While it’s not officially a “Bring the Pain” MMA future stars interview, I have a new Q&A article with IFL lightweight fighter Shad Lierley available at MMAjunkie.com. Lierley is definitely good enough to be spotlighted in the “Bring the Pain” series because if there was an award for MMA rookie of the year, Lierley would get my vote.
Many you might be familiar with Lierley following his stunning June match vs. Chris Horodecki at the IFL’s show in Everett, Wash. Lierley lost via unanimous decision but he boosted his stock tenfold by participating in what was probably the greatest match in IFL history and one of the best matches of 2007.
Lierley, who has a strong wrestling background showed tremendous striking skills vs. Horodecki. He’s well on his way towards becoming a complete fighter and will be a force to be reckoned with.
He’ll be a big part of the IFL’s future but I was curious to learn during my interview with him that he’s currently not signed with the promotion past the 2007 season:
Sam Caplan: So with the way things are structured now, you’re scheduled to become a free agent after the current season and you’ll be able to negotiate with any promotion that you’d want to?
Shad Lierley: Yes, that’s correct.
Sam Caplan: Well, that leads into my next question. The IFL prides itself as being a strong alternative to the UFC, yet a lot of people view it as a notch below the UFC from a competitive standpoint. Do you see the IFL as a longterm home for you or is the UFC your longterm goal?
Shad Lierley: Right now I feel like the IFL is growing; it’s getting really big. As far television and exposure, the IFL is definitely on par with the UFC. It’s really a great promotion. I’m definitely sticking with the IFL right now. If something comes up in the future then I don’t know but right now I’m definitely looking to stick with the IFL.
Lierley is being a model employee with his comments but I can’t help but wonder if some other promotions might make a run at him.The UFC’s 155 pound division is loaded right now so I’m not sure they’d get into a bidding war for him. However, I think he’d be a perfect fit for EliteXC. The kid has a good look, is smart and articulate, and can fight. He’s only going to be better.
To read the entire interview in which I ask Shad about his feelings about being excluded from the IFL WGP, how IFL contracts are structured, the current state of the IFL, and much more, just click here.