Legendary sports and entertainment producer Jay Larkin, award-winning directors
Craig Janoff and Darren Ewing to oversee on-air and in-arena presentation of the
World’s First Professional Mixed Martial Arts league
NEW YORK – The International Fight League (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world’s first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, today announced the hiring of three of the most well-respected and highly talented professionals in sports and entertainment to produce and oversee all of the league’s television ventures, including its Friday night shows on FSN and the upcoming “IFL Battleground” program on MyNetworkTV which will launch nationally on Monday night, March 12.
The group is led by longtime television executive, event producer and boxing matchmaker Jay Larkin, who joins the IFL as executive producer. Larkin will work with the IFL on strategic television, business, promotion, and venue opportunities. Jay will be joined by Emmy-Award winning director Craig Janoff, and accomplished reality and documentary director Darren Ewing.
“We are elated that we have been able to put together such a well respected, creative and experienced team to manage the production of our television properties,” said IFL co-founder and CEO Gareb Shamus. “The product we will be able to create and deliver to both the FSN and MyNetworkTV audiences will put both our brand and the sport of MMA in a whole new light and will appeal to both long-time fans and new converts to the sport.”
Larkin spent more than 20 years at media giant Showtime, rising to become one of the most powerful deal makers in sports and entertainment during his storied career. He began at Showtime in 1984, and helped create some of the channel’s greatest entertainment specials involving legends ranging from Dave Chappelle and Jay-Z to Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones, among others.
During that time, the Brooklyn native also oversaw the channel’s growth in boxing, beginning in 1986 with Marvelous Marvin Hagler's middleweight title defense against John Mugabi. He negotiated the deals and helped create some of boxing’s most legendary matchups of the last quarter century, including numerous Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Julio Cesar Chavez fights. He also was one of the key negotiators for the biggest money fight in history, the 2002 heavyweight championship bout between Lennox Lewis and Tyson that happened because of a landmark deal between Showtime (Tyson's network) and rival HBO (Lewis' network).
Janoff has been a television sports director for more than 25 years. His directing career includes such notable events as the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics, the 1984 Summer Olympics, NCAA Basketball and Football (1986-89), Monday Night Baseball, Baseball League Championship Series and World Series (1987, 1989), Triple Crown Horse Racing (1986-89, 1996-present) and the Rose Bowl (1997). He has also done seven boxing events for FSN.
He was director of ABC’s Monday Night Football from 1988 through 1999. He directed the television coverage of the Super Bowl in 1991 and 1995 and has won 10 Emmy awards, including one for journalism for his coverage of the earthquake that rocked the 1989 World Series, and one for technical achievement for his use of the "Helmet Cam" during football games.
Ewing is one of the most accomplished directors in reality television and documentary film. His credits include a host of series for broadcast and cable television, including Manhunt (Bravo), The High Life (NBC), My Life is A Sitcom (ABC Family), Last Comic Standing (NBC), The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency (Oxygen) and The Osbournes (MTV); “24” (Fox) and “House” (Fox), as well as several documentary films such as Forces of the Wild and Hall of Ramses.
The IFL will debut its run of 22 two-hour “IFL Battleground” shows on Monday, March 12, at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 7 p.m. Central time on MyNetworkTV, which can be seen in over 100 million homes across the United States. The shows will feature both bout action and take the fans behind the scenes with the athletes and their world-class coaches as they compete against the best in the world’s fastest growing sport, professional Mixed Martial Arts. The IFL will also broadcast 22 one-hour shows on FSN, Friday nights at 11:00 in most markets, featuring all bout action in a select team vs. team matchup.
Each of the nine regular season IFL events consists 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 is 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.
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 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: www.ifl.tv.