The never-ending saga of a search for an opponent to fight former NFL All-Pro offensive lineman and six-time NCAA wrestling champion Carlton Haselrig during the undercard of EliteXC’s first-ever CBS telecast on May 31 appears to have reached an end.
EliteXC announced in a press release Wednesday night that Haselrig is now set to face hard-hitting New Jersey-based heavyweight Carlos Moreno.
Moreno represents the fourth opponent change that Haselrig has seen for this bout, the second of his pro MMA career.
EliteXC officials initially wanted to capitalize on Haselrig’s background as a former member of the New York Jets and promote a Jets vs. Giants MMA matchup. Former Giants’ offensive lineman and current EliteXC heavyweight Bobby Jones was offered the fight. However, he had to decline due to a neck injury. An offer was then presented to former Giants’ fullback Jarrod Bunch, who made his MMA debut in 2005. Bunch was open to the idea of fighting Haselrig, but ultimately decided against taking the fight due to financial concerns.
After Bunch declined, the idea of doing a football-themed match was abandoned. Former IFL heavyweight Bryan Vetell was then approached and his management gave verbal consent to the fight. However, they never fully signed off on a contract with EliteXC over concerns about an option for additional fights. Then, last week, it was believed that “Cujo” Joe McCall had been secured as an opponent. However, he was unable to accept the fight due to an illness in his family.
Additionally, the names of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Marcus Jones and 3-0 amateur heavyweight Joe McGuigan were also in play at various times the last month. It should be noted though that Jones’ camp was never contacted by EliteXC formally.
The complete card for EliteXC “Primetime” on May 31 in Newark, N.J. at the Prudential Center is as follows:
Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson
Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith for the EliteXC middleweight title
Gina Carano vs. Kaitlin Young
Joe Villasenor vs. Phil Baroni
Jon Murphy vs. Brett Rogers (swing bout)
Undercard (to be streamed on ProElite.com):
Chris Liguori vs. Jim Bova
Carlton Haselrig vs. Carlos Moreno
Nick Serra vs. Matt Makowski
Wilson Reis vs. Justin Robbins
James “Binky” Jones vs. Calvin Kattar
Preliminary Bouts (non-televised):
Andre “Gigetto” Soares vs. Zach Makovsky
Mike Groves vs. Joe Sampieri