Fox News Fight Game’s Mike Straka has a different take on the EliteXC alleged bribery debacle. Straka believes EliteXC’s claim that Seth was merely referring to a knockout bonus, although he takes issue with Gary Shaw’s comments from the LA Times article where he admitted he’s told fighters in the past to make it a stand-up fight. Straka says this shows that EliteXC is only in it for “pure entertainment and the money,” not the love of the sport. While I feel there’s too many inconsistencies amongst everyone’s stories to just accept EliteXC’s denial of the bribery accusations, I do agree that EliteXC isn’t in it for the right reasons, although it shouldn’t take this latest blunder to come to that conclusion. The obvious mishandling of the company at the executive level since it’s inception should have raised that red flag ages ago. If that’s not enough to convince you, Fightlinker has a whole book’s worth of examples for you here.
While we’re on the topic of high-ranking ProElite/EliteXC officials running the company into the ground, Straka makes the point that if CBS is going to continue it’s relationship with mixed martial arts, it needs to hire the right people who know the sport. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, MMAPayout’s Kelsey Philpott published an article today arguing that poor management, not the market, is the reason why no one’s been able to gain any traction on the UFC, which I also agree with. There are enough marketable stars outside of the UFC to build quality shows around. The trick is how you present it and how you promote it. And as we’ve seen, every competitor who’s attempted to compete with the UFC continues to make the same mistakes over and over again, including ones the UFC’s made in the past.
Quite honestly, even outside of the bribery allegations, I don’t see how EliteXC is salvageable with the current people in place. If CBS/Showtime purchases them, replaces everyone with people who know what they’re doing, EliteXC might have a chance. Of course, CBS may find they want to distance themselves from the EliteXC brand if they find the name is too tainted in the eyes of the consumer, although that may be a little too extreme to suggest at the moment.
As for Affliction, I do believe they’re in it for the right reasons. I’m just not convinced they know how to run it the right way yet, and that may be where their partnership with Golden Boy becomes valuable beyond any additional pay-per-view buys they may bring to the table. Everyone could use a mentor when tackling something they’ve never done before. Hopefully, Golden Boy can fill that role for them, and show them how a fight promotion should be run. I realize it’s two different worlds and the results thus far are less than desirable, but this partnership was just formed. I’m willing to give them more time before I write them off.