($kala got yo’ eyeballs all up on EliteXC. Mission accomplished.)
With the recent news that ProElite has risen from its the ashes to make an offer on Strikeforce before Zuffa quashed them like the insignificant mosquito that they’ve always been known as, inquiring minds have begun asking who will be at the helm of the company’s latest incarnation.
One name you won’t see on any of ProElite’s offices is Jared Shaw.
The former EliteXC matchmaker who used to prefer to be known as his hip hop name $kala says he is done in the MMA business.
In a recent interview he did with Sherdog’s Jeff Sherwood, Shaw says he is concentrating on boxing and rapping and shed some light on the reasons he says ProElite and EliteXC collapsed.
Check out what Shaw had to say…
About what he’s been up to lately:
“I have a couple [boxers] I manage. I’ve been really busy in the studio with my music. As you all know, I’m the rapper ‘What’s his name?’ I’m happy to say I’m signed and you guys should be hearing from Jared Ryan Shaw very soon. I think realistically, [the CD will be out] the last quarter of 2011.”
About how he came to be involved with ProElite/EliteXC:
“I kind of wanted ownership of something myself. I don’t think the world will understand this because they look at it with one eye and I can understand how they look at it, but it’s a whole other thing to be the son of a big promoter and try to escape the shadow and not look like you have a silver spoon and look like you’re not capable of doing something. I thought mixed martial arts was probably more my place [than boxing] because of the fact that we’d been in the boxing platform but his name was so embedded, but I knew that the fight game was the fight game, promotion was promotion. As a promoter you know what you’re doing. So I’d been bothering him about it for a while and he really didn’t want to look at it. I had traveled out to, I think it was the Matt Hughes-Royce Gracie fight at Staples Center. It was one of Marc Ratner’s first fights with the UFC. Marc Ratner’s a very, very close family friend and he was able to get me tickets. I went there and I was amazed. I looked around and the place was completely sold out. It was the first live UFC event I had went to since…I can’t give you the exact date, but when Zab Judah fought Kostya Tszyu, that was our fight. The night before, the UFC was in there. This was back when they were in on Fridays. When they were doing the WWE-type pyro things. Back then they had [Carlos] Newton was the champ. The comparison was like shocking to me. I’m looking around and I’m looking at the seat ticket — and I’m in really good seats, like 18 rows up and I’m looking at the ticket and it says, ‘$750.’ I’m like, ‘Holy shit! This is here. This is it.’ So I called my pops…I was working for MGM at the time on the Rocky Balboa movie and I called him and told him to come to town. We met up and we ended up having a meeting with the other guys what would become ProElite and Ken Hirschman from Showtime and at the time a guy named Wallid Ismael — a great legendary fighter. Originally I was going to come in and Wallid wanted me to be his right hand man. Wallid was going to kind of like teach me and we went to the Anaheim fight where Hughes fought Penn. It ended up not working out with Wallid and they immediately asked Gary to become the president [of EliteXC] because Gary was an elite promoter and because he already had a strong relationship with Showtime and the money had already been funded for this new found company. So we went with it and everything was really done on the fly. It was really intended to be mine, never owned because it was a public company, but as far as presidency and league promoter, but how it kind of quickly transpired with the hiring of Jeremy Lappen and the acquisition of the Rumble on the Rock promotion, it didn’t really happen because you had guys who knew nothing about the mixed martial arts world in ProElite who were making all of the decisions for EliteXC. That was the problem.”
About what caused the company to collapse:
“You don’t have to like Jared or Gary Shaw, and no one says you do, but all you have to do is take a gander over at the boxing world and we’re a staple in it. We’re a staple in boxing, we’re always there and we always have champs. We obviously do well enough, so we have a strong company. There’s no reason why Gary Shaw and Jared Shaw should have failed in the MMA platform. Just because we didn’t know as many fighters as someone else. Dana White was a boxing guy. I don’t care who you are, you guys decided to learn MMA one day and become radio guys and web guys and MMA reporters. We all learned something at some point. The fact that we were a functioning business, that’s what we do. That’s not why we failed. We failed because we were a public company with people with double jobs. No joke. I can’t tell you how many presidents at that company had another job outside of ProElite and they’re going around buying Cage Rage, Rumble on the Rock and a million dollars to SpiritMC doing the stupidest deal I’ve ever seen with FEG and giving them money back afterwards. I was never in…you guys have to understand this. I can actually stand here and tell you on a lie detecter test that I have never once been in a public meeting or board meeting. I was not part of the board. I did not make one acquisition, nor was I ever asked my opinion on it. From time to time maybe Jeremy Lappen was, but we had no say. The only say I had was the fighters we signed and the matches I made. We were good promoters, that’s why the public will never understand that.”
