Kimbo Slice = Ratings

February 19, 2016

The New York Times reports on Bellator 149 tonight mainly focusing on Kimbo Slice’s return to the television.  Regardless of his ability, the former street fighter has produced ratings and Friday night should not be any different.

The brief NYT article characterizes Bellator as a “smaller mixed martial arts organization” that uses “card attention-grabbing fights that make up in colorfulness what they lack in top-flight talent.”  Although a backhanded compliment, the numbers do not lie.  Scott Coker’s “tent pole” events are always ratings boosts.  Slice has the “it” factor when it comes to viewership.  Last June’s fight against Ken Shamrock drew the highest ratings in Bellator MMA’s history.

Whenever Slice is on television, he draws ratings.  His appearance on TUF in 2009 on Spike TV drew the best ratings for the franchise as the 12 episodes averaged slightly over 3 million viewers.  Of course, the feud brewing between Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson helped keep the viewership base.  Still, Slice was/is a ratings magnate.  It’s worthy to note that the TUF Finale 10 featuring Slice in December 2009 drew 3.7 million viewers and peaked with 5.2 million viewers for his fight with Houston Alexander.

Prior to his stint in the UFC, his Elite XC appearances on CBS drew large ratings with 4.85 million viewers in May 2008 and 4.56 million viewers in October 2008.

Slice versus Dada 5000 will not be a technical matchup but the promotion for the fight has been nothing but spectacular.  If you like grudge matches and want to see old rivals fight, you will tune in to see this.

Payout Perspective:

The Slice-Dada build for this fight has been great.  While the betting lines have brought more scrutiny to this fight, it’s likely that the additional spotlight will bring more viewers tonight.  The fight, which will likely last less than one round, has overshadowed the main event of Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie.

Financial Woes Continue for ProElite

September 6, 2012

In June 2011, Stratus Media Group Inc. acquired 95% ownership in the MMA promotion ProElite, Inc. Stratus also owns a business line that operates film screenings, luxury wine and collectible cars shows in cities such as Santa Barbara, Miami and Las Vegas. ProElite, under the new ownership held their third event this past January in Hawaii which was headlined by Kendall Grove vs. Ikuhisa Minowa.

But parent company Stratus has found themselves in a big financial mess. Julian Moore from the Pacific Coast Business Times recently reported:

In June, Paul Feller was ousted as longtime CEO and was replaced by board member Jerry Rubenstein. Stratus lost $15.8 million in 2011 on a mere $570,476 in revenue and has struggled to regain its footing after briefly shutting down in 2009. The firm faces lawsuits from a number of investors who claim they were misled and its former landlord who says the company owes $200,000 in back rent and damages related to its downtown Santa Barbara offices.

Amidst all the chaos, Stratus released their quarterly financials ending June 29, 2012 which showed a Net Income loss of $3.375 million dollars. This is compared to a Net Income loss of  $2.479 million from the previous quarter. Former CEO Paul Feller has been given four months to help secure $2 million in new capital or he’ll lose his $20,833 per months paycheck.

The Aug. 17 quarterly report also stated:

As a result of the lack of working capital, Stratus has no events currently scheduled pending receipt of sufficient funds from financings which it is currently pursuing. In the absence of obtaining sufficient funds, Stratus will be unable to schedule or reschedule some or all of its events and implement its business plan.

T. Jay Thompson, who was brought in as ProElite’s Head of Fight Operations recently responded to this tweet when asked about the promotion:


Payout Perspective

With no working capital there are no ProElite events planned for the foreseeable future. Stratus is actively pursuing financing however it remains to be seen how successful that venture will be. With the company bleeding money and multiple investor lawsuits pending, the future looks pretty grim.

ProElite announces new CEO

June 29, 2012

ProElite announced Jerold Rubinstein has been appointed CEO and Chairman of the Board of ProElite, Inc and parent Stratus Media Group.  He replaces Paul Feller who steps down but remains as a consultant with the company.

