When Seth Petruzelli dropped Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson at EliteXC: Heat, little did he know that the promotions’ parent company was anchored to Kimbo’s chin. After buying out smaller promotions and acquiring the most top talent available, ProElite, EliteXC’s parent company, found itself overinvested in the outcome of single events and to the surprise of few, crumbled into dust.
It became the job of the UFC and Strikeforce to scrounge through the remains to salvage what was left of the over ambitious empire. What was of most value of course was the fighter contracts that were auctioned off, namely that of Jake Shields; who now sits comfortably as Strikeforce’s middleweight champion. As for controlling interest, what was left of “ProElite” went to Stratus Media Group.
If anything were to be gained by the demise of ProElite, it was this lesson: the United States is too small for multiple major promotions.
Apparently, Paul Feller, CEO of Stratus Media Group, was playing hookey when the teacher told the class and now insists that ProElite is ressurectable, stating that a less aggressive business model will be the key to success; coexistence over competition.
Sadly for ProElite, new management will not change the current environment: the UFC is undoubtedly the premier promotion company in North America and the remaining share of talent have all signed with Strikeforce, who continues to take risks and sign lesser-known, high ranked fighters. With no talent left to obtain, perhaps ProElite will look to secure a lucrative broadcasting deal to get an edge simply to “coexist.” Heading down that road, ProElite will once again find a stalemate: the UFC has conquered the pay-per-view market, boasting nine figure profits and even promoting their sister promotion, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), to pay-per-view status starting April 24 with WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber. As for cable television, Strikeforce has already picked up where ProElite left off.
The one thing EliteXC events brought to the table was airing every main card on CBS and running a series on Showtime as well. This was its bread-and-butter, with Kimbo’s bout with James Thompson shattering the roof of viewer records for MMA. Both CBS and Showtime have signed up with Strikeforce (Showtime simply renamed their XC series ShoMMA – perhaps the ambiguity in the new title suggests their lack of faith in Strikeforce to be the last promotion to deal with Showtime).
If it is coexistence that ProElite wants, it’s not going to find it. Strikeforce is on rocky ground as it is and UFC president Dana White will continue to sit on the sidelines with a shit-eating grin waiting for the overzealous business models of start-up promotions to fail.