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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

Can Elite XC management be prosecuted for this?

By Zach Arnold | October 6, 2008

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As in, trying to allegedly alter or fix a fight? Let’s go to the audio! Here’s Seth Petruzelli in his own words:

SP: Not really, but I train with lots of undefeated pro boxers, a couple guys have a belt, and my style kinda throws them off a bit, I have kind of an awkward style. So, I knew I would do alright standing up with him. THE PROMOTERS KINDA HINTED TO ME, AND THEY GAVE ME THE MONEY TO STAND AND TRADE WITH HIM. THEY DIDN’T WANT ME TO TAKE HIM DOWN. LETS JUST PUT IT THAT WAY.

M: Ahhh.. ok.

SP: It was worth my while to try and stand up and punch with him.”

Steve Cofield has more details on this debacle.

Now, Petruzelli is apparently trying to back off of his previous comments. This needs to be investigated by the authorities. There’s plenty of past investigations into boxing fights for bribery and conspiracy of bribery. These are federal offenses under U.S. law. I know for a fact that we have state athletic commission bosses who read this site, so I would be very curious to see what their reaction would be to this situation involving Elite XC.

This is not something that should be swept under the rug. When it comes to corruption (whether it be fight fixing, mafia financial backing, falsified medical records, drug abuse) in this industry, it needs to be eliminated. Period. No excuses. This is not Japan where it is the wild west in terms of lawlessness amongst various promoters. If you fix fights marketed as legitimate contests on American soil, you can and should go to jail.

There are several prominent members of the MMA media who are based out of Florida (including MMA Mania). I suspect that the Florida State Athletic Commission might actually be open to taking some calls from their Florida constituents on this matter. It is election season, after all.

Bloody Elbow: Fans must demand an investigation of Elite XC

We can all roll our eyes and act like it’s typical scummy behavior, and just let it slide, but that will just ensure more of it in the future. Only fans can make sure it does not happen again.

Jared Barnes (Houston Chronicle): EliteXC bribed Petruzelli not to take Kimbo to the ground

Topics: Media, MMA, Pro Elite, Zach Arnold | 28 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

28 Responses to “Can Elite XC management be prosecuted for this?”

  1. cyph says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier just to promote the best? It really does take the guess work out of things, instead of manufacturing a superstar.

    Why is EliteXC modeling itself after Pride FC?

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Just another example of how bad this company is. They need to die off. They continue to hurt the sport.

  3. Rollo the Cat says:

    I suspect they were careful in how they worded their little request to Seth to “stand and bang” so that they didn’t cross any legal lines.

    Weasels. All of them.

    BTW, how is Wallid’s lawsuit coming? That may be what ultimately sinks XC and saves MMA.

  4. zack says:

    Doesn’t seem like a smart move for Seth to be talking about that in public, especially when he could be due for the biggest payday of his career in his next fight.

  5. Black Dog says:

    “Stand and trade with him (Slice)…” Hmmm…I gather of course the promoters didn’t take into consideration that Seth might just drop Slice, eh?

  6. Gabe says:

    Does the UFC have a knockout of the night bonus? Isn’t that encouraging fighters to stand and trade, without spelling it out that they want them to stand and trade?

  7. Rollo the Cat says:

    Gabe,

    They have a submission of the night, KO of the night and fight of the night. They cover all the bases.

    That isnt really the point. Kimbo has no ground game. The point was to eliminate the holes in Kimbo’s game the easy way. Not by training but by bribery.

  8. Justin says:

    Big fan of this site.

    I haven’t listened to PETRUZELLI’S interviews but….As a manager of athletes that is familiar with fight contracts & Proelite contracts..

    Is it fathomable that he was just offered a big KO bonus? This is nothing unusual for a fighter, nor is it for a show Pride did it.

    A UFC fighter on 3 & 3 can increase his pay day by x20 with a KO of the night.

    It is what it is.

    Justin

  9. Jim Allcorn says:

    Wow.

    Saturday night’s main event & the story surrounding it are looking more & more sordid all the time!

    Beginning with Shamrock’s fishy story about how he suffered that cut.
    Not that I find the idea of Ken & his entourage being stupid enough for it to have gone down as described an unbelievable possibility, but DAMN …

    Why would a fighter as experienced as Shammy feel the need to go through preparations THAT vigorous on the day of a contest. It just makes no sense.

    And, if the cut was self-inflicted, why?

    It obviously wasn’t done to protect Kimbo as we saw what Petruzelli was able to do with the him as an undersized, last minute substitute ( not that I buy into the idea that because Seth won so easily that Shamrock would have as well ). So, was it Ken who got “cold feet” then?
    Perhaps the powers that be had given him the same directive that they subsequently gave his replacement regarding standing & trading with ProElite’s cashcow?

