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Thursday, April 12, 2007
INTERNATIONAL FIGHT LEAGUE AND USA WRESTLING ENTER INTO STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP TO GROW AWARENESS OF MIXED MARTIAL ARTS AND USA WRESTLING PROGRAMS
Grassroots events programs and clinics, joint promotional opportunities part of initial focus
NEW YORK and COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 12, 2007 – The International Fight League (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world’s first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, and USA Wrestling, the National Governing Body for wrestling in the United States, today announced a strategic partnership between the two organizations aimed at increasing the awareness level and creating unique grassroots programs and branding opportunities for both groups.
“This is a great day for the IFL and for the sports of Mixed Martial Arts and wrestling,” said IFL Commissioner and Co-Founder Kurt Otto. “This partnership will give us the platform to reach a very passionate demo with one of the most respected National Governing Bodies. This cooperative program will help us further our mission to expose these great IFL athletes to a larger audience and show how they can use their wrestling skills as part of MMA.”
“USA Wrestling is proud to partner with the IFL in this project,” said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director. “Wrestling is a core discipline of MMA and many of the greatest athletes in the sport have a strong wrestling background. This will help us expose wrestling fans and athletes to a much larger audience and grow this Olympic sport by reaching an expanded audience.”
Currently no less than 30% of IFL coaches and athletes come from a wrestling background, many with international and college success. They include Olympic medalist Matt Lindland (Nebraska), two-time Olympian Dan Henderson, past national champion Don Frye (Arizona State) and current athletes Wayne Cole (Oklahoma), Jay Hieron (Nassau Community College and Hofstra University), Ryan McGivern (Iowa), Mike Whitehead (Missouri), Aaron Stark (Wisconsin), Ryan Schultz (Nebraska), Reese Andy (Wyoming), Shad Lierley (NYU) and others.
The partnership will include joint USA Wrestling/IFL clinics and information sessions featuring IFL athletes and coaches and USA Wrestling staff in strategic locations, beginning with the Fan Festival held alongside the USA Wrestling World Team Trials in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 9-10.
This event will determine the U.S. teams for the 2008 World Championships in the Olympic disciplines of men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and men’s Greco-Roman wrestling, as well as the newly recognized discipline of Grappling.
More details concerning the World Team Trials clinic will be published shortly.
Also in the planning process is a multimedia awareness campaign developed to promote both organizations as well as a discount program for USA Wrestling members to attend IFL events nationwide.
Each of the nine regular season IFL events will consist of four teams – each with an athlete in all five weight classes competing – for a minimum of 10 bouts per card. The team that wins the best three of five match setup will be declared the team winner for the match, similar to collegiate and high school wrestling dual meets. The IFL also differs from other MMA organizations in that the bouts are held in an oversized five-rope boxing ring with three, four-minute rounds, designed to create the most compelling in-arena experience for local fans.
Each of the 12 IFL teams for 2007 will compete in three regular season events; the teams with the top four overall win-loss team records will advance to the semi-finals, which will be held on Thursday, August 2, at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. The 2007 IFL Finals will then be held at The Forum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 15.
About USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for wrestling in the United States, and is a member organization of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the international wrestling federation FILA. USA Wrestling conducts events and programs for wrestling at all levels. Its membership includes athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and fans all across the nation.
About the IFL
International Fight League™ (IFL) is the world’s first professional mixed martial arts sports league. IFL has its headquarters in New York, NY and offices in Las Vegas, NV. For more information about IFL, please see: http://www.ifl.tv/.