(Photo courtesy of MMA Junkie.)
Seth Petruzelli can’t understand why all you internet conspiracy theorists might possibly think that Elite XC paid him extra to stand and bang with Kimbo Slice rather than take him down. What a crazy notion. All he did was go on a radio show and say:
The promoters kinda hinted to me, and they gave me the money to stand and trade with him. They didn’t want me to take him down. Let’s just put it that way. It was worth my while to try and stand up and punch with him.
Oh crap. That sounds like he said exactly what he’s now saying that he didn’t say. Don’t worry, Sam Caplan sat down with Petruzelli to help him sort it all out. Among the revelations in the full Five Ounces of Pain interview with Petruzelli: he’d been drinking all night before making those comments on that radio show, but still feels like he “worded it perfectly” (so why mention the drinking at all?), the extra money was just for a knockout bonus, and he feels the whole thing has been blown out of proportion.
Petruzelli explains it was all on the up-and-up, but something doesn’t sound right.
Sam Caplan: Would you have received a bonus had you submitted Kimbo?
Seth Petruzelli: Yes. There were submission bonuses, knockout bonuses, and a “Fight of the Night” bonus — just like the UFC does it. They just want an exciting fight no matter where it goes.
Sam Caplan: Did the submission bonus pay the same as the knockout bonus?
Seth Petruzelli: Yes. Every bonus is the same.
Sam Caplan: You’ve fought in the UFC and I’ve heard from fighters that have competed in the UFC that during rules meetings it’s not uncommon for a UFC official at the end to stress to the fighters that they expect to see exciting fights. When you were there did you ever hear anything like that prior to a fight card and at any point prior to your fight with Kimbo did EliteXC or ProElite give you a similar speech?
Seth Petruzelli: At the rules meetings, either Dana White, Joe Silva, or someone like that will come in and say “Hey, you guys are getting an opportunity, so make it exciting.” And that’s when he usually announces what the amounts are for the knockout and submission bonuses and that sort of thing. And actually that’s not even how it is with Elite. Elite never mentioned anything like that. UFC said that but Elite didn’t. They just mentioned the bonuses (and) they never said that you had to perform or anything like that.
This sounds suspiciously like damage control. We previously speculated that Petruzelli is trying to downplay the whole story now that he’s come to realize what a serious and possibly criminal accusation he made against his own employers. Now Petruzelli talks with Sam Caplan, who might be, let’s say, sympathetic to Elite XC fighters, and claims that Elite XC hasn’t contacted him at all after the radio interview.
You also have to wonder what became of these other bonuses he refers to. Who got the submission and fight of the night bonuses, and how much were they for, exactly? Even the UFC, as long as we’re making the comparisons, gives out that information. And the UFC is so secretive about financial shit that they make Dick Cheney look like an open book. (Hi-yo!)
This isn’t to say that Petruzelli is lying. It just seems weird. These new revelations about knockout bonuses and submission bonuses don’t completely explain his previous comments. If the bonuses were the same, and since he’d already seen Andrei Arlovski score a knockout and Jake Shields score a submission, there’s no way he could have been sure that he’d wind up getting that bonus. Unless…Elite XC officials told him he was guaranteed the KO bonus if he went toe-to-toe with Kimbo. Would that be illegal? Hell if I know. But unethical? Shady? Suspicious? A bad idea at the top of a slippery slope towards fight fixing? Maybe.
All I can say is I’m not buying this story that’s telling us there’s no story here. It sounds a little too much like “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” But hey, I’m a crazy internet conspiracy theorist.