You think the death of Pro Elite was a great day for MMA, Dana White? There are those who would disagree with you. For example, the newly unemployed Scott Smith who puts a very, very sad human face on the whole thing:
“I’ve been in camp for over eight weeks and I’ve been pushing myself hard. It’s one thing if [it happens] two months out from a fight, but two weeks? It’s devastating. Even if I lost, worst case scenario, (including sponsorship money) I would still be out close to $40,000. Until all the paperwork and everything is done I’m not going to be cleared to fight somewhere else before the end of the year. It’s close to the holidays, I got a mortgage to pay, I’ve got two kids, it’s tough.”
Damn, Scott. Now I just feel terrible. There may have been a lot of small failures and a few colossal ones behind EliteXC’s demise, but you sure as hell can’t put any of it on Smith, whose clashes with Robbie Lawler were among the most memorable (for the right reasons) bouts in EliteXC’s brief history.
So if it ain’t Scott Smith’s fault, dammit, whose fault is it? Former Pro Elite VP of Home Entertainment Turi Altavilla doesn’t explicitly say it was Jared Shaw’s fuck-ups that did them in, but he certainly doesn’t absolve $kala from responsibility either. Apparently after Jared’s father, Gary Shaw, left the company under the condition that his son would stay on, things took a turn for the stupid:
“Jared would try and make it very clear that both he and the matchmaking team were calling the shots with the matchmaking,” says Altavilla. “There wasn’t even any pretending that they would try and throw us a bone. There were times when others had different ideas for matches that were clearly better ideas, and he’d make it clear that that wasn’t going to happen.”
“At the end of it all, you’re talking about guys with years and years of experience that have seen and done this on many levels, and then you’re talking about Jared, who was basically a fan,” says Altavilla. “It often seemed to me like he was a fan who won some reality show and got to be a part of an MMA company.”
“I think a lot of us were guilty of keeping our mouths shut, because we thought it was a matter of time before Jared was going to get the boot,” says Altavilla. “We thought it would be any week. Obviously, that never happened.”
Altavilla also criticizes the younger Shaw for becoming a part of Kimbo Slice‘s entourage, for making their contract dispute with KJ Noons both public and personal, and for being a general jackass who preferred to show up and steal the limelight rather than do the actual work that makes an MMA event happen. Somehow I remain completely unsurprised at these accusations.
As for what ultimately went wrong with EliteXC, Altavilla said they simply “blew it.” Some more than others, it would seem.