The lyric to the old song goes "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose", and IFL President Jay Larkin seems to have taken that saying to heart. The IFL's lack of box office success seems to have given Jay peace of mind as he speaks freely about the state of MMA in this interview with 411mania's Lotfi Sariahmed:
On Dana White:The most recognizable figure in the UFC is Dana White. And that's a very bad statement for a sport and an industry when the frontman, or whatever he may be, the promoter, is more recognizable than any of the fighters.
On Working With Other Promoters:I have encountered very little encouragement in this industry about promoters working together. We're out there saying we're willing to work with anyone in this industry; we'll take on all comers. We'll promote with anyone and I've seen a lot promoters run for the hills at the mention of co-promoting.
On MMA As a Market:...is there a market for MMA? Now coming from the boxing world, when I first saw MMA I didn't like it. I didn't enjoy watching it........The more I learned about it the more I found I enjoyed it and the more I could appreciate the strategies and I have found that for the most part, the fan base out there doesn't have a clue. Not a clue what they're seeing, not a clue what they're watching and therefore they're almost uniformly attracted to the UFC light show. The dancing girls, the music, the UFC brand and the spectacular job the UFC's done in creating that brand.
Do they really want fights? Do they want mixed martial arts? Do they want competition at the highest level of the sport? Or do they want to run around wearing their Affliction t-shirts and swigging Xyience. What is this really about? Is there really a fan base for this or is it a cult?
On Gary Shaw and Elite's May 31st Card:Gary and Elite are doing exactly the right thing in putting their best product forward with more emphasis on the "sellability" then on the competitiveness of the bout. The idea is to get eyeballs to watch it and as I pointed out to you earlier, our card a few weeks ago was spectacular. It was as good as MMA gets. But if no one is watching it what difference does it make? We're talking to ourselves.
The entire interview is just a fascinating read. Odd to hear a MMA Exec give an interview and there is nary a bleep nor curse word in the whole thing.