Via press release:

ProElite, Inc. (otc pink:PELE) announced today that Jerold Rubinstein has been appointed CEO and Chairman of the Board of ProElite, Inc. and its parent company Stratus Media Group, Inc. (otcqb:SMDI). Mr. Rubinstein replaces Paul Feller, who will remain a consultant to the company.

Mr. Rubinstein has been a member of the board of directors of Stratus since March 2011 and has been chairman of the audit committee since that time. He is a member of the board of directors and the chairman of the audit committee of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. Restaurants and Hardee’s Restaurants, which had $1.3 billion in revenues in 2011. He also serves as the non-executive chairman of U.S. Global Investors Inc., a mutual fund advisory company which had $42 million of revenues in 2011 and $2.6 billion of assets under management. Mr. Rubinstein has created and sold numerous companies during his career, including Bel Air Savings and Loan and DMX, a cable and satellite music distribution company. Mr. Rubinstein started and sold XTRA Music Ltd., a satellite and cable music distribution company in Europe. Most recently Mr. Rubinstein consults with, and serves on, 3 early stage development companies. Mr. Rubinstein is both a CPA and attorney.



Payout Perspective:

It will be interesting to see how Rubinstein will do with ProElite.  As reported this past March, ProElite was delinquent with its SEC reporting.  At the time of the report, ProElite indicated that it would take care of the necessary filings with the SEC.  As of now, ProElite has no events scheduled and it could be a result of the lack of capital at this point.  Hopefully, Rubinstein will be able to turn the company around.

SEC Files Order Against ProElite

March 22, 2012

On March 20th, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an administrative release stating that ProElite was delinquent in its periodic filings with the Commission, having filed some but not all of the required periodic reports.

The release can be read below:

SEC PE Filing

The order states the following:

” ProElite, Inc. (“PELE”) (CIK No. 1015789) is a New Jersey corporation located  in Los Angeles, California with a class of securities registered with the Commission pursuant to  Exchange Act Section 12(g).  PELE is delinquent in its periodic filings with the Commission,  having filed some but not all of the required periodic reports.  The most recent filings were a Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2008 and a Form 10-K for the period ended December 30, 2008, both filed November 21, 2011.  The Form 10-K reported a net loss of $55,567,437 for the prior twelve months.  The last report previously filed was for the period ended June 30, 2008, which was filed on August 19, 2008.  As of March 16, 2012, the common  stock of PELE was quoted on OTC Link (previously “Pink Sheets”) operated by OTC Markets  Group, Inc. (“OTC Link”), had ten market makers, and was eligible for the “piggyback”  exception of Exchange Act Rule 15c2-11(f)(3)”

Payout Perspective:

The SEC has requested for ProElite to file a response within 10 days from the day the order was issued.  If PE fails to file an answer within the period granted, they could be deemed in default and the proceedings will determine the allegations against it to be true.  The Administrative Law Judge will issue an initial decision no later than 120 days (around July/August of this year) regarding the allegations stated above.

In terms of ProElite and the SEC filing, Stratus Media Group (parent group of ProElite) CEO Paul Feller told MMAPayout that this “does not impact the daily operations of ProElite”, as it is a “total separate matter carried over from the old Pro Elite group.” He went on to state that “We’re doing all the necessary paperwork required to comply with the SEC and to lift the temporary hold placed on ProElite.” Feller expects a resolution to the matter in a “very short time frame”.

In terms of running the operation on a day-to-day basis, it is “business as usual” according ProElite Head of Fight Operations T.Jay Thompson. “We are thrilled to be where we are. We have a wonderful TV partner in HDNet and expect to continue that partnership and to grow with them under the new AXS TV brand,  as they will further expand their reach into millions of homes.” ProElite is currently “re-fueling” and targeting a Summer date for their next event rumored to be held in California around June.

ProElite offers free tickets for dressing like Minowaman

January 12, 2012

Cagewriter reports that ProElite will offer a free ticket to any fan donning fighter Minowaman’s attire. The Japanese fighter of Pride fame usually wear’s speedo-like red trunks when he grapples.

Via T. Jay Thompson’s twitter:

Payout Perspective:

Its a creative promotion to gain publicity for one of its top attractions for the 1/21 event as well as boost attendance. There should also be some interesting photo-ops.

