(It ain’t personal, baby. It’s strictly business.)
Despite Dana White’s love of criticizing every aspect of the IFL and citing them as a cautionary tale for MMA startups, it seems fighter contracts and an extensive video library are just too attractive for him to pass up. According to a report on MMA Payout, Zuffa is very close to buying the IFL.
The deal isn’t finalized, says Sam Caplan, but this is the most credible report thus far regarding the potential purchase of the IFL. The company was said to be on the market for around $1 million, but the UFC is believed to be getting it for less than that. Sources within the IFL could only confirm for us that the talks have been under way for some time now and the UFC is the leading suitor.
In case you’re wondering why the UFC would buy the company they spent so much time badmouthing, a clue could lie within Saturday’s “Silva vs. Irvin” fight card. The event features three former IFL fighters — Reese Andy, Rory Markham, and Brad Blackburn — whose entry into the Octagon was hastened by the UFC’s decision to put together an event to rival Affliction’s.
The UFC may be hoping to pick up some of the IFL’s better known stars, along with the video library to help promote them, in order to shore up their fighter roster before the likes of Jay Hieron, Chris Horodecki, Ryan Schultz, Jim Miller, and Roy Nelson (to name just a few) get snapped up by competitors like Affliction and Elite XC.