EliteXC, the upstart MMA promotion that began with such a bang by announcing the signing of legendary backyarder Kimbo Slice, has officially pulled an Arnold Skaaland. They threw in the towel this week in the afterbirth of Sliceâ<80><99>s exposure at the hands of Jeff Hardy wannabe Seth Petruzelli on October 4th.
This kick- in-the-balls was made exponentially worse (a thought that doubles me over in tears just to type it) when Petruzelli made one of the most classically boneheaded comments in the history of boneheaded comments when he told the Monsters in the Morning radio show (mistake #1, by the way), â<80><9c>The promoters kinda hinted to me and they gave me the money to stand and throw with him, they didnâ<80><99>t want me to take him down. Letâ<80><99>s just put it that way. It was worth my while to try and stand up punch him.â<80>
Um, didnâ<80><99>t somebody tell him that this was a shoot? To make things worse, he then followed up with a â<80><9c>clarificationâ<80> statement of, â<80><9c>What that meant was they offer a knockout bonus, submission bonuses, fight of the night bonuses. I think it just got misconstrued. I wanted to have an exciting fight and I wanted the knock out bonus so I wanted to keep it standing. […] They just said, we want to see an exciting fight no matter what happens. I took it as I wanted the knockout bonus. What was meant to be said was that I wanted to keep the fight standing for myself because I knew that was what the crowd, the promoters, and everyone wanted to see because thatâ<80><99>s more exciting than just taking someone to the ground. That was my thing only. I wanted to keep it exciting so I decided to keep it standing. It had nothing to do with anybody else. That was all me.â<80>
Thereâ<80><99>s an old saying: when you hit bottom, stop digging.
But, I come to praise Seth, not to bury him. There is a bit of Shoeless Joe Jackson to the Set Petruzelli story. Granted, as an MMA fighter, Petruzelli was nowhere near the caliber of fighter that Jackson was a baseball player. But they have this in common: they will forever be linked to a near-catastrophic credibility scandal in their respective sports – and unfairly.
Seth won the fight! Shoeless Joe batted .375 in the series! Doesnâ<80><99>t matter, Both are perceived as cheaters.
In professional athletics, credibility is at the top of the list when it comes to criteria that must never be compromised. It probably constitutes the list in its entirety. If baseball had players throwing World Series games so gamblers could make a killing at the sportsbook, then baseball dies. Even though the 1919 Blacksox Scandal was real, baseball took a proactive stance to re-establish their credibility because – hell, they were baseball (you know – mom, apple pie, and all that).
Without credibility, MMA promotions are professional wrestling promotions. And we all know what a roaring success pro wrestling promotions have been of late (WCW, ECW, etc.) So, the State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is investigating. I can only imagine that the remaining MMA promotions are hoping this investigation leads nowhere. The UFC and the also-rans can realize the ultimate (*snort*) in vindication if no wrongdoing is found as a result of the investigation into EliteXC. Regardless, EliteXC is over and done as competition and the credibility of MMA would remain intact. Kind of like the WWE buying WCW and ECW for a cumulative price that was less than Stephanie McMahonâ<80><99>s annual boob job maintenance budget line item. Dana White is, as we speak, praying to gods of MMA that the sport gets a clean bill of shenanigan health. I think his prayers will be answered affirmatively.
Meanwhile, Elite XC, which had become the most watched MMA promotion by virtue of its Xposure on CBS, appears to be ready to file for bankruptcy protection, Gina Carano will still not return my late-night calls, and kids everywhere will post youtube videos plaintively wailing â<80><9c>Say it ainâ<80><99>t so, Kimbo!â<80>