    I mean, there were some pretty silly quotes attributed to Shamrock about the supposed need for him to establish himself on his feet against Ferguson in the days leading up to the fight. Things that seemed nonsensical at the time, but now ( given what Petruzelli’s said ) may make more sense.
    Perhaps Shammy had intended on “following the script” on along, right up until Saturday when he decided that he wasn’t willing to handcuff himself like that after all …

  10. Leslie says:

    Yeah, I’m not seeing a need to call in the Detective Goren on this one. It sounds just like when Page’s manager claimed that Pride tried to pay him to take a dive, when they just were offering a bonus for not tapping out (since that’s not what the fans want to see).

    Same rules apply. If they were fixing this fight they sure did a pretty shit job of it. I’m so over this fight, and the Kimbo obsession. There was a card full of great fights and talent and all that anyone can do is over-analyze 14 seconds from two nobodies.

  11. Zach Arnold says:

    The issue of using moral equivalency between the bonuses UFC gives fighters and the initial claim by Petruzelli that he was offered money to keep the fight standing up is laughable.

    UFC gives bonuses for best KO, best submission, etc. In other words, the bonuses are awarded after fights and reward fighters who finish fights.

    If Petruzelli’s initial claim is correct, it was a financial incentive to alter the manner in which the fact took place, with the possibility of giving one fighter a competitive advantage over the other.

    Bribery or conspiracy to commit bribery to fix a fight is a federal offense in the States. It is a criminal offense if committed.

  12. Justin says:

    I’m just wondering if this was nothing more than a KO bonus.

    Only using UFC to essentially say. If fighter A was getting 3 to show 3 for the win BUT if he gets KO of the nite 60k on top!

    I think fighter A may very well perceive that offer “was worth my while to try and stand up and punch with him”

    Again it probably stinks to high hell, but he far from hung them in my court.

    Justin

  13. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Fight of the Night has also been known to go to fights that end in a judges’ decision. It’s not necessarily about actually winning, it’s about giving the fans something to cheer or jeer about.

    If it’s a KO bonus, it’s one thing. If it’s an oblique way of offering him a bonus to get KOed, it’s something else.

    In any case, I doubt there’s much to go on in this specific instance if Seth is going to parrot the party line (which he should). You get a grand jury with subpoenas and the ability to give people some immunity, get interviews with some ex-fighters from the promotion, and maybe you’ll come up with something ugly though.

  14. Gabe says:

    >>The issue of using moral equivalency between the bonuses UFC gives fighters and the initial claim by Petruzelli that he was offered money to keep the fight standing up is laughable.

    I disagree. Extra money is being offered for finishing a fight a certain way. Knockout, submission, whatever, the point still stands that an incentive is being offered for competing a certain way. Also, there’s no need for you to call a point that I make ‘laughable.’ Thanks.

    >>UFC gives bonuses for best KO, best submission, etc. In other words, the bonuses are awarded after fights and reward fighters who finish fights.

    It doesn’t matter when they are rewarded. As long as it is known before the fight takes place that the incentives are in place, then my above point stands. For the record, I don’t condone this from any promotion. I’m not pro-anyone, I just used the UFC practice for comparison.

  15. Justin says:

    I would imagine bookmakers would have great benefit in knowing all ‘bonuses’.

    It would sort of explain a lot of “What is he thinking!!!!!!!” fights we’ve seen.

    One thing thats for sure though, while all news is good news, um…… Then again adds to the saga.

  16. 45 Huddle says:

    A fighter in the UFC is eligible to receive KO of the night, Sub of the night, or fight of the night. Each can end a fight a different way.

    Seth was eligible for one kind of bonus ONLY.

    That is the difference. To not see that major difference makes me wonder about some of you fans.

  17. Gabe says:

    >>Seth was eligible for one kind of bonus ONLY.

    That is the difference. To not see that major difference makes me wonder about some of you fans.

    I do see the difference. Three options instead of one. My opinion is that it’s not as huge as a difference as you think; there’s extra money for you if you fight a certain way. Oh, and I’m flattered that you wonder about me but stop it.

  18. 45 Huddle says:

    You make no sense.

    The UFC’s system says: No matter if you go to the ground or stand-up, you can receive additional money for either ending a fighter or being in an extremely competitive fight. And you must compee against your peers in order to get it.

    EliteXC is saying: For this one specific fighter, we don’t want you going to the ground, so we will compensate you more for avoiding the ground.

    The UFC’s system is an incentive system. EliteXC’s system is literally changing the course of one fight, which is right on the line of fixing it.

  19. Gabe says:

    You’re thinking that I’m trying to condone what XC allegedly did, but that’s not the case. Never did I say that what they suggested wasn’t corrupt. What I’ve been saying is that it’s not THAT different from a promotion (I’ll just stop using the letters UFC) offering such other incentives in that ultimately they’re trying to display an exciting fight.

    That’s what I’m saying, I’m of the opinion that it’s not an entirely different concept, so let’s agree to disagree.

