Tuesday’s announcement that UFC’s primary competitor in the Mixed Martial Arts sphere, EliteXC was declaring bankruptcy, is being called “the MMA version of the Death Of WCW” by Figure 4 Weekly’s Bryan Alvarez. Unlike the former Time-Warner sports entertainment property, Elite XC’s unraveling had much to do with one man’s refusal to follow a storyline, if we’re to believe the charges of Icon Sports’ T. Jay Thompson.
Thompson, who sold his company to EliteXC a year ago, tells MMA Weekly’s Tom Hamelin that viewers who found Seth Petruzelli’s demolition of the heavily favored Kimbo Slice so thrilling oughta know the former was employed to take a punch, not deliver one. He’d also like you to know that Santa Claus doesn’t exist and there’s no afterlife, either.
œI was there cageside and watched the whole thing happen, he said. œI 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 (above). Watching Jared Shaw jumping up and down and screaming as a representative of the company, I think was disgusting and embarrassing.
Almost as quickly as Heat was over, the Oct. 4 show was mired in controversy over comments Petruzelli made to an Orlando radio show. During his interview, Petruzelli implied that EliteXC officials had attempted to influence the outcome of the fight. Subsequent outcry from fans and media caused the Florida State Boxing Commission to open an investigation, another reason Thompson believes CBS pulled out of talks with EliteXC.
œI don™t have a smoking gun, (but) I™ve been around long enough; I™ve talked to enough people that were there, I won™t name names of executives in the company that I know. Seth was paid to stand up. I™m confident of that. If the commission wants to talk to me, I™ll tell them what I know.
Thompson believes his company and other MMA promotions under the ProElite banner are destined to languish in bankruptcy court, along with EliteXC™s fighter contracts. On Tuesday, he will meet with his lawyers to determine whether it™s possible to free Icon Sport from its parent company. He™s not overly optimistic.
œ(The promotions are) there for creditors to go after, really, he said.
As a promoter, Thompson says he™s made hundreds of mistakes in his 15-year career. Elite™s size and visibility did not give them that luxury.
œWhen things are going good, anyone can promote a show, he said. œKimbo Slice knocking someone out, it™s pretty easy to get good ratings. It™s when crises happen that you earn your money as a promoter. It isn™t an exact science. The people that have been at the helm of EliteXC didn™t have the years of experience that are needed to promote MMA shows.