October 21, 2008
EliteXC is done. It suffered the same fate as the International Fight League and BodogFighting. A too much, too soon approach buried the company which reportedly had lost $55 million in just 22 months of operation.
Things didn't look so bleak three weeks ago. The company was struggling but it appeared an infusion of dollars was coming from Showtime or network television. It was pushed into the coffin by some shady dealings around the main event between Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock. Shamrock had to withdraw from the fight hours before the show was set to go live on CBS. In stepped no-name Seth Petruzelli and down went the company's big meal ticket Kimbo Slice in 14 seconds.
EliteXC did lots of things incorrectly so there is no single person to blame. You can point a finger at Petruzelli though. Had he said nothing of the pre-fight nonsense on an Orlando radio show that he was paid to stand and trade with Kimbo, a limited fighter with little ground experience, maybe EliteXC gets a stronger financial backer and CBS stays on board.
“I was there cageside and watched the whole thing happen,” T.J. Thompson told MMA Weekly. “I think (CBS) got cold feet watching. The way the Ken Shamrock pullout was handled, all the way from the beginning to the end with Seth Petruzelli. Watching Jared Shaw jumping up and down and screaming as a representative of the company, I think (it) was disgusting and embarrassing.”
It appears the company's philosophy and current leadership was bound to run the thing into the ground eventually. That said, it's not a happy day that there's one less major MMA promotion. The lesser known fighters will descend to smaller local promotions but now what happens to some of the bigger names? Can they find a suitor and make a solid living?
Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler, Antonio Silva, Pee Wee Herman, Nick Diaz, KJ Noons, Joe Villasenor, Ninja Rua and Eddie Alvarez are all good fighters who shouldn't be relegated to small local shows. Kimbo and Gina Carano still have massive potential to make money for promoters. We'll see if UFC or Affliction steps in to scoop up any of these fighters. One name left off the list is Tito Ortiz. The former UFC light heavyweight champ looks to be running out of options quickly.
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