Remember when Pro Elite ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy? Well, turns out they didn’t. At least that’s their story now. As fighters still under contract with them have been filing notices to get free, Pro Elite has responded by informing those fighters that the company has not declared bankruptcy and that it intends to stage an event in 2009.
A notice sent out to several managers representing Pro Elite fighters states:
“Elite XC and ProElite are currently downsizing its staff in an effort to improve its business moving forward. As this process is implemented, Elite XC cancelled the event previously scheduled for Nov. 8 in attempt to re-schedule another event in early 2009.”
That’s funny, because if I was running an MMA company that was merely downsizing but which intended to continue promoting events, and suddenly there were widespread reports that my company was filing for bankruptcy, I think I might say something to contradict that right away. I might, for example, immediately issue a statement declaring my intention not to just roll over and die. I might even call the people who had circulated those reports a bunch of lying sons of bitches. What I would not do is say nothing at all until fighters started trying to get free of their contracts, and only then come up with an obviously bullshit reason for not releasing them.
As you might expect, no one is buying this explanation.
Robbie Lawler‘s manager, Monte Cox, said he believes Pro Elite wants to sell the fighter contracts. Cesar Gracie, manager of such EliteXC fighters as Nick Diaz and Jake Shields, described the move as an attempt to “buy time,” and posted a message to GracieFighter.com that criticized the decision:
This will be a setback for all EliteXC fighters currently under contract as they will be unable to fight in other organizations without the express written permission of EliteXC. Barring a judicial ruling, EliteXC fighters could be hampered from signing with another organization.
In other words, Pro Elite is screwing their fighters over one last time from beyond the grave. Real nice.