In just a few short years the International Fight League went from ambitious concept to reality to demise.
At its best, the promotion helped reintroduce a group of veteran mixed martial arts pioneers to the new era of MMA fans, as well helped jumpstart the career of what would become some of the sport's best young fighters.
One of the promotion's first and most prominent figures was former King of Pancrase and Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder
Starring initially as the head coach of the Los Angeles Anacondas, Rutten then transitioned to a commentator role and ultimately ended up as Vice President of Fighter Operations, and shined with the usual El Guapo flair in each position.
Still, all things come to an end. As such, Rutten has been released from his contract with the company, and now he looks to transition to other things.
Speaking from his adoptive hometown of Los Angeles, Rutten spoke to MMAWeekly about his time in the IFL, his roles in the promotion, and what's coming down the pipeline for one of MMA's premier personalities.
I knew the company was struggling. I had gotten emails from people there that had been let go. "Thanks for the great time working together," and stuff like that. There was a hardcore group left, and once they started getting rid of those people, I knew the end was near. I was aware it was going to happen.
That opened doors to more things like the Inside MMA show that I'm doing with Kenny Rice. For me, definitely, I was having a lot of fun. They never put me on any leash, so to say, so I could do what I wanted and they let me be Bas.
It was so great; we had such a tight group. We went fishing in Mexico, had barbecues, and went to movies together. We had a lot of fun with those guys, and it showed. When the fighting wasn't that good, it was literally because we didn't hang out as a group. It was a great experience, we got to help build them into stars, because that's what they are right now, all of them.
Also, even when I knew those things, I never went to those guys and said things like, "You should go for his nose, his nose is broke," because I had some great insight, but I never used it, because I believe in karma. I think if you do that, it will all backfire on you.
There's nothing bad I can say about it. Working with
They know that I'm there in the best interest of the fighters. So my name can open a lot of doors. I can call somebody and get them for anybody, because I'm really there for them, it's not an act. If there was a problem with a certain guy or fighter, I'd pick up the phone and fix it. I was doing that pretty much already, behind doors closed doors so they say, but then I just started doing it in the open.
I love doing Inside MMA, and of course we have HDNet Fights, and they're doing Dream events, so I'm right back in Japan like I was before. The last Dream was a great show, and the next one is looking like a crazy show. They've asked me for some pro wrestling, maybe I'll do it. I'm working on a reality show right now. We've done some really funny stuff already that I think people will really like. Outside the house, how is El Guapo, and what goes on in his life?