Now that the house of cards has finally fallen, details of what went on behind the scenes of EliteXC are starting to surface. Sam Caplan has a lengthy and detailed report on EliteXC’s demise over at Five Oz. which I highly suggest you read.
Caplan has an interesting paragraph in the report regarding StandGate (the unofficial term coined by Fightlinker for EliteXC’s bribery scandal) that’s definitely worth sharing.
Petruzelli’s comments on 104.1 FM in Orlando that he had financial incentive not to take Slice to the ground that led to such a public outcry that officials in Florida launched an investigation into the incident were just the tip of the iceberg, as there also appeared to be more to the story. For instance, separate sources informed Five Ounces of Pain last week that there was also a possibility that a deal had been struck preventing Petruzelli from using “Thai-style kicks on Slice, since he had not prepared for them leading up to the fight.”
Assuming this and the rest of StandGate is true, then Dana White was wrong. They weren’t trying to make a kickboxing match, they were trying to make a damn boxing match!
While that may be more fuel for the fire, it doesn’t prove anything. But this might, or at least lead the investigation in right direction. TJ Thompson just did an interview with MMA Weekly and what he said may blow this thing wide open. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Thompson, he was the promoter of the Hawaiian based ICON Sport MMA promotion until ProElite bought it. As part of the deal though, Thompson signed on to be an EliteXC consultant and was present cageside at most of the events, including “Heat.”
“I was there cageside and watched the whole thing happen,” he said. “I think (CBS) got cold feet watching. The way the Ken Shamrock pullout was handled, all the way from the beginning to the end with Seth Petruzelli. Watching Jared Shaw jumping up and down and screaming as a representative of the company, I think was disgusting and embarrassing.”
“I don’t have a smoking gun, (but) I’ve been around long enough, I’ve talked to enough people that were there, I won’t name names of executives in the company that I know—Seth was paid to stand up. I’m confident of that. If the commission wants to talk to me, I’ll tell them what I know.”
Do you hear that Florida??? It’s not a few sentences that are open to interpretation. It doesn’t get much more clear than “Seth was paid to stand up.” And just because EliteXC is done now doesn’t mean the investigation has all of a sudden become a moot point. It is imperative that the individuals responsible are identified and dealt with accordingly. Those individuals should never be allowed to promote another mixed martial arts event ever again. Period.
[UPDATE 10/21/08 12:30PM ET] – TJ Thompson also did an interview with Sherdog. His quote is a little more detailed, and it appears he received the information about StandGate secondhand.
“I have no proof [but] I’d be amazed if he wasn’t paid to stand up,” said Thompson, who was absent from the last-minute negotiations but claims co-employees intimated to him their confidence in an arrangement that had been made prior to the bout. “I sent [Pro Elite CEO] Chuck Champion an e-mail basically telling him my concerns the day after, and after talking to him, he made it clear to me that isn’t what happened, and I had to go with his word.”
I’ve changed the title of the post to more accurately reflect Thompson’s statements.