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CBS Locking Down EliteXC Fighters’ Contracts?

CBS LogoOne of the biggest questions to come out of EliteXC’s demise is what’s going to happen with the fighters. It seems they won’t immediately become free agents as everything will likely need to be sorted out in bankruptcy proceedings. Josh Gross of SI.com has a new report which highlights how CBS may be involved in locking down the fighters contracts for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps the most interesting bit of information from this mess deals with the contracts of ProElite’s fighters. One of the managers I talked to said Elite might not be able to free fighters right away as CBS might have a right to the contracts. The network had a promissory note with Elite which didn’t get paid. Like a lien on property, their only assets to collect are the fight contracts. This contradicts suggestions on Tuesday that fighters under contract to ProElite before it went belly up would likely be free and clear to negotiate with other promoters.

That would certainly throw another wrench into the situation. Unlike the IFL who released most of their fighters from their contracts before completely going under, EliteXC officials weren’t kind enough to extend the same courtesy (assuming it was possible). To say it’s unfortunate would be a massive understatement.

When the fighters are free and clear however, there’s one promoter who’s already gone on the record to say his promotion’s interested in many of EliteXC’s fighters, including “the face of women’s MMA,” Gina Carano. But first, he has to wait and see what happens with their contracts. Here’s what everyone’s favorite “T-shirt guy” told MMA Junkie.

However, Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he’ll be slow to loosen the purse strings and that the process won’t happen overnight.

“My understanding is that [EliteXC is] releasing them, but I don’t know if that’s fact or fiction,” Atencio said. ” I think, at this point, we’ll have to see. I’ll have to start talking to fighters about what’s going on and getting their contracts or working with them for new contracts.”

“We’re definitely interested (in women’s MMA),” Atencio said. “Gina Carano is a great fighter. I think Cristiane Cyborg is an unbelievable fighter. I’m definitely open to the idea of that fight.”

Once this mess is all sorted out and Affliction does start signing free agents, it will certainly be interesting to see if he sticks to his word of cutting back on fighter salaries as he told MMA Junkie and others in the past. It didn’t sound like he did that with Andrei Arlovski who was rumored to make $1.5 million for knocking Roy Nelson out on network television, so like Atencio, we’ll have to wait and see.

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