The Five EXC Fighters The UFC Should Sign

No matter how you slice it, the death of EliteXC is a horrible thing for the mixed martial arts industry. While I firmly believe the company deserved to go under for attempting to fix the Petruzelli/Slice fight, it should still be very clear to everyone that fighters are going to suffer as a result of it.

The UFC now has complete control over the salary structure of the entire industry; they can dictate what they’re going to pay and when they’re going to pay it, and contracted fighters don’t have much choice in the matter. They can either sign a deal on Zuffa’s terms, or they can go out and try to get as much money as possible from one of the smaller companies around the world.

There will be fewer jobs available, which means that people who aren’t in the UFC (and even non-stars who ARE in the UFC) will have a tough time making rent every month.

There are bright spots to Elite’s demise, though. 

First and foremost is the death of the notion that Kimbo Slice is an excellent mixed martial arts fighter. Seth Petruzelli likely ended this argument with his knockout win over Slice at the final EXC show, but the fact that nobody else in America will promote Slice as a legitimate mixed martial artist will be the final nail in that coffin. This is not to say that nobody will sign Slice, because someone assuredly will; I’m simply saying that nobody else will try to promote him the way that ProElite did.

Secondly, we now have a chance to see a few more “dream fights”. Any time a promotion folds, there’s an abundance of talent being released and signed by other companies, and this is no exception. As of this Friday, all talent under contract with EliteXC will be free agents, and they’ll be ripe for the picking.

I’ve talked to a few people associated with fighters from EliteXC, and I’ve got a pretty good grasp on who Zuffa is interested in and who they aren’t. All I can say at this point is that you’re going to see a lot of guys sign with Zuffa who you never thought you’d see in the UFC.

In the spirit of this new free agency season, I thought I would take a look at the top five soon-to-be-former EliteXC fighters who Zuffa should target. Inclusion on this list isn’t an indicator of a deal being done or even close to being done. These are simply the five fighters who I’d personally like to see in the UFC and who, if signed, could help expand Zuffa’s bottom line. Continue reading


EliteXC Going Out Of Business

Seth Petruzelli may have delivered a blow to EliteXC’s golden boy with his knockout victory over Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson at the last EliteXC on CBS event, but the comments he made to a radio station in the days that followed the fight have delivered the final knockout to the company itself.

The promotion, which currently carries a 60 million dollar debt accrued over two years, has notified fighters they currently have under contract that the company is going out of business. The final nail in the coffin was CBS pulling out of a deal to buy EXC, which would have saved them from debt and given them at least a few months to turn things around.

Petruzelli’s comments about being paid to stand with Slice changed everything. The comments sparked an outrage among MMA fans and media, and an investigation was begun to discover if EXC officials did, in fact, try to influence the outcome of the Petruzelli/Slice fight.

Regardless of what the investigation would ultimately turn up, it was clear that the EXC brand was permanently tarnished because of the story, and CBS cut ties with them.

This story will have a gigantic effect on the mixed martial arts business in North America, at least on non-UFC companies. No major network will take a chance on a fight company because of this scandal, which means that Affliction will very likely follow EXC into the ether at some point in early 2009.

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.

Mixed Martial Arts

Petruzelli/Slice Under Investigation

Franklin McNeil, who is generally viewed as an idiot by other members of the mixed martial arts media, has the scoop.

I truly don’t think anything official is going to come of it. Florida has already stated that they believe no wrong-doing occurred (even though it did), and they’re simply opening this investigation to get fans to stop calling and sending in official complaints (good job in getting that .pdf out there, Jared!). They’re not going to put any effort into this whatsoever.

It doesn’t matter. The damage has been done. When folks like Jim Rome start talking about you fixing fights, you’re going to be viewed as guilty. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t guilty in the least; people are going to assume that you are. And while seeing EliteXC as a company fold was something that would have given me a perverse pleasure before Seth Petruzelli “shocked the world”, now it’s just something that needs to happen. Companies that give mixed martial arts a bad name shouldn’t be allowed to do business.

Mixed Martial Arts

EliteXC: Heat Predictions

New responsibility at work means no preview for this show. I’ll give you my predictions for the main card straight up and then tell you about an interesting parlay bet that’s worth taking a flyer on.

  • Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock: Kimbo
  • Jake Shields vs. Paul Daley: Shields
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Roy Nelson: Nelson
  • Gina Carano vs. Kelly Kobald-Gavin: Carano
  • Benji Radach vs. Murilo “Ninja” Rua: Rua
People will be surprised at how good Nelson actually is. He looks like the prototypical Toughman fighter with his giant belly, but he’s actually a very good submissions guy. I think he’s going to beat Arlovksi.
As far as the parlay goes: I picked Shamrock and Nelson in a two-liner. Nelson’s betting line is great, as Vegas has him as a huge underdog. In reality, I think Nelson wins this fight 7 out of 10 times, so he’s an easy pick on this one. The Shamrock deal is risker, but if you take a chance on the idea that he might either score a fluke KO or submission, then this is an easy line to take as well. Betting roughly $30 will net you $545, so it’s obviously worth doing.