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Pro Elite Clings to Life, Contracts

(Surely Kimbo’s brilliant legal council will find a way out of this mess.)

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 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.

Cagepotato Comments

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Blackleg- November 2, 2008 at 4:16 pm
Hulk Smash: The jig is up.... jig.
Hulk Smash- November 2, 2008 at 4:11 pm
This is more obvious bullshit posturing on EliteXC's part. That little wannabe gangster "$kala" and his team are clearly making a last ditch pathetic attempt to not have to admit the extent of their stupidity. I hope every fighter gets free of their "contract" and can go on too make a living. The gig is up XC, we're onto you.
fed up- November 2, 2008 at 3:45 pm
And after all this shit, they really expect people to watch and attend their event? if there even will be one. what has the mma done to deserve this bullshit.
TUF Guy- November 2, 2008 at 3:19 pm
Welcome to 2009. If you just depend on your fists for making a living then you should starve to death. A real man always has a back up plan. I have 3 Master Degrees, 2 citizenships, huge arms, a huge chest and 2 guns so I never worry about losing a job or getting deproted or anything in my life. I am what everyone wishes they could be when they grow up.

I wake up in the morning and just laugh!
CJ- November 2, 2008 at 2:37 pm
I seem to remember reading something about Pro Elite being in breach of contract with Nick Diaz, at least that's what his letter to them said. I don't think them being bankrupt is what is necessarily breaching his contract, I think it's the fact that they can't get him a fight in a specified amount of time. Them "not really being bankrupt" after all doesn't really change the fact that they're not putting on events and their fighters aren't getting fights. So maybe the fighters with contracts similar to Diaz's will be okay?
Old, Bald and Irish- November 2, 2008 at 2:35 pm
Ain't that the wayit always goes? The fighters always get screwed.

I'm sure there is some tangible value to the fighters contracts, but come on! These guys gotta make a living! Would it be so hard to do something like suspend the fighters contracts for 90 days and allow them to compete outside EXC? Then, once you've come up with some kind of legal angle, sell off the contacts?

Anyone know exactly how that works? Would EXC sell off the remainder of the contract to another organization? What about fighters that other orgs don't want to pick up? Are they in limbo until the contract expires?

It's things like this that are a risk for fighters not wanting to sign the iron-clad deals that the UFC comes up with. On the other hand, the UFC guys are getting paid. Not so much for anyone outside of the UFC.
Shawn- November 2, 2008 at 2:28 pm
I bet Nick Diaz wouldn't mind screwing somebody who is now beyond the grave. (Translation: he has sex with dead bodies. I seen it.)