While officials from ProElite, CBS, or Showtime have yet to be quoted on the record as confirming reports that EliteXC’s Nov. 8 show that had been scheduled to take place in Reno, Nevada has been canceled and that the promotion has closed its doors, there appears to be little doubt Tuesday morning that reports of ProElite’s demise that surfaced Monday afternoon are in fact true.
While top officials with the company have yet to confirm the reports, nobody with ProElite has been quoted as disputing them. Given the nature of the content, one would think that the company would be assertive in response to such news if it were erroneous.
Dave Meltzer also reported in the premium area of the Wrestling Observer that sources had confirmed to him that the promotion will be ceasing operations and further evidence of the apparent end to the promotion comes from quotes attributed T. Jay Thompson, whose ICON Sport promotion was acquired by ProElite in 2007. In addition to running ICON, Thompson also served as a consultant to EliteXC and was a cageside fixture for most of its major events.
Thompson told MMA Weekly that he received a call from EliteXC Head of Fight Operations Jeremy Lappen on Monday morning informing him that ProElite had filed for bankruptcy and that all of the company’s employees are going to be let go.
Through its public reporting through legally-mandated filings with the SEC, the fact that ProElite was in financial peril was plain to see for everyone. However, it had been expected that CBS would move forward and save EliteXC through an acquisition in light of the strong ratings generated by the fight promotion during network broadcasts on May 31 and Oct. 4.
However, Thompson indicated that plans for CBS to acquire ProElite fell-through thanks in large part to the controversy that preceded and proceeded the Oct. 4 planned main event between Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock that ended up turning into Seth Petruzelli TKO’ing Slice just 14 seconds into round 1.
“I was there cageside and watched the whole thing happen,” Thompson is quoted as telling MMA Weekly. “I think (CBS) got cold feet watching. The way the Ken Shamrock pullout was handled, all the way from the beginning to the end with Seth Petruzelli. Watching Jared Shaw jumping up and down and screaming as a representative of the company, I think (it) was disgusting and embarrassing.”