Pro Elite and Showtime conducted a conference call this afternoon in order to promote the launch of ShoXC this Friday night at 11 p.m. ET from the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif. The main event will be a clash of 155 lbs. fighters Edson Berto and K.J. Noons.
EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw, Pro Elite CEO Doug DeLuca, and Showtime’s Senior V.P. of Sports Programming Ken Hershman were all on the call.
Here are some of the most notable developments:
- There will be a total of four ShoXC telecasts this year, including Friday’s show. The next one after Friday is slated to take place in the middle or end of August with the two other shows tentatively planned for October and December.
- The first ShoXC had been planned for December but Showtime is so excited about MMA right now that they asked for the debut show to be moved up.
- The next full-scale EliteXC show is scheduled for September 15 in Honolulu, Hawaii. It will be televised on Showtime. The main event being discussed right now is Murilo “Ninja” Rua taking on Robbie Lawler. However, Shaw made it clear at several points during the call that bout agreements have not been signed. Rua is EliteXC’s middleweight champion while Lawler is Icon Sport’s middleweight title holder. However, only Rua’s title was mentioned as being at stake.
- The rumors of EliteXC possibly buying King of the Cage, Gladiator Challenge, and Icon Sport were brought up. Shaw said he couldn’t comment on possible acquisitions because they are a public traded company. There was no flat denial when the question was asked. A reporter also tried to re-phrase the question in a creative fashion by asking what promotions EliteXC was interested in working with. The name of GC, KOTC, and Icon were all brought up by Shaw as companies EliteXC has an interest in working with.
My personal take is that there appears to be a lot of fire to the smoke when it comes to the rumors but I don’t have any hard evidence to support my claim.
- The Internet telecast will take place on ProElite.com but the matches won’t be held until after the Showtime show. If you’re on the West Coast or are an MMA junkie, you’ll be able to watch some early morning MMA.
- Nick Diaz is also being talked about as fighting on the September 15 card.
- In regard to Thierry Sokoudjou, Shaw said they thought they were close to a deal that Jeremy Lappen help put together. They flew Sokoudjou out for the 6/20 show and wined him and dined him. When Sokoudjou returned home he received an offer from another promotion that Shaw wasn’t willing to match. He said any deal with Sokoudjou is “off the table.”
- Shaw talked about his concerns with extreme weight cutting in MMA and hasn’t ruled out the introduction of new weight classes. He said one class they are considering is a 160 lbs. class. I think that would be perfect for Diaz.
- I asked Shaw if there was any interest from EliteXC in Frank Trigg and he said they were indeed interested.
- There are two more shows with Frank Shamrock and Strikeforce left as a part of the agreed upon settlement that allowed EliteXC to keep Shamrock on the card of their debut telecast on Feb. 10.
- Steroids were brought up. Shaw said he is concerned and spoke out against the use of performance enhancers in MMA but said he doesn’t plan to test steroids. He then said fighter safe is a concern and wouldn’t rule out the possibility of implementing testing in the future.
- When the IFL deciding to test its own fighters in ’08, Shaw sort of took what I considered to be a veiled shot. He said he wants to see how they react when a major star of theirs tests positive — if they ever get a star. Ouch. I’m not sure if Shaw meant that as an insult or if it just came out funny. It sure sounded like a shot to me. If he meant it, he should watch their program because they’ve got a lot of good young fighters on their roster now. I guess he hasn’t seen Chris Horodecki because Shaw would love to have that kid fighting for him if he saw him.