When Strikeforce was acquired by Zuffa, many fans, fighters and managers were very concerned that fighters would lose all their leverage without a strong number two promotion to negotiate with. Well, that may not be a concern for much longer if the Stratus Media Group has anything to say about it. The group recently acquired a 95% stake in what was left of Pro Elite, former parent company of EliteXC, and they intend to make a run at filling the void Strikeforce left.
It appears they’re going kick things off sooner than later too, because MMA Weekly is reporting that they’ve already targeted an August date for their first show and hired former Strikeforce matchmaker Richard Chou and former ICON owner T. Jay Thompson to run the promotion.
According to sources speaking to MMAWeekly.com on Monday, former ICON owner T. Jay Thompson and former Strikeforce matchmaker Rich Chou have been brought on board to run the show at Pro Elite.
Additionally, the promotion has targeted a late August date for their return to action, and they are currently scouting locations for the show.
With most of the world’s top fighters under contract with Zuffa, it’s going to be difficult to build a recognizable roster, but Pro Elite does seem to be interested in some of the name talent that is available. According to MMA Weekly, they’re looking at Andrei Arlovski among others.
Sources have also indicated that former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski is one of a handful of fighters that have been in negotiations to fight for the organization when they return later this year.
There’s virtually no way they’ll be able to compete with the UFC under current market conditions, but I could see them becoming another regional-sized promotion like Shark Fights that features former UFC talent. I wouldn’t count on them reaching the level Strikeforce did, but at least they’ll give fighters another option while they’re still around. Could be a new home for Nate Marquardt and maybe even Tito Ortiz (if he loses Saturday).
Update: ProElite announced today that their first event will be held on August 27 at the Blaisdell Arena in Waikiki, Hawaii. No fighters or match-ups were announced.