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Tag: Seth Petruzelli

Dana White on EliteXC: “That’s Fucking Illegal”; Lappen Changes His Story Again

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Dana White is downright pissed off. He’s so mad at EliteXC in this video, one camera angle is insufficient for capturing his rage. He lays into EliteXC for the Seth Petruzelli “knockout bonus” scandal and suggests that Jeremy Lappen and the Shaws should look into the kickboxing business if they want to keep fights off the ground so badly. I couldn’t agree more.

For his part, EliteXC Head of Operations Jeremy Lappen changes his story yet again in a talk with AOL Fanhouse. First, Lappen told that Petruzelli was offered a knockout bonus, but the company doesn’t offer submission bonuses. Then he told that Petruzelli was offered a KO bonus, a submission bonus, and a fight of the night bonus. Now he says both stories misquoted him:

“They’re both wrong,” Lappen said. “We have given submission bonuses in the past but they’re not as common as knockout bonuses. If the question is, ‘Have we ever given submission bonuses?’ The answer is yes. But we give knockout bonuses more often. We gave Seth a knockout bonus before the fight started. That was part of the deal.”

Hold up, you gave him a knockout bonus before the fight started? As in, before he had knocked anyone out? Goddammit Lappen, I sure as hell hope you were “misquoted” yet again. At the very least I hope it’s just poor phrasing on your part and what you meant to say was you told of him of a potential knockout bonus before the fight. But either way, it’s still bullshit. You offered him an incentive to win a fight in a very specific manner, not an incentive to simply finish the fight.

Not to mention, this is the third time you’ve changed your story. Nobody gets misquoted this often. Not unless they keep changing their story so often that they can’t keep all the versions straight in their own mind.


Frank Shamrock: World’s Most Self-Absorbed Man?

(One of those days where it really sucks to have just one waist.)

Frank Shamrock has yet to encounter a situation that is not, at its core, about Frank Shamrock. It just hasn’t happened. It probably never will happen. The main event at EliteXC: Heat last Saturday night is a great example. You remember that one, right?

Kimbo Slice was set to face Ken Shamrock, but instead squared off against (and was quickly defeated by) Seth Petruzelli. You might have seen it. What you probably didn’t know at the time was that this situation was all about Frank Shamrock. He was the grown man with braces calling the fight for CBS. But really, he should have been in there fighting. If he had, MMA history could have been altered. At least, that’s the story he told Sherdog:

“I think it was a mistake to not let me fight [Kimbo Slice],” said Shamrock, who claims he offered to step in to face the notorious streetfighter.


“When I realized we would have to cancel the show, I said, ‘Look, I’ll fight the guy. You know, it’s a great story — little brother steps into the spot, comes out of the booth. It’s very compelling, but we need a fight to happen that’s compelling,’” Frank said. “That went around for hours. Then I put my shirt on and went to work. No one committed to it, so I just kept talking.”

Of course you did, Frank. Because that’s what you do. A lot of talking, and occasionally some fighting.


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…


Ken Shamrock Issues Open Letter to Fans, Asks for Kimbo One More Time

(Just think of what might have been. Or better yet, don’t think about it. Ever.)

Oh, Ken Shamrock. Somehow the controversy over whether you cut yourself on purpose or whether you were just unlucky/dumb has been overshadowed in the past few days by other EliteXC controversies. It’s almost as if people have completely forgotten that it was supposed to be you who got paid extra to stand and trade with Kimbo Slice. Instead, you didn’t make a dime and ended up being but a footnote in this sad spectacle.

But fear not, MMA fans, for Ken Shamrock has composed (read: asked someone to write for him) an open letter explaining what went on this past Saturday and what he’d like to do about it. Take it away, Ken:

On October 4th, I was set to fight Kimbo Slice on the EliteXC/CBS Saturday Night Fights in a highly anticipated event. Unfortunately, because of a training accident and the intervention of the Florida State Boxing Commission, our fight did not happen. I suffered a cut above my left eye that required six stitches, and the cut was significant enough to cause the Florida State Boxing Commission to refuse to allow me to fight.

The scheduled bout with Kimbo on the EliteXC/CBS Saturday Night Fight card was a great opportunity, and it is unfortunate that I was unable to face Kimbo as planned. I want to apologize to all of my fans, and to the EliteXC and CBS executives who worked so hard to put this fight together. I also want to apologize to Kimbo, Bas Rutten and their entire camp for what happened. I recognize that I put them in a very bad situation, particularly Kimbo. It’s difficult to walk into the ring after training for one opponent only to find out hours before the fight that you have to face some you don’t know or have never seen fight.


EliteXC Update: Lappen Issues Statement, Dana White Disgusted, Jim Rome Ain’t Having It

(ESPN‘s Jim Rome lays into EliteXC at about the 5:20 mark.)

This thing isn’t going away quietly. In the wake of allegations that EliteXC offered Seth Petruzelli extra money to stand and bang with Kimbo Slice, Head of Operations Jeremy Lappen issued a formal statement defending the company’s actions and refuting any claims of impropriety, saying in part:

“Seth Petruzelli was offered a fee to fight Kimbo Slice, plus a knockout bonus, a common practice throughout the industry. EliteXC organizes and promotes fights. We have not…do not…and will not suggest or dictate fighters’ strategies or tactics. How the fighters perform in the cage is at the sole discretion of the athletes involved.

