL Still Looking For Buyers, But Doing World’s Worst Sales Job

(Make an offer, but ring announcer Tim Hughes comes as part of the set.)

Even though the IFL has filed for bankruptcy and their best fighters have all signed on with other organizations, they are apparently still looking for a buyer who wants their video library badly enough to pay for it. Jay Larkin told Sherdog that when the UFC used some of their footage to hype former IFL fighters who had signed on with Zuffa, it wasn’t because the UFC had paid for the video, it was because the IFL was just “helping out.” It’s the least they could do, after all the help the UFC did for them.

But check Jay Larkin’s sales pitch when it comes to the IFL:

“You don’t always know what you got till it’s gone. There’s a lot of lessons to be learned,” said Larkin, a longtime boxing programming executive with Showtime. “One of the things I tried to do was do it in a more professional manner. The bottom line is, I feel MMA is a one-organization industry. I think UFC has done a spectacular job of branding, and UFC has become synonymous with MMA. And there’s a couple of hangers-on now. Wall Street’s having a hard time right now. I’d like to see MMA flourish but I’m very skeptical.”

In other words, please buy this stuff, but if you’re anyone other than the UFC, you’ll just be wasting your money.

I once went to Sears to buy a power drill and the stoned college kid working there responded to every one of my questions about various drills by telling me all the bad things about them, finally concluding that the one they had on sale “just generally kind of sucks.” I did not buy a drill that day. As sales strategies go, pessimism and ennui rank somewhere near the bottom. Larkin would do well to keep that in mind.


Jay Hieron Talks IFL Contract Status, Reacts to Jay Larkin’s “Gay Foreplay” Remarks

You know what the best part of this video is? It isn’t hearing IFL welterweight champ Jay Hieron do his best not to bash the IFL even though they canceled his next fight and yet aren’t allowing him to take another, though that is uncomfortable watch.

No, the best part is at the 1:54 mark when MMA Rated’s Ariel Helwani informs him of Jay Larkin’s comments comparing ground fighting to “gay foreplay”. The look on Hieron’s face at that moment, it’s priceless. He also goes on to say that he’s never met Larkin, which seems odd.

Hieron seems to be taking the whole IFL cancellation in stride, though I have to say I might be slightly more pissed off if my employer was keeping me from making a living. They aren’t giving him a fight in August, and also aren’t allowing him to look for other fights until after August. So basically they’re telling him to take the summer off, and if he doesn’t want to, then they’re forcing him to take the summer off. Nice.

Nothing like hanging out in fighter purgatory to make you wonder what happened to that organization that was supposed to be taking great care of their fighters.


Jay Larkin: What an Asshole

(Quit it, you homos!)

IFL CEO Jay Larkin is no stranger to making crybaby speeches when things aren’t going so well. But with the IFL canceling events until further notice, and with its publicly traded stock currently hovering at two fucking pennies (down from $17 per share in January 2007), it’s not going to get much worse than this, business-wise. Larkin knows it, which gives him the freedom to say whatever pops into his head, no matter how gross it makes him look.

Business magazine Portfolio just published a profile on IFL’s current tailspin, in which it revealed that the company is now on the auction block for a cool million. Here’s the third paragraph, which follows a description of a recent IFL fight, written in wildly purple prose:

Jay Larkin surveys the inaction with a weary, seen-it-all expression. “This isn’t my idea of fighting,” he says of the world’s fastest-growing spectator sport. “To me, two guys rolling around on the floor is tedious, like watching gay foreplay.”

Wow. And this guy runs an MMA league? He sounds like your average message-board troll. Later, presumably after a few more whisky-sodas, Larkin drops another gem:


IFL To Debut Fighting Surface of the Future (!!!)

six-sided ring
(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.


Quote of the Day: Jay Larkin Suicide Watch


From 411Mania via BloodyElbow. Behold, the lament of a broken man:

“The question it all comes down to for me is, is there a market for MMA? Now coming from the boxing world, when I first saw MMA I didn’t like it. I didn’t enjoy watching it. I found it boring and when it wasn’t boring I found it grotesque. Now what I had to do was learn about it. I had to learn more. I had to learn the moves, the players, the disciplines and the different camps and what they meant. The more I learned about it the more I found I enjoyed it and the more I could appreciate the strategies and I have found that for the most part, the fan base out there doesn’t have a clue. Not a clue what they’re seeing, not a clue what they’re watching and therefore they’re almost uniformly attracted to the UFC light show. The dancing girls, the music, the UFC brand and the spectacular job the UFC’s done in creating that brand…

I sincerely question whether or not there is a market place for legitimate MMA outside of the UFC. Now if you look at the card we had at the IZOD center that was spectacular. That was as good as MMA fighting ever gets and it didn’t make a blip on the radar screen. It was difficult selling tickets, the Monday morning reviews of the event were the fights were spectacular but the place wasn’t very full. What does one do to grow the audience? What does one do to sell tickets besides putting on the best show you could possibly put on? And when you put that show on and you still can’t sell tickets well then you have to ask yourself does the public want this? Do they really want fights? Do they want mixed martial arts? Do they want competition at the highest level of the sport? Or do they want to run around wearing their Affliction t-shirts and swigging Xyience. What is this really about? Is there really a fan base for this or is it a cult? And I’ll tell you, as truthfully as I can, I don’t know the answer.”

— Jay Larkin, CEO of the International Fight League

Well, first off, contempt for the audience will get you nowhere — and I’m not sure that the IFL’s fanbase has a smaller percentage of Affliction-wearing, Xyience-swilling meatheads than the UFC’s. Larkin may eventually be proven correct that there’s no mainstream market for MMA outside of the UFC, but I don’t think the failure of the IFL should be held up as proof of his thesis. I can’t speak for the general public, but as an MMA fan, I’ve been excited about recent fights held in the WEC, Strikeforce, EliteXC, and DREAM in a way that I’ve never really felt for matches held in the IFL. I get the sense that a lot of other MMA fans feel the same way, and for me, the reason is because the IFL never succeeded in promoting and building individual stars. EliteXC is Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano. WEC is Urijah Faber. Strikeforce is Frank Shamrock and Cung Le. The IFL, on the other hand, is a questionable camp system where no single fighter is given more attention then his legendary coach. Larkin seems to think that solid matchups between up-and-comers should have been enough to make his league marketable. Am I a fake MMA fan for thinking that personalities create interest, not just talent?

— Ben Goldstein