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No Wrongdoing by EliteXC

Written by Tom Ngo
October 7th, 2008
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Two days after Seth Petruzelli shocked the MMA world when he upset Kimbo Slice at “EliteXC: Heat,” and a day after he turned the MMA world upside down with his claims that EliteXC offered him more money to make his fight against Kimbo strictly a stand up affair, EliteXC has been cleared by the Florida State Boxing Commission of any impropriety. EliteXC has been emphatically denying any such deal when they offered the fight to the last-minute replacement.

“The promoters kind of hinted to me, and they gave me the money to stand and trade with him. They didn’t want me to take him down, let’s just put it that way,” is what Petruzelli initially stated Monday on the “Monters in the Morning Show” on 104.1 FM in Orlando, Florida.

Later in the day, Petruzelli backpedaled from his initial statements, telling FiveOuncesOfPain.com that he may have misinterpreted what EliteXC management was telling him in the locker room prior to the fight.

“What was meant to be said was that I wanted to keep the fight standing for myself because I knew that was what the crowd, the promoters, and everyone wanted to see because that’s more exciting than just taking someone to the ground,” Petruzelli told the MMA website. “That was my thing only. I wanted to keep it exciting, so I decided to keep it standing. It had nothing to do with anybody else. That was all me.”

MMAWeekly.com spoke today with Alexis Antonacci, the Press Secretary for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, who spoke on behalf of the Florida State Boxing commission.

“We take Petruzelli’s comments to mean that he got paid more to move up in the card,” Antonacci told MMAWeekly.com. “Which is accurate and perfectly within the regulations. Because without someone, him in this case, stepping in to be part of the main event, the event would not have gone off.”

Antonacci told the website that there were FSBC officials present when EliteXC was negotiating Petruzelli’s new deal for being upgraded from a non-televised undercard bout, to the main event of the night. The FSBC officials verified that there was no impropriety.

“Our interpretation is that the comments made were in reference to the promoter asking him to join a fight that he wasn’t originally scheduled for,” Antonacci continued. “We don’t believe any wrongdoing occurred. That being said, if someone believes that wrongdoing did occur, they can file a complaint with the commission, with the department, and we will look into it.”

So for now, this seems to be a dead issue, much to the delight of EliteXC. However, because Petruzelli was the one that voluntarily offered this information, there will always be a cloud of doubt looming over Saturday’s “Heat” event.

(Photo Courtesy of Tom Casino/EliteXC/CBS)

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