ProElite Not Done Just Yet

Written by Tom Ngo
November 3rd, 2008

The roller coaster ride that is ProElite seems to have taken yet another turn.  Just two weeks after the promotion laid off the majority of its staff and informed their fighters that they were going to be closing their doors, it now seems as though the financially plagued company is still attempting to promote MMA events in the coming year. However, with a reported $60 million debt hanging over their heads, ProElite’s most recent notice may just be their final attempt to buy some much needed time.

“Elite XC and ProElite are currently downsizing its staff in an effort to improve its business moving forward,” the company’s notice stated. “As this process is implemented, Elite XC canceled the event previously scheduled for Nov. 8 in an attempt to re-schedule another event in early 2009.”

This notice is a complete contradiction with the company’s actions, and the comments made by EliteXC Manager of Fight Operations J.T. Steele just two weeks ago.  At the time, Steele had notified the Nevada State Athletic Commission that ProElite was not only cancelling their November 8th show in Reno, but that the company was closing down as well.

What may have started this “resurrection” were the actions of many of their fighters’ managers after being notified about the company’s future. Most managers filed a notice to ProElite stating that they were in breach of their contract. There is a clause in each EliteXC fighter’s contract stating that if the organization is unable to keep the fighters working, then the fighter has the right to terminate their contract.

In layman’s terms, once EliteXC receives notice from a fighter stating that they are prepared to work, they have 30 days to make corrections, otherwise the contract will be voided.

Cesar Gracie, trainer and manager of EliteXC fighters Nick Diaz and Jake Shields, was the first to file a formal notice to the company.

“EliteXC representatives have vowed that they will continue operations and will be planning a show in early 2009,” according to GracieFighter.com. “Most of the major EliteXC fighters under contract have been notified. Lead counsel for the organization has informed us that contrary to popular belief, EliteXC has not filed for bankruptcy and has merely scaled down their staff.”

It is being reported that at the time of bankruptcy filings, ProElite only had liquid assets totaling $500,000, with no fight executives or management under employment. The remaining staff consists primarily of attorneys and accountants to sift through the remains.

This notice is likely ProElite’s last ditch effort to generate some last-second funds. The company may be attempting to sell the rights of the fighters that are still under contract to other MMA promotions, instead of just letting them walk away for nothing.

“They’re trying to buy time, to see if they can get more money from whomever,” Gracie commented.

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