According to several sources around the internet, embattled MMA promotion EliteXC has officially refuted earlier claims that they had ceased operations and are closing up shop. The promotion states that they have merely cancelled their event scheduled for this Saturday, a show that was to be headlined by a showdown between EliteXC Middleweight Champ Robbie Lawler and contender Joey Villasenor as well as a title fight between top Lightweights Nick Diaz and Eddie Alverez, in order to scale back operations and make some necessary staff cuts in order to better set up their next show.
“EliteXC and ProElite are currently down sizing it’s staff in an effort to improve it’s business moving forward,” an official notice says. “As this process is implemented, EliteXC cancelled the event previously scheduled for Nov. 8 in attempt to reschedule another event in early 2009.”
Of course, many people in the MMA community believe this may just be an attempt to stall on the part of ProElite, the parent company of EliteXC. On October 30th, Nick Diaz was the first fighter to file a breach of contract against ProElite in order to settle the terms of his contract and be able to seriously consider his opportunities with other organizations. In compliance with his contract, ProElite then had thirty days to prove that they have the ability to hold up their end of the deal. Not everyone is convinced that this notice proves anything though.
“They’re trying to buy time, to see if they can get more money from whomever,” Diaz’ manager, Cesar Gracie said.
Top fight talent manager Monte Cox seems to feel the same way.
“I’m just guessing, but I think they’re trying to keep people to the contracts and sell them,” he said. “Or maybe they’re going to try and stay active. It’s hard to say. It appeared to be obvious that they’re were going to cease operations, and if that’s the case, my guys have got to make a living,” he said. “If they’re going to continue to fight and they are going to honor the contract, that’s fine, we’ll honor the contract. But (EliteXC) has to prove to me that they’re really going to do this. Sending me a letter saying we plan to have a fight in 2009, that doesn’t prove to me that you’re going to be in business. So we’re going to need a little more than that.”
After signing the most mainstream deal in MMA when they aligned with CBS, EliteXC has only seemed to stumble in their bid to be the top MMA promotion in the U.S. After lackluster main events headlined by charismatic newcomer Kevin ‘Kimbo Slice’ Ferguson and overwhelming controversy after their last event, flip flopping on if their company is actually able to stand on it’s own two feet or not is surely not the best way to endear themselves to the MMA community and almost certainly not the best way to go about promoting the sport in such a public spotlight. However, it seems only time will tell if ProElite will be able to dig itself out of the proverbial hole it’s dug for itself.