Monday, October 20, 2008
by Loretta Hunt (email@example.com)
EliteXC “Night of Champions,” scheduled for Nov. 8 at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nev., has been cancelled as the promotion heads into its final days of business, Sherdog.com has learned from numerous sources.
Joey Villasenor, who was slated to challenge Robbie Lawler for the EliteXC middleweight crown in Reno, was informed of the show's cancellation Monday evening.
TJ Thompson, a Pro Elite executive, said he'd been informed Monday morning by the company that they were closing its doors for good this week and that bankruptcy paperwork had already been filed. Thompson's Hawaii-based Icon Sport promotion was purchased by EliteXC's parent company, Pro Elite, in 2007.
As of Monday afternoon, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer said he had not received word that the event had been cancelled.
A notice posted Monday evening at graciefighter.com read, “We are confirming that EliteXC has folded. What this means for our fans and supporters is that there will not be a Nick Diaz vs. Eddie Alvarez fight on November 8th.”
Graciefighter.com is operated by representatives of Diaz’s camp, who was slated to face Alvarez for the vacant EliteXC 160-pound title.
Representatives from Pro Elite did not return calls Monday.
Pro Elite, which has accrued $55 million deficit during its two years of operation, had been in need of a helping hand in recent months.
On Sept. 17, Showtime Networks filed public notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announcing its intention to enter preliminary negotiations for the purchase of the fledgling company.
Showtime, a subsidiary of the parent conglomerate CBS Corporation, already has broadcasting deals with the Los Angeles-based company on both its premium cable channel and CBS. Showtime also has a 20% ownership stake in Pro Elite.
Discussions of Pro Elite’s purchase were said to have gone well and a deal looked imminent as of two weeks ago when EliteXC held its third installment of “Saturday Night Fights” on CBS. The Oct. 4 event, which was funded entirely by Showtime, drew 4.56 million viewers and almost matched their initial May offering on the network.
But negative press surrounding questionable conduct before the main event between Seth Petruzelli and Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson have overshadowed the ratings success. Petruzelli, who stepped into the headlining bout on an hour's notice and beat Slice in 14 seconds with a short right jab, intonated afterward on a Monday morning talk show that promoters had given him added monetary incentive to stand with the less ground-savvy Slice.
Pro Elite officials later denied any wrongdoing, calling the pre-fight locker room discussion a "knockout bonus" offer, but public outcry led the Florida State Boxing Commission to open an investigation on the matter.