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« | Home | »

TJ Thompson: “Seth [Petruzelli] was paid to stand up”

By Zach Arnold | October 21, 2008

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MMA Weekly has an interview with Hawaiian MMA promoter TJ Thompson:

Almost as quickly as “Heat” was over, the Oct. 4 show was mired in controversy over comments Petruzelli made to an Orlando radio show. During his interview, Petruzelli implied that Elite XC officials had attempted to influence the outcome of the fight. Subsequent outcry from fans and media caused the Florida State Boxing Commission to open an investigation, another reason Thompson believes CBS pulled out of talks with Elite.

“I don’t have a smoking gun, (but) I’ve been around long enough, I’ve talked to enough people that were there, I won’t name names of executives in the company that I know—Seth was paid to stand up. I’m confident of that. If the commission wants to talk to me, I’ll tell them what I know.”

Anyone got the phone number of the Florida boxing commission? Someone in the media might want to give them a call or two.

Sam Caplan weighs in on the Petruzelli stand-up scandal:

Petruzelli’s comments on 104.1 FM in Orlando that he had financial incentive not to take Slice to the ground that led to such a public outcry that officials in Florida launched an investigation into the incident were just the tip of the iceberg, as there also appeared to be more to the story. For instance, separate sources informed Five Ounces of Pain last week that there was also a possibility that a deal had been struck preventing Petruzelli from using “Thai-style kicks on Slice, since he had not prepared for them leading up to the fight.”

I have a problem with this. As a writer, if you have information that not only can advance a story in the media with new details but also impact a current, on-going investigation, then start talking. By admitting this news item in the manner in which it was stated, it comes off as if you’re saying, “Well, if Elite XC hadn’t closed its doors, I might have not said anything about this.” Fightlinker raised this same type of media issue in regards to Dave Meltzer two weeks ago:

One question though: If Seth hadn’t opened this big old can of worms, would Meltzer and Alvarez have spoken up about all this?

On a media-related sidenote…

It’s easy for MMA web sites to trash Elite XC now that they are closing up shop, but yet there were a few noticeable MMA outlets that wouldn’t state their candid opinions about the organization when the company was still in business. Let me give a tip of the cap to sites like AOL Fanhouse (Michael David Smith), Yahoo Sports (Steve Cofield and crew), Bloody Elbow, MMA Convert, and Fightlinker (just to name a few sites) that told it like it was regarding Elite XC and didn’t hide their true feelings about the company during its existence in the MMA business.

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Topics: Media, MMA, Pro Elite, Zach Arnold | 24 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

24 Responses to “TJ Thompson: “Seth [Petruzelli] was paid to stand up””

  1. Pierre-Luc Allie says:

    TJ Thompson wants to make sure Jeremy Lappen and Jared Shaw have no future in the MMA business.

    I think he said it for the good of the sport and to screw people that should have been below him in the compagny hierachy.

  2. Kid Nate says:

    Who are you beefing on? Caplan or Thompson?

    Thanks for the shout out to BloodyElbow btw, we try to call ’em like we sees ’em.

    Ed. — I was referring to Caplan, but now that you phrase the question that way… it does add an interesting perspective to Thompson’s comments.

  3. D.Capitated says:

    In between all the “I told you so” type comments around the web, reading the articles from Meltzer and Caplan gives a pretty different feel of EXC than the bleakness of what most of the given sites provides. The company was basically a verbal gaffe away from a pretty interesting future.

  4. Evan says:

    “For instance, separate sources informed Five Ounces of Pain last week that there was also a possibility that a deal had been struck preventing Petruzelli from using “Thai-style kicks on Slice, since he had not prepared for them leading up to the fight.””

    Doesn’t that imply that Bas had a hand in this mess if Thai kicks were such an issue? Why would that have been brought up? Did Bas tell them to make sure Seth didn’t use them?

  5. Rollo the Cat says:

    “Doesn’t that imply that Bas had a hand in this mess if Thai kicks were such an issue? Why would that have been brought up? Did Bas tell them to make sure Seth didn’t use them?”

    Wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

  6. Evan says:

    I just have a very difficult time believing Kimbo would sit there and say…

    “well you know I haven’t trained to properly defend Thai kicks, what can we do about that?”

