MMA 101 (cont.)
Posted: Friday July 6, 2007 12:25PM; Updated: Friday July 6, 2007 4:53PM
IFL is a publicly owned MMA company which features a unique team concept as its hook. The promotion features teams of five fighters which represent various cities. Each team has a coach and many are major names. Those teams compete for the IFL team championship, which will be decided at the end of the 2007 season. IFL runs shows Monday nights on My Network TV, featuring fighter profiles and past fights. The challenge, going forward, is selling the team concept in a sport that has always been sold on stars.
Strikeforce is an MMA promotion based out of San Jose, which has put more of an emphasis than most MMA organizations on running in the black. It has primarily concentrated on shows for the San Jose market, building around local stars such as Frank Shamrock, Daniel Puder and Cung Le. Strikeforce recently ran its most ambitious show in conjunction with EXC on pay-per-view. Shamrock defeated Phil Baroni in an exciting main event.
The top MMA promotion run out of the United Kingdom, Cage Rage brings in stars from around the world to its events. The promotion has most of its clearance in Europe and has run over 20 events. Cage Rage features a mix of British stars such as James Thompson, Mark Weir and Ian Freeman; and foreign stars including Vitor Belfort, Butterbean and Shaolin Ribeiro.
Formerly known as Superbrawl, Icon runs shows out of Hawaii. Much like Cage Rage, the promotion mixes local stars such as Cabbage Correira and Renato Verissimo with UFC veterans like Robbie Lawler and Frank Trigg.
Shooto is a small Japanese MMA organization that serves as a breeding ground for smaller Japanese fighters. The promotion runs frequently and provides experience for fighters on the rise. Most of Japan's top light-weight fighters have competed at one point for Shooto, including Tatsuya Kawajiri, Hayato Sakurai and Shinya Aoki.
Pancrase is one of the original mixed martial arts companies and was a starting point for major stars such as Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock and Bas Rutten. The promotion isn't a major factor now, but does feature many rising Japanese fighters.