A preliminary investigation surrounding questionable circumstances involving this past weekend’s main event between Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson and Seth Petruzelli during EliteXC and CBS’ Saturday Night Fights in South Florida has been launched by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
The news is according to Franklin McNeil of ESPN.com and the Newark Star-Ledger.
Questions about Petruzelli’s 14-second first round TKO over Slice initially surfaced on Monday following an interview with 104.1 FM in Orlando.
“The promoters kind of hinted to me and they gave me the money to stand and trade with him,” Petruzelli told the hosts of the “The Monsters in Orlando” morning radio show. “They didn’t want me to take him down, let’s just put it that way. It was worth my while to try to stand up and punch with him.”
The FDBPR initially told FiveOuncesOfPain.com earlier this week that it had no immediate plans to launch an investigation. While the state of Florida is now switching gears, it does not appear they believe any foul play was involved.
“While the Department of Business and Professional Regulation doesn’t have any reason to believe there was a problem with the Slice-Petruzelli fight, given the interest in it, the Department has begun a preliminary investigation to thoroughly review the circumstances of the fight,” Jennifer Meale, Communications Director for the DBPR, is quoted as saying in ESPN.com’s report.
While it does not appear that ProElite and EliteXC officials tried to fix the outcome of the fight in a traditional sense, questions as to whether it played an unethical role in dictating the nature in which the fight was contested still remain.
During an exclusive interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com conducted on Tuesday, Petruzelli said that while he did receive a knockout bonus, ProElite and EliteXC officials also offered a submission bonus of equal value as well.
“Yes,” Petruzelli told us when asked if the promotion also offered a submission bonus. “There were submission bonuses, knockout bonuses, and a “Fight of the Night” bonus — just like the UFC does it. They just want an exciting fight no matter where it goes.”
However, EliteXC Head of Fight Operations Jeremy Lappen publicly contradicted Petruzelli after being quoted by Josh Gross in an article for SI.com.
“We don’t give submission bonuses,” SI quoted Lappen. “(But Petruzelli) knew a knockout bonus was possible before the fight.”
Now it appears Lappen could be contradicting himself, unless Gross, a veteran MMA journalist, mis-quoted him because Lappen is quoted in ESPN.com’s report as saying that EliteXC indeed offered Petruzelli a submission bonus.
“We offered Seth Petruzelli a knockout bonus, a submission bonus and “fight of the night” bonus,” Lappen told ESPN.com. “If we were trying to influence the fight, why would we do that?”