About why he isn’t respected in the MMA world:
“I’m very much into good karma and I’m not sure that I should call out their names, but the TNT team, those guys were nobodies at the company. They didn’t have a voice, so what are they going to do? They’re going to take their chance now and take their potshots. Listen, fuckin’….I don’t go by ‘$kala’ anymore, I go by ‘Jared Ryan Shaw.’ I knew who $kala was….I knew who I was, but that was part of the genius that was able to get eyeballs fixated on whatever I wanted them fixated on — whatever I wanted them to do. Everyone in my company knew who I was. There are fighters you guys can talk to who will say that they love Jared Shaw and there are fighters who never met me who will say that I’m a douchebag. It’s just the nature of the game.”
About the deal that fell through that could have made EliteXC a major player:
“We got into negotiations with CBS to buy the company and there was definitely an agreeable deal back in July. There were people who came into ProElite at the time because we had some board changes at one time and they rejected the deal because they were trying to play the hand for no money and it blew up in our face. Kimbo lost and they didn’t need us, so be it. You have to understand, Kimbo Slice was what we put on a poster to start moving the company and to get a name with it and get us some recognition. He was drawing serious ratings. It wasn’t that he got knocked out and they were like, ‘Forget it. We don’t need this company.’ It’s that they knew that the company was already folding. They were buying it so they could keep everything together because with Kimbo, they knew there was something with value there. Once Kimbo was gone, they were like, ‘Why would we overpay to get this? We could just break up the company and still be with them and do whatever we want.’ To be honest with you, it was such a debacle that night and they had such a bad taste in their mouth, I’m not even sure they wanted to be in MMA after October 5. There were executives who grabbed me in the back locker room and told me that if I didn’t get this fight off, CBS was done with MMA and EliteXC was done. Imagine the pressure I was under.”
About the fight he wanted for Kimbo:
“This is why it gets interesting because everybody thinks Jared Shaw is the center of the bomb, but the reality is Jeremy Lappen and I hate each other. There was a lot of jockeying there for position, especially after Gary left. I’m not afraid to say Jeremy has no friends in this business for a reason. It’s not that I don’t like him as a person, I just don’t like him as a businessman. I didn’t want Ken Shamrock. I never wanted Ken. If you look back on all of the press, you’ll see that I really wanted Brett Rogers. Obviously I thought that Kimbo would win the fight, but listen world, I’m not Kimbo’s fan boy, I got caught up to my allegience to him because I was very close to that team. Whether Dana admits it or not, everybody’s got favorites. Everybody’s got guys who are good business for them and that’s kind of how that transpired. I’d spend weekends in Florida hanging out with that team because we were friends and they’re still my friends today. I wanted Rogers. I thught Kimbo would win, but even if he didn’t, I knew that Rogers was marketable. He was a big black guy with a mohawk who was a really mean motherfucker and he called Kimbo out. The James Thompson fight scared the shit out of me. James Thompson was almost a guarantee from Jeremy Lappen that he was already in a body bag. Yeah right! Let’s go back and watch that fight twice. At that time we weren’t even going to go with James Thompson, we were going with I don’t remember who, but Jeremy asked me to back him to my father with James Thompson, so I backed him. I’m not going to lie. I thought Kimbo would beat him. I’d seen James get dropped by Rogers in his last fight and I’d seen James at Cage Rage, so I thought Kimbo would win. I got a little scared. Brett called him out and I started negotiating with Ken Pavia on a contract extension with Rogers and I even had to deal with Brett’s other manager at the time, Mike Riley which was very difficult because Riley and Pavia hated each other. I got an agreement on an extension because I wanted to do the fight. My father was already out and Jeremy had Doug DeLuca here and Chuck Champion and he went to them and tried to reject my extension with Rogers. Then he went and made the Ken Shamrock fight. I was the matchmaker with Rich Chou and I would make fights and we would just fight with each other over everything.”