    That’s something only his trainer would think of. I am a big fan of Bas but this really screams of his involvement now. Ugh….

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    How soon before Affliction goes out of business? Will they even put on a second show? The fact that they haven’t even officially announced their January show is a bad sign.

    If they go out of business too, then fighters are really screwed. Strikeforce runs a smart business, and will likely only take on a handful of fighters. The rest will be at the whim of Zuffa. Japan will only take a few guys. I have always said MMA is best served with one organization running the entire sport…. And I still believe that. However, if Zuffa gets full control (which is looks like they will), a guy like Randy Couture (once he is retired) needs to stand up and get a fighter’s union working.

    As much as it stinks for the fighters to have less options, yesterday was a great day for MMA. Exposure for the sport is a wonderful thing. But it has to be the correct kind of exposure. It can’t be street fighters, dancers, phoney weight classes, and corrupt people.

  8. Steve says:

    When are you guys gunna remember Cung-Les’ first couple fights? everyone knew they were paid to stand.

    If Elite gets done, Strikeforce should as well.

  9. Fluyid says:

    With the continued influx of TUF fighters, is there enough room and are there enough fight cards for Zuffa to take on all of the deserving fighters? Nope.

  10. Rollo the Cat says:

    “With the continued influx of TUF fighters, is there enough room and are there enough fight cards for Zuffa to take on all of the deserving fighters? Nope.”

    Not all TUFers make it to the UFC and there is still plenty of room for the top guys, especially with the WEC around.

  11. zack says:

    Randy will have no clout to push for a union if he’s retired. You’d need someone like a Chuck Liddell while he’s in his prime, or maybe a GSP right now, although who knows if he has enough clout.

    “I have always said MMA is best served with one organization running the entire sport”

    That’s because you’re an organizational nuthugger. The sport would be best with two successful promotions, ideally operating under the same rules (Icon title fight rules would be my preference.)

    Some people like to state that the UFC could be like the NFL, or the NBA, but the structure isn’t like that at all. Those orgs have multiple different owners who create the bidding wars for talent. If UFC was the only promotion, there would be no bidding war, and no reason for them to pay good money for talent. The quality of cards will start to lack even more.

    For everyone who wants outside orgs to fail, just think…if there was no Affliction show, you wouldn’t have been able to see Anderson Silva, Brandon Vera, & Cain Velasquez on free TV the same night. Competition is good for everyone. It keeps a fire under Dana’s ass to put on consistently good cards and try to smash everyone.

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    Couture doesn’t have to be active to have a true influence on a fighter’s union. He is extremely well respected amongst the athletes and has a gym with access to many of the sports stars. If he spoke up and said: “We need a union to protect ourselves!”, I have little doubt that the majority of fighter would rally behind him.

    As for me being an organizational nuthugger…. That just isn’t true. I just see the Two Organizational system that you speak of being a pure and catagorical failure. Boxing did this for a while with the WBC and WBA. Then before we knew it, we had the IBF and WBO. The more working parts there are, the better chance for failure.

    One organization to rule them all would guarantee the best fighters compete against each other. A union would guarantee a certain level of pay for the fighters. That is the best of both worlds. It is top talent and checks and balances all rolled up into one nice little organization.

    I have been preaching this for a while. Unfortunetely, with the money marks in the sport, it seems like it has taken a little longer to get to this point…. But progress is being made.

    After the UFC signed Jake Shields, they will have basically all the top talent in the world at Light Heavyweight and Welterweight. It’s only a matter of time before they flesh out the rest of the divisions.

  13. zack says:

    A union will never happen as long as the UFC is structured like it is, just like there will never be a WWE union at this point.

    “Couture doesn’t have to be active to have a true influence on a fighter’s union. He is extremely well respected amongst the athletes and has a gym with access to many of the sports stars.”

    Maybe…but you think the lower level guys in that gym can afford to strike? You’re crazy. And for as well respected as Randy is, not all the guys in his gym think the same as him. Even in the midst of Couture’s whole anti-UFC holdout, Forrest is basically the only fighter who refuses to talk to Sherdog out of loyalty to Dana.

