One of the big problems with the IFL’s format is that mixed martial arts is a bit more physically demanding than your average league sport. When you’ve got two guys beating eachother up, injuries are gonna happen and they’re going to happen often. Let’s just take a look at the IFL finalist Pitbulls team: their regular heavyweight Bryan Vetell is injured, and now their replacement heavyweight Tom Sauer is also injured. Word is Renzo Gracie wanted light heavyweight alternate Jamal Patterson to step up a weight class but that was nixed by the Florida Athletic Commission. The result: The IFL has brought in former UFC champion Ricco Rodriguez as a ringer.
When looked at in the context of a fight, this is pretty exciting news. The original team matchup would have resulted in Bryan Vetell vs Ben Rothwell, not that hot of a ticket. But Ricco Rodriguez vs Ben Rothwell is a much more interesting matchup … Ben is one of the top dogs in the IFL and many people are excited to see how he fares against ‘major league’ competition. Heh.
But when looked at in the context of, oh I dunno … a fight league, this is some pretty fucked up shit. Honestly, I don’t know enough about the IFL’s stupid rules and procedures to know if this is technically ‘unfair’. But it sure seems unfair to the Silverbacks that at the last minute one of the Pitbulls gets replaced with a former heavyweight champion. If the Pitbulls win because of Ricco, will there be any controversy? Well, maybe there would be if anyone actually gave a shit about the IFL. For me, this is just another example of why the league format is stupid.