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