The Florida State Boxing Commission has completed its investigation of ProElite and EliteXC in regard to public complaint stemming from the promotion’s final card earlier this month at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.
Alexis Antonacci, Press Secretary for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, responded to a request by FiveOuncesOfPain.com with a statement from the Florida commission that the investigation did not find any wrongdoing on the part of ProElite and EliteXC on the night of the promotion’s “Heat” event on Oct. 4.
The card, which featured Seth Petruzelli defeating Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson via TKO at 14 seconds of round 1, was covered in a shroud of controversy. The controversy surrounding the event stemmed from Ken Shamrock’s inability to challenge Ferguson as had been advertised due to medical disqualification, as well as comments made the following Monday by Petruzelli on 1041. FM in Orlando that insinuated he may have received financial incentive to avoid taking the fight vs. Ferguson to the ground.
“Executive Director Thomas Molloy heard a rumor in the field that Seth Petruzelli was approached by ProElite, LLC and was asked to fight ‘standing up’ against Kevin Ferguson to give Mr. Ferguson an advantage in the match,” the statement began.
“Mr. Molloy began a preliminary inquiry into the rumored allegation on October 8, 2008.
“Mr. Molloy contacted Mr. Petruzelli by phone and asked him if the promoter had requested that he stand up and fight as opposed to going to the ground where Mr. Petruzelli might have the advantage. Mr. Petruzelli stated that no one said anything to him about how to fight except ‘Just do your best.’ Mr. Petruzelli stated that a talk radio show misconstrued his comments, and that is where the allegations began.
“After the interview with Mr. Petruzelli, Mr. Molloy reviewed the promoter/participant contract and noted there was nothing written in the contract to indicate Mr. Petruzelli would be compensated by fighting in a certain manner. The contract read ’35,000.00 to fight’ and ‘$15,000.00 to win.’
In addition to speaking with Petruzelli, the statement indicates that Tank Abbott, Slice’s opponent on Feb. 16 during the promotion’s “Street Certified” event, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer, and California State Athletic Commission Executive Director Armando Garcia were all interviewed as a part of the investigation as well. The statement quotes Abbott as saying that he was not asked by ProElite or EliteXC officials to fight in a certain manner while Kizer and Garcia are both quoted as saying they never experienced any promotional problems while dealing with ProElite in the past.
The statement concluded that, “After Mr. Molloy’s preliminary inquiry including the above information, it was found that there is no reason to believe that the rumored allegation was true.”
The fact that a ruling was made this week came as a surprise to FiveOuncesOfPain.com, as we were informed by a source speaking on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday that there were rumblings that Florida’s investigation into ProElite and EliteXC could become a federal case and that the FBI was looking into taking over the investigation.