If you were wondering why ProElite has been holding on to their fighter contracts like Ken Shamrock has been holding on to his career, it looks like it’s because ProElite’s current management has been trying to sell the company. You might think no one would be interested in the organization though considering all the stigmas attached to it. If so, you’re apparently wrong.
According to Five Oz. of Pain, not just one, but three entities are interested in purchasing ProElite, and one of them apparently has quite a bit of cash to throw around.
According to sources, as many as three groups are believed to be vying for ProElite. Only the identity of one of the groups is certain, with multiple sources stating that a group led by King of the Cage promoter Terry Trebilcock has made a bid.
However, Trebilcock’s group is not considered the leading contender at this date. Sources will only go so far as to describe the top contender as a company with over a billion dollars in annual gross revenue that also is a recognizable name.
Ooohh, aahhh, mystery bidder. Last time we heard about a mysterious group getting into MMA, they turned out to be a theatrical production company who may or may not have stuck with Monte Cox for the Adrenaline MMA ride. But, these guys apparently have a name we’d recognize.
I’m not even going to begin to speculate who it might be, but they, along with KOTC and mystery bidder #2, must think ProElite’s assets are valuable enough to actually turn a profit with one day. Do they know something we don’t? Like maybe Gary and Jared Shaw’s office furniture is actually made of solid gold and encrusted in five-carat diamonds, or perhaps, when you click Jeremy Lappen’s pen a magic genie pops out and grants you three wishes, he just couldn’t figure out how to use it. I don’t know, but according to Caplan, they want a piece of that network television pie, and apparently, CBS/Showtime isn’t against working with a new management team.
Regardless, this doesn’t sound like something that’s going to happen overnight, so all the fighters will likely be stuck clawing for a one-off fight overseas in the meantime. Oh, and this probably isn’t good news for everyone who hopes to see Gina Carano in the WEC.
[UPDATE 12/7/08 5:17PM ET] – Sherdog’s Loretta Hunt has reason to believe the sale is going to happen.
As of today, I’ve ascertained enough information to confidently say that an eleventh hour effort is afoot to resurrect Pro Elite. I’m told this new regime includes a mix of a new investor(s) and some of Pro Elite’s old guard, and they have submitted a bid to CBS to take over the promising contract left dormant after the Los Angeles promotion closed its doors in late October. Carano and Santos’ contracts — not to mention those of Elite champions Robbie Lawler and Jake Shields among others — could be legally bound to this reincarnated unit. But there’s more.
I don’t think it would be shocking for us to hear that CBS has also been in talks with various other promotions in the last few weeks, the UFC and Strikeforce included. Whoever lands the CBS deal, and I do believe it will be one of these three, will have a substantial leg up in acquiring or increasing its foothold in the industry and offering an attractive platform to Carano, Santos and others looking to ply their trade.
One name that wasn’t mentioned as a possible partner for CBS was Affliction. If you remember, when news first broke that ProElite was done, rumors started flying about Affliction replacing EliteXC on the network. Doesn’t sound like that one is panning out.