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Tag: bribery

EliteXC Under Investigation by Florida Dept. of Business and Professional Regulation

Kimbo Slice Tank Abbott Gary Shaw MMA EliteXC
(If Tank was allowed to use his fearsome jiu-jitsu, it would have been a totally different story. Photo courtesy of MMAWeekly.)

When it was first announced that the Florida State Boxing Commission would not be investigating EliteXC’s alleged fight-fixing attempt, it seemed like the scandal would quietly be swept under the rug. But the public/media outcry has become too loud to ignore, and is reporting that the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation — which oversees the FSBC — will open a preliminary investigation into the legality of Seth Petruzelli’s “knockout bonus”:

“While the Department of Business and Professional Regulation doesn’t have any reason to believe there was a problem with the Slice-Petruzelli fight, given the interest in it, the Department has begun a preliminary investigation to thoroughly review the circumstances of the fight,” said Jennifer Meale, Communications Director for the DBPR.

Responding to this new development, EliteXC Head of Operations Jeremy Lappen continued to deny that the promotion acted inappropriately in any way:

“We offered Seth Petruzelli a knockout bonus, a submission bonus and “fight of the night” bonus. If we were trying to influence the fight, why would we do that?”

Oh, so now Seth was offered a submission bonus too? This is the first we’ve heard about that one, and of course, it directly contradicts what Petruzelli originally said. (“They didn’t want me to take him down.”) Former EliteXC boss Gary Shaw isn’t helping their case either. Speaking to the L.A. Times, $kala’s dad said…


Florida State Boxing Commission Will Not Investigate EliteXC Bribery Sketchiness

Kimbo Slice EliteXC Seth Petruzelli MMA
(Money well spent.)

It looks like all our outrage was for naught. Speaking on behalf of the Florida State Boxing Commission, Department of Business and Professional Regulation press secretary Alexis Antonacci told MMA Weekly that the FSBC does not interpret Seth Petruzelli’s recent interview comments as evidence of fight fixing:

“We take Petruzelli’s comments to mean that he got paid more to move up in the card, which is accurate and perfectly within the regulations. Because without someone, him in this case, stepping in to be part of the main event, the event would not have gone off…We don’t believe any wrongdoing occurred. That being said, if someone believes that wrongdoing did occur, they can file a complaint with the commission, with the department, and we will look into it.”

According to Antonacci, one or more FSBC officials were present during the negotiations between EliteXC and Petruzelli, and had verified there was no impropriety.

Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer — who may be biased due to his long association with the UFC, but whaddya gonna do — sees it another way. As he told MMA Weekly:

“Hypothetically, if that happened, and we found out later that one of the fighters or both were told, ‘look, you need to fight a certain way,’ or some incentive not to utilize part of your skills, I would file a complaint. I would file a complaint against the promoter; I would probably file a complaint against the athlete as well.”

On the bright side, this sport doesn’t need a scandal right now. Without more proof than some tossed-off remarks on a morning zoo radio show, it’s probably for the best that this all went away. (Though if you want to take Antonacci up on her offer and file a complaint with the commission, go for it…)


Seth Petruzelli Does Some Serious Backtracking

Seth Petruzelli
(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.


Was Ken Shamrock Getting the Same ‘Stand Up Bonus’ From EliteXC?

Ken Shamrock Kimbo Slice MMA EliteXC
(Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle. Check out more pics from this set here.)

The Seth Petruzelli bribery story we discussed yesterday has taken a couple of left turns. First, FiveOuncesofPain contacted Petruzelli for a follow-up on his claim that EliteXC had paid him to keep his fight against Kimbo Slice standing, and Petruzelli backtracked, saying his words were being twisted:

“What was meant to be said was that I wanted to keep the fight standing for myself because I knew that was what the crowd, the promoters, and everyone wanted to see because that’s more exciting than just taking someone to the ground. That was my thing only. I wanted to keep it exciting so I decided to keep it standing. It had nothing to do with anybody else. That was all me.”

Keep it mind that this is a direct contradiction to what Petruzelli actually said during the interview, particularly the line “they gave me the money to stand and trade with him.” Yet when 5oz. asked him directly if EliteXC even hinted that he could receive a bonus by keeping the fight standing, Petruzelli flat-out denied it. (“I just wanted to keep it standing because I felt I could beat [Kimbo] at his own game.”)

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on here. After Petruzelli’s radio interview started sweeping the ‘nets, many MMA pundits and fans cried “fix,” even calling for charges to be brought against EliteXC. (Bribery to affect the outcome of a sanctioned fight is a felony in this country.) Petruzelli clearly didn’t understand how serious his revelation was at the time, and now he’s trying to save the asses of his employer and himself. For their part, EliteXC also denies that money was offered to Petruzelli in exchange for going easy on the takedowns. As EliteXC Head of Fight Operations Jeremy Lappen told Sherdog yesterday:

“Obviously we didn’t pay [Petruzelli] to stand. Kimbo had trained for months to fight a guy who’s fighting on the ground. We don’t care if people stand or take people down or what. It doesn’t matter to us. All we want is an exciting fight.”

But was Ken Shamrock actually going to be fighting on the ground?


Epic Fail: EliteXC’s Bribery of Seth Petruzelli

(It’s even sadder in slo-mo.)

From Monsters in the Morning via BloodyElbow via CagePotato reader “Adam S”:

Seth Petruzelli: My original plan was to throw a lot of push kicks, they’re called teeps…have him think that I’m going to throw ‘em to try to rush in more, and then shoot in on him, obviously…I knew I would do alright standing up with him. 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.

Petruzelli says he was paid “in the six-figure range” for accepting the main event fight on Saturday and will be re-negotiating his contract for his next EliteXC fights. I bet the next time EliteXC offers a guy money to stand and trade with Kimbo, they’ll be a little clearer about the objective: Don’t shoot for a takedown, but also don’t knock him out with an off-balance jab. (You’d think that would be implied.) We definitely suggest listening to the rest of the “Monsters” interview, where Seth describes the moment where he knew he had Kimbo beat, what he said to the athletic commissioner afterwards, and the chances of Kimbo/Seth II (and Tito/Seth I). Entertaining stuff…