“The circumstances leading up to the Petruzelli/Slice fight were unusual. Ken Shamrock was declared medically ineligible less than three hours before the fight. As an organization, we made a decision to serve the paying audience in the arena and the prime time audience at home by delivering on a Kimbo Slice fight, which we had promised. This was done simply and solely with a standard fee and bonus offer to Petruzelli and by increasing the purse to Slice. Elite XC is grateful to both Seth and Kimbo for taking this fight against an opponent they didn’t train for and on such short notice.

He then goes on to trumpet Frank Shamrock’s willingness to step in even though everyone knew it wasn’t a feasible offer (even Frank, one has to assume), touts the exciting and “diverse” night of fights, and mentions what great ratings it got.

Problem solved, right? I mean, all they did was offer the guy extra money to knock Kimbo out. They didn’t say that knockout had to be on the feet. And sure, they didn’t offer a submission bonus, but that’s only because they think submissions are boring. Nothing wrong with that…or is there? Well, yeah, there is actually. But don’t take our word for it.

Fortunately, Dana White spoke to the Boston Herald about it, and he’s not the type to mince expletives. I mean, words:


Benji Radach Says Elite XC Never Mentioned KO/Submission Bonuses

(What bonus?)

Benji Radach led off the CBS portion of Elite XC: Heat with an exciting second-round knockout of “Ninja” Rua, but says he was never informed by Elite XC officials before the bout that there was even the possibility of a ‘knockout of the night’ bonus, as Seth Petruzelli says he received for felling Kimbo Slice.

“No, not at all,” Radach said, when asked whether Elite XC officials ever mentioned knockout, submission, or fight of the night bonuses, before or after the event. “I wish there was a bonus because I think my fight was really exciting, maybe fight of the night or knockout of the night. But nope, I never heard anything.”

This contradicts Petruzelli’s claim that Elite XC mentioned the post-fight bonuses before the event, which caused him to stand and strike with Kimbo in the hopes of notching the knockout of the night.

That clarification came after Petruzelli seemed to suggest, during a radio interview with Monsters in the Morning, that he’d been paid extra by Elite XC to keep the fight with Kimbo standing. Petruzelli then said the extra money was simply for a knockout bonus, and was for the same amount as the submission of the night and fight of the night bonuses.

There’s been as of yet no word from Elite XC on which fighters received these other bonuses, just as there has been little mention of these bonuses in past Elite XC events.

Update: Elite XC’s Jeremy Lappen tells Josh Gross that some fighter contracts have KO bonuses built into them and some don’t. Submission bonuses, however, are a myth in Elite XC:

“We’re just trying to create exciting fights,” Lappen said, doing some spinning of his own. “Fast-paced energy fights. It’s just something we’ve always done.”

EliteXC, it seems, does not view submissions, widely thought of as the most technical aspect of MMA, as an overly important portion of an exciting fight.

“We don’t give submission bonuses,” Lappen said. But Petruzelli “knew a knockout bonus was possible before the fight.”


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.


Yes, People Are Talking. No, It Isn’t Good.

(CNBC’s sports business readers aren’t an optimistic bunch.)

As the Kimbo Slice backlash pendulum swings to and fro in the days following his defeat, we find ourselves asking what lingering affect Slice’s fourteen-second performance might have on the MMA landscape. The good news, some MMA pundits tell us, is that people are talking. They’re covering Kimbo Slice on ESPN. They’re talking about him in the mainstream news media. There is a buzz, in other words, thanks to Elite XC and Kimbo Slice.

And that’s nice, except for when you stop to listen to what these people are actually saying. CNBC’s sports business guru Darren Rovell, put it thusly:

…[T]his will turn out to be a great case study in sports marketing.

You have a really marketable asset in a guy like Kimbo Slice. The problem is, he’s a good street fighter against normal guys. He’s just not that good of an MMA fighter. So you know that he has to continue to win, but there aren’t enough weak guys for him to fight. In fact, as was proven in Petruzelli, a decent guy can beat him. The other problem is that you can only fix the results if the guy makes it to three rounds, which you’re never guaranteed. Slice couldn’t have won on Saturday night. He was getting pounded. Mike Tyson was Mike Tyson because he really was a talented fighter, along with all the weird baggage that we loved.

An astute analysis, even if we were sick of the Kimbo Slice/Mike Tyson comparisons months ago. But Gravell, who wrote about how drawn he was to Kimbo’s persona and backstory when he fought on the first CBS show, seems to have come to the realization that it was all hype. Which should be encouraging, because it means that maybe the people who were drawn to the sport because of the Kimbo buzz will not abandon it now that they realize he’s far from the best MMA has to offer.

NBC Sports’ resident MMA expert Mike Chiapetta says Kimbo’s loss is no good for anybody in MMA, no matter what we might say to the contrary:


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?