Since Monday when Seth Petruzelli went on an Orlando, Florida radio show stating that EliteXC brass offered him more money if he kept his fight against Kimbo Slice a stand up battle, EliteXC has been in spin control overdrive. EliteXC vice president Jared Shaw has vehemently denied Petruzelii’s statements on numerous media outlets, however the controversy will not die. Today, EliteXC’s head of fight operations, Jeremy Lappen, released a definitive statement hoping to put an end the week-long controversy.
“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,” Lappen emphatically stated.
“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 controversy started when Petruzelli was offered to fight in the main event of “EliteXC: Heat,” when Ken Shamrock was forced to pull out of his fight against Kimbo due to a cut he suffered during a light training session just hours before the fight. Petruzelli was initially slated to compete on a non-televised preliminary bout earlier on the card.
When EliteXC management, including Shaw, were negotiating Petruzelli’s new contract in his locker room, Petruzelli initially stated that EliteXC had offered him an additional bonus if he didn’t try to take the company’s most prized fighter to the ground. Petruzelli later recanted his initial statement, saying that his original comments were misconstrued.
“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,” continued Lappen. “This was done simply and solely with a standard fee and bonus offer to Petruzelli and by increasing the purse to Slice.”
EliteXC is hoping that this statement will help bring this controversy to an end, however that may just be wishful thinking.