10/20 UPDATE: SI.com has confirmed an earlier report that Elite XC is done after CBS chose to pull out of negotiations to buy the company in light of the Florida Boxing Commission’s decision to investigate the promotion following Petruzelli’s claims that he was paid to stand in his main event win over Kimbo Slice. So, yes, Ken Shamrock getting hurt in training just hours before his headline fight set off an amazing chain reaction that would ultimately kill the company he was supposed to fight for. That is one hell of a cut.
Word of a cancellation of their November 8 show and any future events is expected shortly.
Earlier updates on this debacle, as well as a series of YouTube links that chronicle the questionable MMA exploits of Kimbo Slice, can be found after the jump.
10/10 UPDATE: Elite XC promoters, the Florida State Athletic Commission would like a word, and Dana White doesn’t seem particularly thrilled with you either:
Amid rumors that the company could be nearing its demise, Elite XC ran its third “Saturday Night Fights” show on CBS this past Saturday night. Scheduled to be headlined by a Kimbo Slice-Ken Shamrock superfight (well, a superfight by EXC standards anyway), the level of success the show had figured to dictate the company’s future dealings with CBS and as an entity.
Then Shamrock went and sustained a cut that would take seven sutures to close as he trained just hours before the big fight. Oops.
What followed was several hours of panic and scrambling by Elite XC officials, who found themselves without a main event for the possible make-or-break show for their company. According to reports, the two names that received the most consideration from company officials were Ken Shamrock’s adopted brother and CBS Saturday Night Fights analyst Frank Shamrock and Ultimate Fighter castoff Seth Petruzelli. Due in no small part to Frank Shamrock’s recent injury history (he suffered a broken arm in his previous fight, a loss to Cung Le in March) as well as the weight disadvantage he would face against the much larger Slice, the decision was made to go with Petruzelli in the main event.
Of course, it couldn’t just be that easy. Once the decision was made to go with Petruzelli as Shamrock’s substitute, Kimbo Slice’s camp reportedly balked at taking the fight, perhaps sensing that The Popular Legend and Street Fighting Star of the Internet would get his clock cleaned were he to face an opponent other than the corpse of Ken Shamrock. (Though, to be fair, I thought even Shamrock had a shot against Kimbo’s putrid ground game, provided he was able to take him down. More on that later.) In the end, Kimbo was apparently paid off to save the show by agreeing to take the Petruzelli fight.
And so, with the company having made the best of a bad situation, it was time for the fight:
Really, the clip speaks for itself, though Gus Johnson going all Princeton-UCLA on us after the terrible one dimensional fighter got smoked was thoroughly enjoyable.
The unintentional comedy would only grow from there, as Kimbo recovered and shrugged off his loss, choosing instead to pimp his afterparty in the post-fight interview.
So, to recap: Elite XC, in perhaps the most important show in company history, first lost its main event, then scrambled to put together a replacement fight, paid its remaining healthy main eventer a substantial cash sum to make sure he’d take the new fight even though he was almost resigned to the fact that it was a bad matchup for him, and then he went in and got his ass beat in about ten seconds by his virtual unknown of an opponent. While I guess it could’ve been worse (at least Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg won to set up a future fight between the two), all in all, it was kind of a shitty night for the longterm prospects of EXC. (Whoa, almost forgot to mention the part where free agent Tito Ortiz was interviewed during the show and when asked about his status with the company pretty much said, “Eh, ask me again in a week.” Another promising sign.)
Still, the show’s ratings were back in line with the first Elite XC CBS broadcast (headlined by the controversial Slice-James Thompson fight) and it appeared that in spite of Shamrock’s injury, the show was a fairly successful one — surely the most talked about in terms of public interest, as evidenced by the literally millions of views the fight received on YouTube in the following days.
As one would expect, Petruzelli was front and center among the beneficiaries of the heightened public interest in the fight. Unfortunately for Elite XC, “Rocky” may have been a little too forthcoming about some of the chaos leading up to his fight on Saturday during a radio appearance.
He said his original plan against Kimbo was to get him to the ground and exploit his weak wrestling skills and submission defense. It made more sense than trading punches with a street brawler who outweighed him by 30 pounds. Petruzelli said he changed his mind though.
“The promoters kind of hinted to me, and they gave me the money to stand and trade with him,” he told “The Monsters in Orlando” radio show. “They didn’t want me to take him down, let’s just put it that way. It was worth my while to try to stand up and punch with him.”
