Tuesday, October 21, 2008

EliteXC Is Dead

Well, it has finally happened. ProElite/EliteXC has closed up shop. The struggling promotion had lost upwards of $55 million, but in the end it seems an unlikely nemesis drove in the final nail. Showtime was working on a deal to purchase a majority stake in the company, which would have alleviated the financial concerns. According to MMA Junkie, Showtime changed their mind after the Seth Petruzelli controversy surfaced. So not only did Seth Petruzelli take out their biggest draw Kimbo Slice, he also managed to put ProElite/EliteXC out of business. Ken Shamrock also deserves some blame, because if it was not for his suspicious cut, Petruzelli would have never been in the main event. Although, booking Shamrock to headline a major show probably was not the best idea. He is not the most reliable fighter, as EliteXc found out.

The real culprits of EliteXC's demise are the executives who ran it into the ground. Yes, the controversy surrounding the Petruzelli incident probably was the last straw for Showtime. No, it was not the ultimate reason they died. As I have pointed out numerous times, EliteXC repeatedly made stupid mistakes. They never grasped what fans wanted. Instead they gave viewers a shoddy product that could never compare to the UFC.

Their biggest problem was they never understood how to form a fight card. Their top fighters routinely fought mediocre competition (Silva vs Eilers for the Heavyweight Title, Diaz vs Denny), which goes against the UFC branded philosophy of no easy fights. Like it or not, MMA formed with the UFC's influence. You cannot expect to pass off less than stellar match-ups and get away with it. Fans flocked to the sport because for many reasons, but one of the biggest is the notion that every fight matters. Any one can win on any given night. EliteXC broke the rule and paid the price.

The death of EliteXC should start a bidding war between the UFC and Affliction for the services of the defunct promotion's top fighters (also throw WEC in there under the UFC banner). This is part of the reason I was always hard on EliteXC. They had quite a bit of talent. They just never used it properly. Here is a list of some of the notable names who now find themselves without an employer:

Jake Shields
Nick Diaz
Robbie Lawler
Antonio Silva
Gina Carano
Kimbo Slice
Eddie Alvarez
Rafael Feijao
Wilson Reis
KJ Noons
Murilo Rua
Brett Rogers

The most intriguing names are Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Antonio Silva, Eddie Alvarez, Gina Carano, and of course Kimbo Slice. Diaz was already in talks to fight in Japan. It seems that will be his first stop. On GracieFighter.com, they claim Jake Shields going to the UFC is a "real possibility". The other four could conceivably land just about any where. Silva would be a solid addition to any promotion's lineup. He has some talent and it would be nice to see him face quality competition. Alvarez will not have trouble finding work, either. Carano and Kimbo are the toughest to predict. Women's MMA is still in its infancy and most promotions are not serious about it, most notably the UFC where Dana White basically treats it as a joke. Hopefully Affliction is not as closed minded and goes after her.

Last is Kimbo Slice. I find it hard to believe he will accept a low salary and fight for a small promotion. He could go to Japan, where they love novelty fighters. Affliction might be interested in his drawing power, as they get ready for their second PPV. Even the UFC is a possibility. Dana White has badmouthed him in the past, but it would not be the first time he changed his opinion when the wind blew in the other direction.

Another name not on the list is Tito Ortiz. He gushed at EliteXC's final CBS event that he was a week away from signing. I never believed it. EliteXC was in enough money trouble without adding his salary to the mix. Now he finds himself caught between the UFC, where he is hated, and Affliction, who have shown mild interest in his services. EliteXC's death hurts him more than the others because now there is a large market of free agent fighters. Affliction has more options and could decide to sign a few fighters for the price of Ortiz's salary. That would be the sensible and logical thing to do. I'd much rather have Alvarez, Rogers, and Reis than Tito. Even with those three, you would probably still save money.

14 comments:

gogoface said...

Best news in weeks!!! UFC and Affliction are gonna get stacked now.

Anonymous said...

Tito will come back to the UFC. I don't know if Affliction wants to sign him or not.

Anonymous said...

TITO will now end up on WWE as his crap now anyway!!!

Anonymous said...

lets see kimbo on the ultimate fughter, haha

Cornu said...

I really hope Tito doesn't come back to the UFC.

Dana should really consider female MMA. Gina is a huge talent and also lots of fans like to see her. (these are imo other fans than the kimbo fans)

There is indeed a huge list of talented fighters who are now without a contract. MMA is growing fast so i'm quite sure the most talented people will find a spot in another big organisation. (UFC, Japan and maybe Affliction, but Affliction needs to put on a great show at their 2nd event or they will lose even moren fans)

what do you think guys?

Cornu said...

one other thing, in the end it's not bad that we'll get rid of eliteXC...

mainstream fans of MMA would get the wrong perception of what this sport is really about.

they should watch UFC or some matches of strikeforce or afflication :)

Anonymous said...

"Carano and Kimbo are the toughest to predict. Women's MMA is still in its infancy and most promotions are not serious about it, most notably the UFC where Dana White basically treats it as a joke. Hopefully Affliction is not as closed minded and goes after her."

-Lol, this may not be PC, but in all honesty, women's MMA is a joke... so why would anyone treat it as anything more? This would be a politically correct sideshow and nothing more.

Rear Naked said...

Like it or not, Carano drew more viewers than any one else on EliteXC's last card.

Sally's Promotional Items said...

Gina Carano still has a job with American Gladiators I guess. She can still pass as a model too. :)

Cornu said...

exactly my point rear naked.

btw, plz confirm the comments faster, that makes discussions in the comments more easy for us.

Thnx!

Anonymous said...

"Like it or not, Carano drew more viewers than any one else on EliteXC's last card."

-How can you possibly know exactly WHY other people tuned in? ...I doubt that is true.

Rear Naked said...

"Based on the data available, the Carano vs. Kelly Kobold fight was the hit of the night, adding 950,000 viewers from the previous segment. That makes Carano two-for-two as the top ratings mover. Carano’s fight with Kaitlin Young on May 31 added 1,020,000 viewers." - Meltzer

Rear Naked said...

Comments will now appear immediately. I'll just look through them as they are posted and delete any spam.

Anonymous said...

"Based on the data available, the Carano vs. Kelly Kobold fight was the hit of the night, adding 950,000 viewers from the previous segment. That makes Carano two-for-two as the top ratings mover. Carano’s fight with Kaitlin Young on May 31 added 1,020,000 viewers." - Meltzer

-That just tells me how bad Elite-XC was, not how good Gina Carano is. Regardless, many people stop and stare [on tv or elsewhere] at car accidents, does that mean people like car accidents? No. In carnivals, the bearded lady was a popular 'freak' show; does that mean that people want to see more bearded ladies? No.

In the end, women's MMA, like car accidents and bearded ladies, are a curiosity... after that fades, then they are nothing more than overly hairy ladies.

By the way, Meltzer also wrote that the "Kimbo Slice loss to Seth Petruzelli ...the most watched part of the show;" does this make Kimbo a real mixed martial artist?

Of course not, he is another "curiosity" - a mean looking backyard brawler, but not a genuine mixed martial artist. In the end, Elite-XC had curiosities and little else and that contributed to their demise. If MMA is going to grow, the UFC should keep doing what it is doing, that is provide real fights with real MMA's - not curiosities in a cage.