twitter google

In one of the many ProElite/EliteXC death posts floating around now, Sam Caplan mentioned that he had heard from a few different sources that StandGate was legitimate:

Petruzelli’s comments on 104.1 FM in Orlando that he had financial incentive not to take Slice to the ground that led to such a public outcry that officials in Florida launched an investigation into the incident were just the tip of the iceberg, as there also appeared to be more to the story. For instance, separate sources informed Five Ounces of Pain last week that there was also a possibility that a deal had been struck preventing Petruzelli from using “Thai-style kicks on Slice, since he had not prepared for them leading up to the fight.”

Zach Arnold takes some umbrage to this:

I have a problem with this. As a writer, if you have information that not only can advance a story in the media with new details but also impact a current, on-going investigation, then start talking. By admitting this news item in the manner in which it was stated, it comes off as if you’re saying, “Well, if Elite XC hadn’t closed its doors, I might have not said anything about this.”

I had mentioned the same thing regarding Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez, two guys who spoke up about StandGate only after Seth Petruzelli slipped up and talked about it on the radio. So what the hell are the moral responsibilities of the MMA media in situations like this? Is holding back information like this tantamount to helping EliteXC get away with things?

Our first reaction to any potential wrongdoing would be to post it, but Fightlinker is a gut reaction kinda site and we don’t have reputation or contacts to maintain. One gets the feeling that there are two levels to MMA reporting: the stuff people know, and the stuff they’re allowed to report. There’s 1001 reasons for this: you’ve gotta play nice or you’ll lose access, and when it comes to sources you still need to confirm what they’re saying or you risk printing incorrect information.

Still, one would hope that allegations of fight fixing are serious enough for everyone to put aside everything else to get to the bottom of this. With EliteXC imploding as we speak, I’m betting we’re going to learn about a whole dump of shady shit from the people who used to work there. So I suppose in the long run people’s earlier silence doesn’t matter all that much. But if ProElite had continued to chug on and they got away with StandGate on account of people not sharing all the information they knew on it….

Rami Genauer, he of Fightmetric fame, comes out with a very interesting narrative from the Bisping / Leben fight. A lot of people did a double take when Bisping said his plan was to beat Leben via decision. Most said he wouldn’t win many fans with that attitude, and that was that. But check out Rami’s thoughts, which are especially surprising since they come from someone who’s bread and butter is made up of breaking down fights that go to decisions:

MMA fans should be extremely concerned with Michael Bisping’s post-fight comments. Bisping said, in no uncertain terms, that his strategy was to come out and win a decision against Leben. Make no mistake; this statement is as dangerous for the sport as any comment made by Seth Petruzelli. The day that fighters start aiming for decisions is the day that MMA is finished as a serious sport.

Of course, it’s possible that a fighter aiming for a decision will still end his fight, but in most cases, trying for a decision is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When a fighter tries for a decision, his entire strategy and fighting method must change. He is no longer trying to win, he is simply trying not to lose while still performing in a way that will make the judges think that his performance was superior, however tenuous the evidence may be. This favors a cautious style, like the “lay and pray” method, although fans are quickly recognizing the “backpedal and counter-strike” technique as an equal evil.

The current percentage of MMA fights that go to a decision is 23%. You don’t have to be a mathematician to recognize that there’s an inverse proportion between fans and decisions: The more that percentage goes up, the more fans will abandon the sport. And really, who could blame them?

I was pretty suspicious of FightMetric and other stat counters when they first started popping up in MMA. As far as I’m concerned, the sport of MMA will die a dreary death if you ever put stats into the hands of ringside judges. So it’s definitely nice to hear someone who’s made stats their passion in MMA agree that fighters vying for decision wins is a bad trend and by extension the ‘hit and run’ strategy is bad news for the sport.

Following on the heels of what happens to all the girls, now we have to wonder what’s gonna happen to the rest of the fighters in ProElite:

Elite XC’s two biggest attractions, Slice and Carano, are unlikely to be moving to the sport’s highest-profile group. UFC president Dana White has repeatedly said he won’t use Slice, who made his reputation as a backyard streetfighter on YouTube videos but is not the caliber of even a mid-level MMA pro. White also has said he’s not interested in promoting women’s fighting, although Carano’s success as a draw may cause him to reconsider. Her match with Kelly Kobold two weeks ago ended up adding more new viewers than any MMA match on television in the U.S.

Several agents for fighters have been in contact all day with the UFC. Some, like welterweight champion Jake Shields, would be welcomed into the promotion.

My big question is what happens to all these fighter contracts now that ProElite has gone under? Depending on the terms laid out in the paperwork, a fighter may not be magically free just because the company went kaput. The UFC has bought up fighter deals from bankrupt companies before … will they do this again to cherry pick the fighters they want and ice the fighters they dont?

