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Stupid is as stupid does: IFL drops Rothwell from Grand Prix

October 9, 2007


Sam Caplan reports on Five Ounces of Pain and his new blog at that Ben Rothwell and Mike Whitehead have been pulled from the International Fight League’s Nov. 3 World Grand Prix event.

Apparently, the IFL won’t let Rothwell and Whitehead fight because they have not signed contracts for the 2008 season. The reasoning, according to Caplan, is that the IFL doesn’t want either fighter to win a title and not be able to defend it next season.

I think the IFL is shooting itself in the foot here. But then what would you expect from an organization that always seems to take one step forward and two steps back?

Rothwell is one of the few recognizable names on the IFL roster. He is undefeated in the IFL and most recently beat former UFC heavyweight champ Ricco Rodriguez at the IFL’s championship event. It’s understandable that Rothwell would want to test the waters and see if he can garner a better contract with another organization.

What’s not understandable is why the IFL would get rid of one of the few draws on its very important, first-ever, live televised event.

So what if Rothwell jumps ship and can’t defend the title next year?

The IFL Grand Prix title is unlike titles in other organizations.

For instance, if a fighter wins the Grand Prix title, he’d have to go through five or six regular season and playoff matches next year before he can defend in the 2008 Grand Prix. There’s a chance he might have one or two losses by that time.

The IFL’s World Grand Prix is the league’s showcase event but I think it is going to be a joke if you don’t let Rothwell compete. It makes the IFL look cheap and petty, much like the UFC does when it puts a fighter like Andre Arlovski in cold storage because he hasn’t negotiated a new contract.

Unlike the IFL, the UFC can afford to do this.

With the IFL struggling for its survival, it just doesn’t make sense to diminish the one event that could give the league some much needed momentum heading into the 2008 season.

Rothwell has been a good soldier and spokesman for the IFL. He deserves better than this slap in the face. He has arguably done as much for the IFL, as the IFL has done for him. Ben Fowlkes at The Fighting Life has Rothwell’s side of it.

The IFL needs to realize that at this point in its existence, it’s a developmental league for other organizations. That’s not a bad thing. The team-oriented league should take it as a feather in its cap that fighters like Rothwell might be in line for more lucrative deals. It gives the IFL credibility and will certainly help it attract the best up-and-coming talent by showing potential recruits that the league nurtures talent and helps fighters take the next step in their career.

Some day, the IFL may be able to afford to keep its stars and become a league of stars, itself. But it won’t be around that long if it doesn’t start making better decisions than this.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2009 8:23 am

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  2. April 24, 2009 7:25 am

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