Jay Larkin Talks IFL/EliteXC

June 6, 2008

The ratings from EliteXC’s network debut on CBS seem to indicate the sport passed its profitability test with flying colors.

Since the business of broadcasting is often a game of imitation and spin-off, fans of the sport should be the beneficiaries. All of those channels too afraid to test the waters in regard to MMA programming could now dive in head first.

The real race is between content distributors and content providers to decide who will pair up with whom.

One group looking for a dance partner is the International Fight League.

In his last conference call with the media, the groups CEO, Jay Larkin, told reporters the league was for sale and that they were actively pursuing partnerships with other organizations.

In this interview with MMAPayout.com Larkin discusses a wide range of topics from a possible Kimbo Slice/ Roy Nelson fight, to the WWE’s interest in mixed martial arts.

The league broke into the sport with an unpopular team format, which they have since dropped, though even some MMA hardcore fans still think the league is filled with Silverbacks and Pitbulls.

Despite some very exciting fights featuring their cast of talented fighters including Wagnney Fabiano, Roy Nelson and Ryan Schultz, the league has yet to catch on with MMA fans old or new.
The key points are summarized below, however, the entire 24-minute interview is available for download.

Here’s what Jay Larkin had to say (paraphrased from the interview:

  • The fights were “crap.”
  • A lot of buzz from TV networks about bringing more MMA to network television.
  • Even though the fights were awful and the show ran over, it was still a success because of ratings.
  • Feels there is still reticence about the blood being spilled during the shows.
  • Conversations with TV networks and sponsors are on-going.
  • Conversations between Larkin and EliteXC President Gary Shaw did actually take place, but Roy Nelson/ Kimbo Slice were not specifically talked about.
  • Nelson/ Kimbo came about because Nelson called out Kimbo before the fight.
  • After Kimbo’s performance, Shaw probably would not put Kimbo in a cage or a ring with Roy Nelson for any reason or any amount of money.
  • Fans probably won’t be willing to pay for a Kimbo PPV, but is a good draw on free or cable TV.
  • Kimbo is probably the biggest draw in MMA.
  • The IFL will continue to follow its philosophy of using “rising star” fighters, as opposed to promotions like Affliction who are spending big money on big names.
  • Since the CBS show, the IFL has received a number of offers from potential partners or buyers.
  • The IFL is looking to do more than just raise capital. The best thing for the IFL would be to consolidate with another fight promotion, or to team up with a media company interested in adding MMA to their menu.
  • Rumor is Vince McMahon is not an MMA fan, but Shane McMahon is. However, rumor is at this point the WWE has decided not to enter the sport.
  • The original planning for the upcoming NJ fight card, was looking to craft an ethnic based fight card, like the world of boxing, hoping to draw the Russian and Polish communities, but that style of card fell through due to lack of talent.
  • The IFL will largely concentrate its live event presence along the eastern seaboard, using its strategic domestic and international broadcast partnerships to reach an international audience.

The entire audio interview with Jay Larkin is posted for download.

All audio interviews posted on MMAPayout.com are the sole property of Andrew Falzon and may not be rebroadcast, retransmitted or reposted without the express consent of Andrew Falzon.

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