EliteXC Head of Fight Operations Jeremy Lappen has issued a lengthy statement in response to recent reports that Kimbo Slice’s recent opponents, Seth Petruzelli and Ken Shamrock, were offered money to keep the fight standing.
Here is Lappen’s statement in its entirety:
“Press reports that EliteXC suggested or paid money to heavyweight fighter Seth Petruzelli to keep his fight against Kimbo Slice off the ground are false. Let me be perfectly clear with no ambiguity — that did not happen.
“Seth Petruzelli was offered a fee to fight Kimbo Slice, plus a knockout bonus, a common practice throughout the industry. EliteXC organizes and promotes fights. We have not…do not…and will not suggest or dictate fighters’ strategies or tactics. How the fighters perform in the cage is at the sole discretion of the athletes involved.
“The circumstances leading up to the Petruzelli/Slice fight were unusual. Ken Shamrock was declared medically ineligible less than three hours before the fight. As an organization, we made a decision to serve the paying audience in the arena and the prime time audience at home by delivering on a Kimbo Slice fight, which we had promised. This was done simply and solely with a standard fee and bonus offer to Petruzelli and by increasing the purse to Slice. Elite XC is grateful to both Seth and Kimbo for taking this fight against an opponent they didn’t train for and on such short notice.
“In addition, reports that Frank Shamrock volunteered that evening to fight Kimbo Slice are true. Frank is a competitive fighter and he was willing to step up for his organization and the MMA fans. His offer was very greatly appreciated, but everyone in the room knew when he made the offer that it wasn’t a realistic possibility on such short notice.
“Despite all the craziness leading up to and in the aftermath of the event, the evening was a resounding success. The fights were diverse, impressive and entertaining, and I think the Seth/Kimbo fight speaks to the excitement and unpredictability of the sport. Great potential match-ups lie ahead for all the fighters involved that evening.
“And, the television ratings exceeded everyone’s expectations. In fact, the broadcast on CBS was the #1 entertainment and sports program of the night among the adults 18-34 and male 18-34 demographics, topping competing MLB Baseball Divisional games on TBS and college football games on both broadcast and cable. These ratings, and the intense discussion that has followed, speak volumes to the interest and future of this growing sport.”
In related news, the Florida State Boxing Commission, which also oversees mixed martial arts events in the state, will not be investigating the claims further as they have not uncovered any wrongdoing on the part of EliteXC.