  14. […] Zach Arnold takes some umbrage to this: I have a problem with this. As a writer, if you have information that not only can advance a story in the media with new details but also impact a current, on-going investigation, then start talking. By admitting this news item in the manner in which it was stated, it comes off as if you’re saying, “Well, if Elite XC hadn’t closed its doors, I might have not said anything about this.” […]

  15. IceMuncher says:

    “A union will never happen as long as the UFC is structured like it is”

    A two promotion sport will never happen as long as the UFC runs things the way they currently are. I’d be willing to bet a union happens first.

  16. banter says:

    Unions suck

  17. […] The fallout from EXC’s demise has struck an un-nerving tone for many: […]

  18. jdavis says:

    There are a lot of things going on when talking about which would be better for the sport, one org or competition.

    Right off the bat there is the fact that even if the UFC was the only game in town they still would have to push a interesting quality product; their competition isn’t just other MMA organizations it’s every single other leisure entertainment out there that is gunning for consumers money. If their product is crap then it doesn’t matter if they are the only org the casual fans will go buy a video game or watch another tv show or find anything else that interest them instead of paying for a UFC ppv. Casual fans are what pays the bills and they are a fickle lot, if you don’t keep their attention they will move on to something that will. Buying MMA ppvs isn’t a necessity it’s a entertainment luxury and there are plenty of those out there.

    It should also be point out that what is good for MMA fighters isn’t necessarily good for the fans. Fighters are a product expense that gets passed on to the consumer. Also for fans it’s great if they get to see all the best fight the best but for fighters it’s better if their are multiple organizations bidding for their services(another cost that gets passed on to consumers). A fighters union would work the same way, it could be good for the fighters(key word “could”) but that doesn’t mean that it would necessarily be a good thing for fans.

    What is best for the sport is just a very complicated question and depending on what angle you are looking at it from there can be several different answers.

  19. skwirrl says:

    “One organization to rule them all would guarantee the best fighters compete against each other”

    Ha what fantasy world are you living in? Without any competition Zuffa can feed you UFC 89 over and over and over again and let the top paid talent fall to the wayside. They’d promote the new Tuffers as the best fighters ever and the Fedors/A.Silvas/GSPs/BjPenns as the past who could never compete with them.

    They already do this with Fedor, Barnett, Sylvia and AA.

    All we would get from this is Tuf fights from garbage domestic US fighters making pennies and being sold to the rubes with the UFC making 95% of the profits.

  20. jdavis says:

    “Ha what fantasy world are you living in? Without any competition Zuffa can feed you UFC 89 over and over and over again and let the top paid talent fall to the wayside.”

    If the UFC did that they would lose the fans and be out of business. Without competition the UFC would still have to provide a product that is more interesting to the 18-35 age demographic than anything else they are wanting to spend their money on or they would fail as a company, the UFC will never be without competition because their competition is every other sport and tv show and leisure entertainment out there.

    All professional sports are businesses, their goal isn’t to destroy their competition it’s to sell their product to as many consumers as possible. Even if we woke up tomorrow and the UFC was a complete global MMA monopoly they would still have to sign and pay the star fighters that draw fan attention and deliver a quality product or people would stop watching and Spike would replace them with another tv show.

  21. skwirrl says:

    ^They would only lose the hardcore fans that already are pissed at the tripe they feed us anyways. The mainstream fan that hates Machida and pays to watch 2 unskilled guys punch each other in face with little gloves on would still be there.

  22. 45 Huddle says:

    The UFC will never turn that bad as people are trying to say if the competition is gone.

    1. They have to protect against becoming like boxing. From that alone, we will get stacked cards at least a few times a year (like we do now).

    2. The UFC isn’t EliteXC. They don’t pay guys purely to stand and strike. They have an appreciation for grappling and finding out the best in the world. There is a reason why they went after Fedor with a $1+ Million contract despite his market value being substantially lower. At the end of the day, The Fertitta’s still want to see the best fight each other.

  23. cyph says:

    Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods

    There are substitute products: Other sports; within combat sports: boxing, kickboxing.

    If the UFC allows itself to stagnate, it will lose market share to other sports and open the door to new competitors.

    Barriers to entry is high when they provide a compelling product, but low when their product stinks.

    Having one dominant player in MMA sport is not the same thing as having a monopoly. Don’t listen to the Sherdog forum. They don’t know what they’re talking about. Monopolies exist only when there are no alternative within an industry MMA is not an industry in itself.

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