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IFL and Bodog on Brink of Extinction; UFC Keeps Stacking That Paper

(The Fertitta brothers, preparing to order something expensive.)

The poor get poorer while the rich land on the cover of Forbes: Financial stability was a recurring theme in MMA this week, as two prominent leagues face death while another cemented its place at the top. First the bad news…

— The IFL filed their 10k SEC report on Tuesday, and things are looking grim. Since the league was founded in January 2006, it has suffered losses of $31 million. Last year’s revenues weren’t nearly enough the make up for the $15.9 million it spent on events; notably, the IFL only took in $498,000 in sponsorship revenue and $117,544 in branded merchandise sales in 2007. At this rate, the company won’t be able to survive past the third quarter of the 2008 fiscal year, and due to their continued losses, the IFL’s auditors have included a paragraph in their financial statements questioning their financial viability, which will make it even harder for the IFL to secure the additional financing it needs to sustain operations. As the report says, “If revenues grow slower than we anticipate, or if operating expenses exceed our expectations or cannot be adjusted accordingly, we may not achieve profitability and the value of your investment could decline significantly.”

An earlier rumor that BodogFight was near death gained more traction yesterday with MMAWeekly’s report that the Bodog subsidiary may be ceasing operations next week. The company lost a reported $38 million in 2007, and hasn’t announced any more events since it sponsored a Las Vegas Tuff-N-Uff show in February. From the article:

Asked if the company was folding, one executive who declined to be named told, “I can neither confirm or deny that.”

When asked what Bodog Fight was currently working on, the executive responded, “I’m sitting in an empty office.”

Of course, in the land of the Octagon, it’s all champagne and caviar…


Gone, Baby, Gone: Hard Luck and Fast Money at the IFL World Grand Prix

The morning after he wagered his hopes on the Indian Casino Roulette Wheel of Fate — and lost — Chris Horodecki sat silently in the center of the Octogon, drinking from a gallon of water and trying to avoid the glances of the patrons around him, some who recognized him as the formerly undefeated IFL lightweight star, some who were just wondering what in hell happened to that boy’s eye? The Octogon, in this case, was the name of the restaurant connected to the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa in Groton, CT, where most of the fighters slept after competing in the World Grand Prix at the Mohegan Sun Arena, a much flashier joint 20 minutes away. The restaurant’s name was more than a little ironic. On a night when most fight fans were focused on UFC 79’s marquee matchups, and most other sports fans were glued to the Pats/Giants NFL simulcast, the IFL’s hungry, scrappy fighters were doing their best to carve out their own place in the MMA universe. And even in their own budget-friendly, off-the-strip hotel, they couldn’t escape the ubiquity of the Eight-Sided-Shape.

Not to say that the Mystic Marriott wasn’t welcoming. There were a couple of signs in the lobby plugging the event. Unfortunately, they were a bit outdated:


Shad Lierley, of course, was Horodecki’s second scheduled opponent for the championship match-up, after Waggney Fabiano dropped to featherweight, before Lierley was injured and replaced by John Gunderson, and before Gunderson himself was injured and replaced by Ryan Schultz, who nobody was giving a chance to win the fight. I imagine Horodecki walking past the sign on the way to breakfast the morning after and cursing those motherfuckers who couldn’t stay healthy. Because only a true underdog like Schultz could have come away with the kind of fluke victory he had last night. That’s the way life works. You cover all your bets, and the ball lands on green double-zero. Chaos rules.