(ESPN‘s Jim Rome lays into EliteXC at about the 5:20 mark.)
This thing isn’t going away quietly. In the wake of allegations that EliteXC offered Seth Petruzelli extra money to stand and bang with Kimbo Slice, Head of Operations Jeremy Lappen issued a formal statement defending the company’s actions and refuting any claims of impropriety, saying in part:
“Seth Petruzelli was offered a fee to fight Kimbo Slice, plus a knockout bonus, a common practice throughout the industry. EliteXC organizes and promotes fights. We have not…do not…and will not suggest or dictate fighters’ strategies or tactics. How the fighters perform in the cage is at the sole discretion of the athletes involved.
“The circumstances leading up to the Petruzelli/Slice fight were unusual. Ken Shamrock was declared medically ineligible less than three hours before the fight. As an organization, we made a decision to serve the paying audience in the arena and the prime time audience at home by delivering on a Kimbo Slice fight, which we had promised. This was done simply and solely with a standard fee and bonus offer to Petruzelli and by increasing the purse to Slice. Elite XC is grateful to both Seth and Kimbo for taking this fight against an opponent they didn’t train for and on such short notice.
He then goes on to trumpet Frank Shamrock‘s willingness to step in even though everyone knew it wasn’t a feasible offer (even Frank, one has to assume), touts the exciting and “diverse” night of fights, and mentions what great ratings it got.
Problem solved, right? I mean, all they did was offer the guy extra money to knock Kimbo out. They didn’t say that knockout had to be on the feet. And sure, they didn’t offer a submission bonus, but that’s only because they think submissions are boring. Nothing wrong with that…or is there? Well, yeah, there is actually. But don’t take our word for it.
Fortunately, Dana White spoke to the Boston Herald about it, and he’s not the type to mince expletives. I mean, words:
“It disgusts me,” White said. “I’ve been busting my (expletive) for 10 years flying all over the planet to show everybody what a great sport this is and what amazing people are involved in it. Then CBS throws this guy who fights at people’s barbecues on the main event because they’re trying to compete with us, and he gets knocked out in (14) seconds by a guy who didn’t win ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and couldn’t fight in the UFC. Then the guy turns around the next day and says, ‘The promoters actually paid me to not go to the ground with this guy. They paid me to stand up,’ which I’m pretty sure is illegal.”
“It put a nail in my coffin, too,” White said. “When dirty people go out and do stuff like that, it hurts. Promoters have a bad rap as it is because of the last 100 years of boxing. We actually started to turn that around and were doing the right things and then you have these guys coming out and doing (expletive) like that. It hurts us.”
See how he manages to blast EliteXC while at the same time couching his criticism in concern for the integrity of the sport? Not that his concern isn’t legitimate, but that’s a great job of killing two birds with one stone. Multi-tasking, if you will. Maybe producing this Irish Mob drama series while running the UFC at the same time won’t be so hard after all.