From what I’ve heard, the IFL ‘freed’ their fighters from contracts before going down in flames, but for some reason I don’t see guys like ProElite’s Chuck Champion being as kind to his own roster. You get the feeling that he was brought in as a chop shop / repo man and he’s going to do his best to get every red cent that he can back out of the company.

So before we all get giddy with our wishlist of fighters we want to see in the UFC, we might want to cross our fingers and hope that there’s not a big mess to clean up via bankruptcy court before anyone from ProElite gets to fight in the cage again.

I’m still coming to terms with the death of ProElite … some parts of me – such as the part of me that covered all the sketchy shit they did – are happy, but other parts of me are sad, namely the part of me that loves women’s MMA and wants to see it grow. For better or worse, ProElite was the home of women’s MMA, and despite the mismanagement that went on to propagate a ‘Gina division’ attitude in the company, they still ended up showing a lot of people what women bring to the table in terms of mixed martial arts. Now what’s next for them? MMA Fanhouse ponders the question:

If Affliction is smart, it will act quickly to sign Carano vs. Cyborg for its scheduled show in early 2009. Carano and Cyborg are recognizable names who come on the cheap (Carano made $25,000 for her last fight and Cyborg significantly less), which means they’re perfect for a Fedor Emelianenko undercard.

I also think it’s time for UFC President Dana White to reconsider his opposition to women’s MMA. White has said categorically that women will not fight in the UFC, but I would propose that Zuffa, UFC’s parent company, should add women’s MMA to WEC, its smaller organization. If WEC signed Carano, it would do a great deal to draw attention to its other top fighters, including Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres.

The bottom line is that Carano is a real star of the sport, and now she’s a star without a home. Let’s hope that isn’t the case for long.

Personally I really don’t want Affliction coming in and grabbing up Gina Carano. They’re barely able to develop any division past their heavyweight division, let alone a properly functioning women’s division. If Affliction locks up Gina Carano’s services, then women’s MMA as a whole really will become the Gina Carano show. All love to Gina and such, but that’s not the cause I signed up for.

I’m all for women in the WEC … it makes perfect sense to me and half the other sportswriters out there. The women bang, the women draw, and with Gina Carano on top you’ve suddenly got a division and belt that will carry any event way better than a Faber vs Dude who isn’t fit to hold Faber’s jockstrap match. Past that point, it just makes sense for the UFC to fill the hole before another promotion picks up the ball and runs with it. I know they’ve already written Affliction off (and honestly, I don’t see them surviving to throw a third show either), but there will always be new challengers on the horizon.

Speaking of that, another home for women that hasn’t been discussed much is Strikeforce. They were the ones that ‘discovered’ Gina Carano and they’re still showing some small interest in developing a women’s division. Sure, a lot of the shit that I hated about the way EliteXC ran their division is the same in Strikeforce – a la booking women with good looks but non-existent records – but beggars can’t be choosers. Regardless, I have more faith in Scott Coker’s ability to develop a legitimate women’s division than I ever could for EliteXC.

Suffice to say, there’s a decent number of ways this could play out. I think I speak for us all when I say the best possible outcome to this would be for the WEC to scoop up Gina and get cracking on creating an awesome home for her and other female athletes. Past that, Strikeforce could fill the status quo that EliteXC left behind nicely enough, and I’m sure Affliction will be sniffing around Carano vs Cyborg if no one else bites.

Sam Caplan has a nice little list of fuckups that caused ProElite to go under. I’ve broken down his paragraph into point form:

The mistakes that were made were numerous, but the biggest were:

  • spending tens of millions of dollars on regional promotions such as Cage Rage, ICON Sport, Rumble on the Rock, and King of the Cage for reasons to this day still remain a mystery;
  • paying certain high-profile fighters 2-3 times what they could make with the UFC;
  • finalizing fight cards on short notice (limiting the company’s time to market the event and sell tickets);
  • promoting shows with a high budget even though there was no pay-per-view revenue stream (compare how much money Zuffa allots for a UFC Fight Night event in comparison to a PPV);
  • not having a director of communications or an in-house PR department;
  • poor venue selection (destinations such as Reno, Sunrise, Stockton, and Corpus Christi never made much sense- as well as Honolulu and Atlantic City, due to the high costs of promoting shows in both cities); and
  • hiring employees with strong MMA resumes and not coming up with job descriptions or titles for them until after they had been hired (and then not relying on their expertise).

For some reason I’m pretty sure there’s a whole bunch more. Any help lengthening the list is appreciated, although the ‘Jared Shaw’ reasons might take up an entire post of it’s own.

Page 2,353 of 3,0351...102030...2,3512,3522,3532,3542,355...2,3602,3702,380...3,035

Follow Fightlinker