Elite XC down for the count

Posted by Andy Durham on October 21, 2008 at 12:32 pm under Professional | Comments are off for this article

from Dave Meltzer, long-time publisher of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter(WON) and long-time associate of GSPN’s Bruce Mitchell, now covering Mixed Martial Arts(MMA) for yahoo.news/sports.com. Here’s the news on the EliteXC from Dave Meltzer:

Elite XC, which produced seven of the 10 most-watched MMA matches in U.S. history on two CBS specials in recent months, will be closing its doors at the end of the week, leaving a roster of fighters, including top-draws Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano, looking for work in a constricted environment.

Elite XC joins the International Fight League and Bodog Fight as high-profile competitors to the industry leader, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, to fold during the past year.

With deals with CBS and Showtime, the latter a major shareholder, Elite XC had the exposure the other failed challengers lacked, but lost more than $55 million in its two years of operation. Its losses included having a bad television deal in the first year with Showtime, causing them to lose money on every show; losing millions on trying, and failing, to build a website that was designed to be a destination for the MMA community; and purchasing four promotions outright and putting money into a fifth.

One of them, the U.K.-based Cage Rage promotion, set them back $18 million in losses.

“I got a call earlier [Monday] telling me they were shutting down,” said Frank Shamrock, who was a television commentator, a main event fighter and a shareholder in the promotion.

Elite XC’s two biggest attractions, Slice and Carano, are unlikely to be moving to the sport’s highest-profile group. UFC president Dana White has repeatedly said he won’t use Slice, who made his reputation as a backyard streetfighter on YouTube videos but is not the caliber of even a mid-level MMA pro. White also has said he’s not interested in promoting women’s fighting, although Carano’s success as a draw may cause him to reconsider. Her match with Kelly Kobold two weeks ago ended up adding more new viewers than any MMA match on television in the U.S.

Several agents for fighters have been in contact all day with the UFC. Some, like welterweight champion Jake Shields, would be welcomed into the promotion.


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