The quote spoke of an attempt to if not rig the fight, then make it favorable for Slice, the main star and cash cow of the EliteXC promotion.
You know, Seth Petruzelli has to be Dana White’s favorite person in the world right around now (as opposed to, say, everybody else involved with Elite XC), or at least damn close to it. Not only does he completely destroy one of the biggest non-UFC-controlled fighters in mixed martial arts in front of a wide audience, but then he goes on the radio afterwards and spells it out for everybody listening that he did so with the deck stacked against him. What does he do for an encore, leaving a burning bag of shit at Fedor Emelianenko’s front door?
Obviously, the idea that Elite would attempt to fix the fight has drawn a lot of interest from casual MMA fans. (At the risk of having it sound like I’m demeaning the sport, I’m pretty sure most hardcores were already on to this phenomenon.) But let’s look at the fights Kimbo’s been in as a professional:
11/10/07 vs. Bo Cantrell:
Kimbo’s opponent in his MMA debut was Bo Cantrell, who came into the fight with a 10-10 overall record and had lost his previous four fights in the first round (three of them in under a minute). As far as getting his feet wet in mixed martial arts, this was an acceptable opponent for Kimbo.
2/16/08 vs. Tank Abbott:
Originally scheduled to be Kimbo’s first official MMA opponent — the match was set up after Slice defeated boxer Ray Mercer in an MMA exhibition for CFFC but later canceled — Tank, just like Cantrell, is classified as a “pit fighter.” His fights don’t typically last long, and, like Kimbo, he’s at his best when he’s standing with his opponent.
Much like Ken Shamrock, though, Tank is widely thought of as washed up. Unlike Shamrock, he never brought a lot to the table to begin with. Anyway, here’s how Kimbo improved to 2-0:
You may notice a trend starting to develop. On to fight #3.
5/31/08 vs. James Thompson:
Likely the widest exposure Kimbo had received prior to Saturday’s fight, and that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Thompson entered the fight with an overall record of 14-8, but much like Cantrell had lost the majority of his recent fights — he was 2-6 since 2006 headed into the fight. Nevertheless, it would be fair to call him the toughest test Kimbo faced to that date, and in spite of some of his poor recent performances, Thompson controlled Kimbo for much of the fight, grounding the street fighter, who had no answer for that method of attack.
Conveniently enough, Thompson happens to rock a giant cauliflower ear, which is something that could work against even the most experienced fighter assuming his hard-hitting but inexperienced opponent was able to strike at said giant, floppy target. And indeed, in round three, Kimbo was able to exploit, as Mauro Ranallo put it, the alien life form attached to the side of Thompson’s head which in turn led to, as Gus Johnson put it, a “terrible stoppage.”
All of this brought us to what transpired over the weekend, when a man who was paid to stand with Kimbo Slice did just that and didn’t just beat him but dominated him at his own game and pocketed some extra cash in the process.
Maybe the biggest unanswered question coming out of Saturday’s event was what would’ve happened had Ken Shamrock not been cut while training. One would think that Shamrock’s gameplan would’ve been based around taking Slice to the mat and trying to submit him there. In fact, at one point in hyping the fight, Shamrock promised to break Kimbo’s leg.
But interestingly enough, a month later the tune of the Shamrock camp seemed to change, as the plan was no longer to take Kimbo down, but to control him while standing up:
His trainer, Quentin Blue Horse, who is from Yerington, said Shamrock is ready for the 34-year-old Slice (3-0).
“He’s gotten in great shape in a short amount of time,” Blue Horse said. “If he’s standing up (against Slice) he’ll dominate.”
At the time, the remark seemed like typical misguided Ken Shamrock idiocy. Now, though, it takes on a life of its own. Did Shamrock have the same deal with Elite XC as Petruzelli? Did he honestly believe he had a shot against Kimbo if he did, in fact, stand with him, or was it just B.S. out of the camp to try to throw Kimbo’s camp off?
It should be interesting to see how Elite XC handles this entire thing, though I figure it’ll probably just go away in a few days time. Still, a number of people will probably be more wary of fights involving Kimbo Slice down the line, and rightfuly so. I’ll be interested to see who he’ll be scheduled to fight next and, depending on the type of fighter he’s up against, where the majority of the fight will take place.