About what really went down the night Kimbo got beat by Seth Petruzelli:
“We went with Shamrock and I never wanted that fight, but we promoted it. At the press conference things got a little out of hand for a second. Remember they pushed each other? That was real. My back really hurt afterwards because I really grabbed Kimbo and I didn’t know what was about to happen. I had to calm Kimbo down. They wanted 10 percent deducted from Ken for pushing. I had to calm them all down and then I go back to the hotel. The next day like two in the afternoon I get a text from Rich Chou that Ken is cut. Friday night, unbeknownst to me, Ken Shamrock calls Jeremy Lappen and possibly some Showtime execs and tries to get more money for the fight. Unbeknownst to me. I’ll take the Bob Arum route and say I was lying yesterday and today I’m telling the truth [about Shamrock asking for more money].I stormed to the arena and I literally tried to lunge at Ken Shamrock’s head. I was like, ‘You’re in the WWE. You really don’t think I know a razor cut? My father was a commissioner way back when. Let’s get real. What fighter is sparring the day of a fight? Rolling around on a mat? Come on, bro. I really hoped the doctors were going to let the fight go, but they wouldn’t let the fight go. Then Jeremy said he had Petruzelli and my throat dropped to my stomach because I knew that was a really bad match-up because Kimbo has bad knees. Then I called Kimbo and they didn’t even want to come to the arena. He was deflated. He was so pumped up and this deflated him. I had to convince him to come to the arena. Then I had to call Gary. He was in Washington. He had a fight that night and he sat in his hotel room on a conference call with me and Kimbo negotiating with Kimbo on behalf of CBS to get the fight off. Kimbo wanted a million dollars.”
About whether or not the fight was fixed or if he offered Seth money to keep the fight standing:
“I don’t really have a tell-all book. I don’t want to make any more money in MMA. I don’t really care what happens in my name. There was nothing fixed about that fight. I could give two shits if it went to the ground. Ken Shamrock was going to go to the ground. I was scared of this guy’s K-1 legs. There was no fix, but there was an offer of a fix that night. Should I get some police protection after this….no, just kidding. Frank Shamrock pulled me in the back of a room, turned the music up and offered to work the fight against Kimbo Slice. I almost threw up in my own stomach because I had thought for the past six months prior to that that he and Cung Le had fixed their own fight unbeknownst to me again, because I just can’t understand why Frank Shamrock didn’t go to the ground against Cung Le. I really don’t. I still don’t, but then my stomach made me throw up in my own mouth and I had to swallow it. I was like, ‘Uh, Frank, I don’t fix fights.’ And he was like, I’ll make up for my brother and…’ I was like, ‘Yo. Are you not hearing me? I don’t do that.’ Sure enough, what’s karma? I get accused of fixing a fight right after. Any day anybody in MMA wants to take a lie detector test and someone will pay for it, I will be there to take the test and I will pass on everything I am telling you. Of course he’s going to hear it and he’s going to deny it and he’s going to swear at me. He’s going to do everything. I don’t care. I’m not trying to ruin the guy. He’s got a career, you’re not going anywhere. You’re a good announcer, your career is over and you tried to do what was best for the company because he had a piece of the company back then. He was a percentage owner. I’m not hating on him, but at the same time, I’m pure. Anyone who wants to label Jared Shaw or Gary Shaw as being unpure in the sport, you’re going to have to take a second look at what you’re thinking. Nothing is ever what it appears to be. I’m tired of living with that myself. The only other person who knows is Ariel Helwani because I told him a long time ago, but he asked me to never say anything. Sorry Ariel. After you got your story [on Zuffa buying Strikeforce] the other day, I had to give Sherdog something.”