With EliteXC all but officially dead, much of the talk around the MMA community has centered on where EliteXC’s fighters will go. Unfortunately, for the fighters and their fans, many of them likely won’t simply be able to enter free agency.
But now, a good number of those fighters are left in legal limbo. Many had complex contracts that will be seen as assets in any bankruptcy proceedings, meaning they may be on the shelf indefinitely while the company’s assets are divided.
While it’s not known who will be at the mercy of the US legal system at the present time, a few fighters are already speaking up about the situations they’ve all of a sudden found themselves in.
From the same NBCSports.com report, EliteXC lightweight Eddie Alvarez says he’ll be fine thanks to the flexibility in his contract, but concedes many fighters aren’t as fortunate as him.
“I’m pretty spread out in terms of my contract, and that leaves me flexibility if things like this happen,” said Alvarez. “It’s unfortunate for all the fighters who put all their eggs in one basket. You can’t do that in this business.”
“There are other fighters who need to fight [Nov. 8] to pay their bills. I was fortunate to get a lot of fights early in the year, save some money to be comfortable and not worry about needing fights to pay my bills. For me, it’s not as big as a blow as for some other guys.”
Many are looking to the UFC as a potential home for Eddie Alvarez, and I’m quite certain they would love to have him. Dana loves exciting fighters and being involved in two “Fight of the Year” candidates this year, Alvarez is certainly that. However, Alvarez has proclaimed in the past how much he loves to fight overseas, and judging from his statements above, an exclusive contract with the UFC doesn’t seem like it would be appealing to him. Money talks though, so we’ll have to see if the UFC is willing to give him enough to exclusively fight for them. My guess is he fights in Japan in the near future and ends up with a non-exclusive deal with Affliction.
Jake Shields has also spoken out on what the future may hold for him. Being one of the top welterweights in the world, it’s really a no-brainer where he should go—the UFC. Lucky for fans who are anxious to see how he stacks up against the world’s best including GSP, Shields has openly admitted that he hopes to fight inside the Octagon next.
“The UFC’s the most likely option,” he said. “That’s where I’m certainly leaning. I haven’t had any talks with them yet; I have to get my contract released. That’s definitely the number one option I’m looking at. I was on good terms with them before I signed this last contract, so I don’t think there should be any problem.”
“The UFC’s where I’ve wanted to fight for years, and also the guys ranked above me in the world are there so that’s certainly the most logical show to go to.”
If Shields goes anywhere else, he’ll just be stuck in the same predicament that he was in EliteXC—a serious lack of top competition in his weight class.
I’m not going to speculate on all the fighters, Sam Caplan already did a great job on that, but I would like to say something about EliteXC’s biggest names—Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano.
Quite honestly, your guess of where Kimbo goes from here is as good as mine. At this point, I think it really depends on Kimbo. What does he want to do? Was the loss against Petruzelli too much for him to come back from? Is he still serious about making a career in mixed martial arts? Those are questions only Kimbo can answer at this point. The fact of the matter is, he still has some appeal left, enough to where a significant number of people will still tune in to see him fight on free television. If he wants to become a decent mixed martial artist and willing to continue to put in the work, there will still be opportunities for him. Will one of the bigger players like Affliction or Strikeforce be willing to take a chance with him, perhaps putting him in somewhere in the middle of the lineup against opponents that will help him evolve as a fighter? I don’t know, it likely depends on money, but it’s not something I would be opposed to. I have nothing against Kimbo. I want to see him succeed, but no one’s going to be dumb enough to make him the flagship of their promotion, at least I hope not. Or as others have suggested, he may opt to take money over the quest for legitimacy and fill a Bob Sapp-type role in Japan.
The fighter everyone seems to be focusing on, however, is Gina Carano. Being a female, her options are extremely limited in terms of organizations promoting women’s MMA at the present time. I have a feeling that is about to change though. The reality is that Gina Carano is a top drawing mixed martial artist, at least on free television. She is an asset to any promotion, and fighters that can make an organization money are always in demand. Dana White has been opposed to women’s MMA for whatever reason, and to be honest I would be surprised if he started now, but you never know. If I had to put money on it, I would guess Affliction is going to make a strong bid to sign Carano and book the Cyborg fight at an upcoming event. If Affliction lands a deal with CBS, the odds of that happening would likely increase even further. The question is, is Affliction willing to build a women’s division around her, or would they opt to just find her opponents on a per-fight basis? The problem with the latter is though, what happens when she loses. Also, she’s proven people will tune into free TV to watch her, but are those same people willing to pay to watch her? We’ll see, but if she doesn’t end up in Affliction helping to promote the Sinful brand, as Caplan suggested, I would expect she’ll end back in Strikeforce, hopefully getting paid much more than the $25,000 she made a few weeks ago.
The fighters aren’t the only people affected by EliteXC’s collapse though. While everyone’s attention focuses on the ones responsible for it, we must not forget about the good people behind the scenes that were simply following orders and doing their jobs.
From Esther Lin, outstanding MMA photographer, who did photo shoots for EliteXC.
I’m sad because of the accountants, the legal assistants, HR, the receptionist, the administrative assistants, the shopkeeper, production staff, and the travel coordinator are out of jobs.
The antics of Jared Shaw, I mean, Skala, I mean, $kala, and executives aside, I hope the good name of a few employees behind the scenes are not ruined. I can’t say enough about the people I’ve met there and how they’ve brought me closer to the fighters and made it possible for me to take the photos I take, inspired me to shoot more, take my talent more seriously. Sure, there are some assholes who made mistakes, some nice people who made mistakes, but there are a lot of people who worked extremely hard, including myself, to bring EliteXC to light.
I’ve never worked for a failed MMA promotion before, but I did work in the home building industry. Tomorrow it will be two years since I was laid off due to the massive failures in the housing industry which has now translated into the failure of our economy. The company I worked for is still intact, but in these past two years, I’ve seen nearly all the friends I made there lose their jobs. Some have families and some had nothing else to fall back on. Luckily, I don’t have a wife and kids, and that experience gave me the opportunity to chase my dreams in life, but not everyone else has been as fortunate, and not one of them were contributing factors to the problems that brought the industry to its knees. In short, it’s absolute bullshit that the ones responsible are usually the ones who made enough money to move on comfortably from their massive fuck ups while everyone else suffers, so if you’re happy that EliteXC is dead and gone, don’t forget about all individuals who will truly suffer from a select few’s mistakes.
Oh and by the way, EliteXC “A Night Of Champions,” previously scheduled for Nov. 8, has officially been canceled. In addition, ProElite has informed the NSAC that EliteXC has closed its operations.