International Fight League, Inc. (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world’s first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, today reached another milestone in its early history, becoming one of a handful of professional sports entities to be traded as a public company. Effective today, the IFL begins trading on the over the counter bulletin board under the symbol “IFLI.”
“This is a landmark day for all fight sports, ranging from Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) to professional boxing,” said IFL CEO Gareb Shamus. “As a publicly traded sports entity, the IFL will be able to help the sport grow beyond its current boundaries and move into the mainstream with both fans and business partners. MMA has seen some significant growth in the last few years, from the emergence of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on Spike TV to increasing ratings and attendance numbers, and we expect our model to add to that success in this new expanded international sports marketplace.”
“For a long time, champions of the sport like Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock, Renzo Gracie, Matt Lindland, Bas Rutten, Antonio Inoki and Pat Miletich have never been able to achieve the renown in the mainstream that they have long sought,” said IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto. “By becoming a public company and having them part of the IFL, we feel that not only these legends, but the next wave of athletes, will get more of what they work for and deserve in terms of recognition. It’s a great day for all fans, business partners and competitors in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.”
The IFL, which began less than eight months ago with the IFL “Legends Championship” at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey has already experienced success on every level. Early developments have included:
A deal with Fox Sports Net (FSN) to cover the initial IFL events that grew from three hours in the spring to 10 hours in the fall and pulled in millions of viewers.
Initial business partners such as Microsoft’s XBox, Suzuki, Dale and Thomas Popcorn, Coca Cola’s Vault brand and Sandal’s Resorts.
Attendance at events in Atlantic City, Portland, Oregon and Moline, Illinois exceeded original projections.
The attendance at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut for the “World Team Championship” final on Friday December 29 is also expected to be near-capacity.
The League will very soon announce its 11 date schedule for its 2007 regular season, and will begin 2007 with a 12 team field representing 10 United States cities (including four teams in California, two in Illinois and others) Toronto, Ontario and Tokyo, Japan. The League plans further expansion to include additional teams from around the globe.
Each of the nine regular season IFL events will consist of four teams – each with an athlete in all five weight classes competing – along with a special Superfight, for a minimum of 11 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 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, each designed to create the most compelling in-arena experience for local fans.
All events will be subject to the rules and approval of the applicable state athletic commission. The scoring system is similar to professional boxing as well. However, in the event of a draw, a fourth round will take place to decide a winner.
The four IFL regular season teams with the best records will move on to the IFL semi-finals expected to be in early August, 2007, with the first IFL Team Champion expected to be crowned in mid-September, 2007.
After receiving the requisite shareholder approval at Monday’s special meeting of Paligent, Inc. (OTC.BB: PGNT) shareholders, the IFL completed its previously announced merger with Paligent, which was effective at 1:01 A.M. this morning. The merger became effective immediately after a 1-for-20 reverse stock split by Paligent. Immediately following the merger, Paligent changed its name to International Fight League, Inc. Shareholders of Paligent will continue to own their post-split shares, but will be entitled to receive new certificates representing the same number of IFL shares of common stock as the number of post-split Paligent shares they held, which will constitute approximately 5% of the outstanding stock of IFL. The holders of the pre-merger International Fight League, Inc. shares of common stock (including the converted Series A preferred stock) will be entitled to receive approximately 1.032373 shares of post-merger Paligent shares of common stock, which will constitute approximately 95% of the outstanding stock of IFL. Letters of transmittal will be sent to appropriate holders for them to receive their new shares.