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Thursday, October 23, 2008
Mixed Martial Arts--- ProElite Employee to NSAC Chief: No "Muay Thai-Style Kicks" Allowed in Kimbo/Petruzelli Fight
by Ivan Trembow
ProElite CEO Chuck Champion and in-house counsel Keith Wallner were on the phone during the Nevada State Athletic Commission's meeting on Wednesday and discussed the scandal involving the fight between Seth Petruzelli and Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson. NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer said that he previously spoke with ProElite representatives and was told that the reports of Petruzelli being paid to stand up were completely untrue, and that nothing improper occurred.
However, Kizer said that about two weeks ago, he had a conversation with someone from ProElite whom Kizer did not name. As later recalled in comments to MMAWeekly, this is Kizer's account of that conversation: "Someone affiliated with ProElite told me that the fighter or his camp said that he had not been training to fight a Muay Thai specialist and thus he had not trained to defend Muay Thai-style kicks, so that he would agree to fight the proposed opponent if the opponent agreed not to use any such kicks, and that information was told to that opponent."
After recalling this information during the NSAC's meeting on Wednesday, Kizer said that he was curious to ask Champion and Wallner if there was any truth to that. Wallner essentially said that he had never heard of anything like that.
Champion said that he was present for the negotiations, and that nothing like that happened in his presence, and that nothing at all improper happened in his presence. Champion said that both fighters did have a KO bonus, but that is standard in the industry and that approximately 30 to 40 percent of ProElite's fighters have KO bonuses in their contracts.
During the meeting, Champion and Wallner also discussed the cancellation of the EliteXC event that had been scheduled to take place in Reno, Nevada on November 8. Champion said that CBS/Showtime had been scheduled to underwrite the costs of the November 8th event, just as CBS/Showtime paid for the October 4th event. However, CBS/Showtime backed out of underwriting the costs of the November 8th event, and ProElite did not have sufficient funds to put on the event with its own funds.