    I really hate how condescending a lot of MMA followers on the internet are. This thread is an example of how you can’t have a conversation in which people disagree without a superfan being a dick (I’m referring to 45 and Zach). I respect your opinions and your knowledge, but you don’t need to be snobby pricks because you disagree with me. Have a pleasant evening.

  20. Zach Arnold says:

    I really hate how condescending a lot of MMA followers on the internet are. This thread is an example of how you can’t have a conversation in which people disagree without a superfan being a dick (I’m referring to 45 and Zach). I respect your opinions and your knowledge, but you don’t need to be snobby pricks because you disagree with me. Have a pleasant evening.

    Sorry you feel that way, but I’m not arguing with you much on an emotional level. I’m arguing on a logical level as far as comparing and contrasting the attempts to try to tie Petruzelli’s comments versus the line of thinking that match fixing is similar to UFC’s bonus system. It’s not.

    If someone’s premise is to use moral equivalency between the two things, then I don’t know what else you can say to that person to change their minds.

    As far as this discussion of MMA fans being ‘condescending’, I’d say that fans have a good reason to be cynical about what they’re seeing with Elite XC given the opening that Petruzelli gave in media circles about possibly being paid to stand up during his fight. Match fixing is a felony, after all, if it can be proven in a court of law. Why do you think the charges are being taken so seriously?

  21. Michaelthebox says:

    Gabe is either out of his mind, or intentionally obtuse.

  22. Gabe says:

    When I made the remark about being condescending, I meant it in general, not pertaining to the subject matter of this thread. On this site especially, many people are almost elitist in that they talk down to those they perceive to be incorrect as opposed to civil discussion.

    And for the record, I don’t morally approve of EITHER promotion’s tactics. XC is obviously far worse and I’m not downplaying the gravity of the situation, but at the same time I think that offering ANY incentives to finish a fight a certain way (whether submission or knockout) is bogus. Do you understand what I’m saying?

  23. Gabe says:

    >>Gabe is either out of his mind, or intentionally obtuse.

    Thank you for contributing to the conversation and enforcing my point about how some people can’t discuss without being a prick.

  24. Ivan Trembow says:

    As I just wrote in the other thread:

    Yes, if any individual promised money to Seth Petruzelli in exchange for not attempting takedowns (ie, manipulating a sporting event on which sportsbooks take bets), they could and should be prosecuted. If Petruzelli received and accepted such an offer, then he could and should be prosecuted as well.

    This is a bigger story than anything else that happened last weekend. There needs to be an investigation of this by the proper authorities… and by that, I don’t mean that they should ask Petruzelli and he denies it (contradicting his own previous statements), and then they ask the EliteXC executive who was yelling at the referee (Jared Shaw) and he denies it, and they ask other EliteXC executives and they deny it, and then everyone just throws their hands up in the air and says, “Oh well, what are you gonna do?”

    There should be a criminal investigation conducted by the police in Florida, because if Petruzelli’s original comments are accurate, then we’re talking about criminal acts being committed by both Petruzelli and whoever the EliteXC executive is that he made the “no takedowns” agreement with.

    The police in the appropriate Florida county should interview Petruzelli and any EliteXC executive that could have potentially been involved.

    Then, if anyone is later found to have lied to investigators, that itself is a crime for which they could be prosecuted.

    In addition to a criminal investigation conducted by police to determine if any criminal charges are warranted, the Florida State Athletic Commission should also be conducting its own investigation.

    If Petruzelli’s original statements are accurate, then the athletic commission should also be trying to determine who it is at EliteXC that Petruzelli had a “no takedowns” agreement with. If such an agreement existed, you would think that the Florida State Athletic Commission would no longer be willing to grant promoter’s licenses to any individuals involved, and you would think that they would no longer be willing to grant a fighters’ license to Petruzelli if he accepted the offer.

  25. Michaelthebox says:

    Gabe, don’t get angry when people don’t take you seriously. Its all of us who are wrong.

  26. Gabe says:

    The name of this site is Fight Opinion. An opinion cannot be wrong, and some of you guys need to stop blowing yourselves. Done, goodbye.

  27. Michaelthebox says:

    First off Gabe, an opinion can’t be wrong, but it can be incredibly stupid or ill-formed.

    Second, stop being so damn touchy. This is the internet. If people call your opinion stupid and you a fool, out-argue them. So far all I see is your poorly-developed analysis and whining when people call you on it.

  28. Fred says:

    I think it’s almost a moot point now whether EXC should be investigated. The promotion is going down in flames, and there’s nothing their management can do about that. I’d really be surprised if EXC is still around in Jan. 2009.

    The management made many mistakes, chief of which was hyping Kimbo’s lame @ss in the first place. EXC did provide some decent cards and fights, so it wasn’t really a loss for the fans; but it’s hard to understand how any management group could be so careless with money to promote a talentless novice as their headliner.

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