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Four IFL fighters fail to make weight for World Grand Prix

When IFL co-founder and commissioner Kurt Otto announced several months ago plans to hold the league’s first-ever World Grand Prix event to crown champions in each of its individual weight classes, it seemed like a great idea.

But in hindsight, it might have been asking too much, too soon. When the 2007 season began the WGP concept was not written into the contracts of the IFL’s fighters. Agreements had to be extended and it was later determined that fighters not committed to the league for 2008 would not be allowed to compete.

As a result, Ben Rothwell was removed from the heavyweight draw while Mike Whitehead was removed as a seed in the light heavyweight division. Antonio McKee was yanked from the welterweight division after he violated his contract and attempted to sign with the Brawl for it All promotion for an October event in San Francisco that ended up being canceled.

Injuries have also taken a toll on the field with top fighters such as heavyweight fighter Reese Andy and Andre Gusmao unable to compete.

The latest hurdle in the IFL’s attempt to put on a tournament featuring its top talent competing as individuals took place on Friday when four of 18 fighters involved in tonight’s card were unable to make weight.

According to The Fight Network, Delson Heleno, Gideon Ray, Donnie Liles, and Matt Horwich all failed to meet their contracted weights during weigh-ins.

Heleno, Ray, and Liles have all compromised the integrity of the promotion’s welterweight division by failing to make weight. Heleno and Ray will compete at a catch weight of 175 pounds while Jay Hieron has agreed to a seven-pound weight difference in order to face Liles at 177 lbs.

Liles and Ray were late replacements, with Liles being named to the tournament field within the last week while Heleno is a fixture in the IFL.

Horwich is also a veteran in the league but weight 187.5 pounds, or two and a half pounds over the middleweight division’s 185 lbs. limit. Brian Foster, Horwich’s opponent, still accepted the fight.

Below are the weigh-in results (according to The Fight Network) by matchup with my predictions:

Middleweight semifinal: Brent Beauparlant (185) vs. Benji Radach (186) – I’m picking Radach via TKO in the first round as he’s head and shoulders above anyone in the IFL’s middleweight division.

Lightweight semifinal: Bart Palaszewski (155.5) vs. Chris Horodecki (154) – This will be Palaszewski’s sixth fight this year while Horodecki has had to fight since June. I expect the fresher Horodecki to win via unanimous decision.


  • Jeremy says:

    Seemed like a great idea to begin with by the IFL but poor planning there after. It’s a shame all that has gone wrong with the GP as it was an extremely interesting event at one point. I am still going to watch but the excitement level has certainly dropped for me somewhat.

  • Evan says:

    Right there with you Jeremy. When I first heard about this I was very excited but every time I read about something afterwards my enthusiasm drops just a little more. I still can’t believe its only an hour.

  • mike wolfe says:

    Good grief. Two of the marquee fighters are yanked because of dubious contract disputes, several more can’t fight due to injuries, and some can’t even make weight. They should cancel the thing to avoid looking like second rate bush leaguers.

  • I think you guys are overreacting a little. Liles was added just a little while ago, Ray and Heleno agreed to the catch weight before the weigh-in, and Horwich could have dropped the extra pound and a half if he needed to, but Foster let him slide.

    Do you guys really care that much if a couple of guys missed weight? It hasn’t changed the fight card any.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Ben, while I think canceling the card as it was suggested was a little extreme, I do think there is a valid concern with the weights. These aren’t a bunch of regional fighters who are fighting on a small show in front of friends and family. It’s a big time show we’re talking about here and these guys are competing for titles in individual weight classes. It just seems odd that Deleno and Ray are fighting in a semifinal bout for the welterweight title when both guys are over 170 lbs.

  • Jeremy says:

    My biggest disappointment didn’t really have to do with the weights but the injuries(which I know they can’t help) and the contract issue they had. Those were interesting fights and fighters in each weight category that they lost. The weight issue I tend to agree with Sam’s feelings, Liles I can accept a little but the other guys should have gotten down to the weight.

    Does anyone know if there will be any kind of purse concession to say, Foster for allowing the fight to still happen?

  • Sam, I see your point, but what do you want the IFL to do? Not let them fight? Weight classes are fairly arbitrary anyway, so if Heleno and Ray are two pounds apart and don’t have a problem with it, why should we?

    As for the purse concession, usually there is one. I don’t know the details or if it’s happening in this case, but usually the guy who makes the weight gets a cut of the money from the guy who doesn’t.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Ben, the IFL should still let Ray and Heleno fight but it should be in a non-tournament match. The tournament is for the welterweight (170 lbs.) title. Not a catch weight title. If Hieron was the only guy who showed up ready to fight then he should be awarded the title or a suitable challenger should be sought up to fight him in the final on Dec. 29.

    The weight classes are arbitrary to put a cap on how much the fighters can weigh within a class. If Heleno and Ray aren’t interested in adhering to 170 lbs., then why sign to fight in welterweight matches? There’s always the middleweight division.

    Allowing these guys to get away with missing weight sets a bad precedent. Why should a fighter bust his ass to cut weight if he feels like he can get away with only a wrist slap? That’s why we should care. It sends a bad message and compromises the integrity of the weight classes.

    This is the start of the most important event in thus far in IFL history thus far and it’s disrespectful to everyone who works hard in the organization for Ray and Heleno to come in overweight in light of all the changes that have already happened to the field.


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