Monday, March 5, 2007

Haber combat series takes on UFC

Alfred Haber Distribution International (AHDI) in the US has paired up with a team-based mixed martial arts professional league, formed to compete with the likes of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The distributor has acquired rights, excluding Latin America and the Middle East, to the International Fight League's new late-night series IFL Fight Night and primetime series IFL Battleground.

IFL Fight Night (22x60'), a late-night event series that showcases five fights between two teams, originally premiered on the Fox Sports Network in the US on February 23.

IFL Battleground (22x120') offers a behind-the-scenes look at the IFL with action footage of the sport's rising stars and their coaches. The series, set to air in the US in a primetime slot on MyNetworkTV from March 12, also includes highlights and vignettes.

According to AHDI founder Alfred Haber, the IFL's move to capitalise on the worldwide popularity of mixed martial arts involves making the sport more mainstream. This has been achieved by replacing the traditional cage – known as the Octagon in UFC circles – with an oversized boxing ring, as well as replacing many of the moves that emphasise "blood over strategy and athleticism."

Commenting on his decision to join IFL's corner, Haber said: "Over the last few years, the growth rate of mixed martial arts has been nothing less than phenomenal. With the IFL coming on the scene at this juncture, with its team-based format, the Fox Sports combat series and the primetime network Battleground presentation, it all combines to create explosive television for broadcasters around the world."


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