While none of us may be positively heartbroken or even surprised to see Pro Elite shut down its operation, the thing to keep in mind is that the MMA marketplace just got smaller. That means fewer opportunities for fighters and, at least for most, meager paychecks in the near future. Former Icon Sport promoter Patrick Freitas reminded us of this fact with a post to the UG that read, in part:
I Just wanted to say that as everyone here is dancing on the Elitexc’s grave, I think its important to remember that a shitload of good fighters (and great people) just saw their contracts disappear into the ether.
That’s the truth. Whatever you think of Pro Elite’s demise and the reasons behind it, one thing we can all agree on is it isn’t the fault of the fighters they employed. But now that those fighters find themselves without an organization to call home, where do they go? The answer, of course, depends on who they are. Most will end up in local promotions. But what about the big fish?
Jake Shields: If the UFC could only pick up one of the newly unemployed EliteXC fighters, Shields should be that one. He was probably the most talented guy on their roster, and something tells me Zuffa could scoop him up relatively cheaply. If he comes in and makes an impact on the UFC’s welterweight division right away, great. If he doesn’t, the UFC can claim it as proof that their fighters are far and away the best in the industry.
Kimbo Slice: The EliteXC collapse couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Ferg. Coming off an embarrassing loss and with a half a million dollar price tag, he does not look like a good investment right now. We know the UFC isn’t interested. Affliction has enough heavyweights to do something with him, but he’ll have to take a major pay cut. Even then his shelf life is a question, as is his desire to continue on as a pro fighter. Don’t be surprised if we’ve seen the last of Kimbo’s MMA days.
Gina Carano: She’s beautiful, she’s charismatic, and she’ll fight for twenty-five grand even when she’s pulling in a hefty portion of the audience. Who wouldn’t want to sign Carano? Well, the UFC doesn’t seem anxious to get into the women’s MMA business, so unless they change their stance — fast — that isn’t happening. Carano’s apparent willingness to fight for peanuts increases the chances that she’ll be among the first to find a new home, perhaps in Strikeforce or another smaller organization.
Robbie Lawler: EliteXC’s middleweight champ already had his go ’round in the UFC, but the exposure he got in his CBS appearances make it worth everybody’s while to give it another shot. The list of credible middleweight challengers to Anderson Silva‘s throne has gotten so paltry we’re about to pay to see him destroy Patrick Cote. Lawler would be a welcome addition there.
Antonio Silva: The steroid suspension, which he’s appealing, is going to make “Bigfoot” a difficult sell. He’s not the most marketable heavyweight out there, either, and being the EliteXC champ after a victory over Justin Eilers, well, that doesn’t mean too much. Looks like it’s small time for Silva.
Nick Diaz: Does the UFC have the patience for two Diaz brothers on the roster? He’s got some name value and he always turns in an exciting performance, but if you invite him to your party you only have yourself to blame when he shoves someone through the sliding glass door. His northern California appeal might make him attractive to Strikeforce, but the UFC will likely pass.
Eddie Alvarez: A smart investment if there ever was one. The UFC has every reason to sign him and help him get over with the American fans who may never have seen him in action. And unlike Dream, you don’t have to worry when the UFC tells you that the check is in the mail.