We all recall the UFC chastised Dennis Hallman for wearing speedos in his match against Brian Ebersole. And next week, we may have an arena full of people wearing speedos.

11 for 11: No. 11 ProElite reemerges in 2011

December 20, 2011

In the next two weeks MMA Payout will be bringing you the top 11 MMA business stories of 2011. Sure, you will dispute our rankings but its a nice review of what’s happened over a very active 2011 in the MMA business.

11. ProElite reemerges for two events in 2011

Entertainment company Stratus Media Group acquired a 95% stake in Pro Elite in June which started the wheels toward the company’s first card in August. MMA Payout had a two part exclusive with VP of Fight Operations T. Jay Thompson. In addition to Thompson, ex-Strikeforce exec Rich Chou was an important acquisition for the company.

The debut card, Pro Elite 1, held the same day as UFC Rio on August 27th was streamed live on Sherdog. It was held in Honolulu, Hawaii. The card featured Andre Arlovlski, Reagan Penn and Kendall Grove.

In October, it announced a multi-fight, multi-year TV deal with HD Net. Pro Elite 2: Big Guns, was held on November 5th in Moline, Illinois.Its next card is scheduled for January 21, 2012 at the same location as PE1.

It will be interesting to see how ProElite does with its third event and how it will expand in 2012.

ProElite Signs Multi-Year TV Deal With HDNet

October 18, 2011

ProElite announced a new multi-fight, multi-year TV deal with HDNet last night during Inside MMA’s live broadcast debut on the network. The first ProElite televised event on HDNet will be “HDNet Fights: ProElite – Big Guns”, taking place at the iWireless Center in Moline, IL on November 5th.

“After watching their first event in Hawaii, I could see ProElite was a great fit for HDNet,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “This upcoming card has the perfect mix of marquee names and an innovative Heavyweight tournament that fight fans won’t want to miss!”

Former UFC Heavyweight Champions Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski will headline the event in separate bouts in addition to an 8-man Heavyweight tournament to identify the up-and-coming talent among MMA’s heavy hitters.

“Our multi-fight agreement with HDNet elevates the ProElite brand to a national MMA audience with a preeminent broadcast partner,” said Paul Feller, President and CEO of Stratus Media Group and Chairman of ProElite. “This strategic partnership offers new opportunities for corporate sponsors and advertisers looking to reach this passionate and rapidly growing audience of ProElite fans.”

ProElite will soon announce its full fight card, which will include some of Quad Cities favorite fighters and emerging MMA talent. Tickets are now on sale at the iWireless Center box office and on


Payout Perspective:

It had been long speculated that ProElite was in heavy talks with HDNet to televise their second event after reviving the ProElite brand earlier this year.  After all, it made complete sense considering that Head of Fight Operations T.J. Thompson has been adamant about signing a TV deal which corresponded to the current stage of the reborn MMA promotion.

If you recall, Strikeforce also signed a similar TV deal with HDNet back in 2008, just before signing their monumental TV deal with Showtime and CBS just a few months later. The deal proved to be key to Strikeforce’s growth, as it catapulted them to the #2 MMA promotion in the U.S. and maintaining that title until being purchased by UFC’s parent company – Zuffa – earlier this year.

The November 5th event will host a prospect HW GP along with Arlovski vs Fulton and Sylvia vs Kraniotakes as the main events.


ProElite: Big Guns Card on HDNet:
Tim Sylvia (29-7) vs Andreas Kraniotakes (12-4)
Andrei Arlovski (16-9) vs Travis Fulton (247-48)

HW Grand Prix Portion:
Mark Ellis (1-0) vs Ryan Martinez (5-1)
Richard Odoms (5-0) vs Jason Bosler (3-1)
Jake Heun (1-1) vs Chris Birchler (1-0)
Walt Harris (3-1) vs Esteves Jones (7-2)


MMA Promotion ProElite & UFC Hall of Famer Featured on CBS’ Hawaii Five-0

September 15, 2011

It looks like CBS is not completely done with MMA just quite yet.  Los Angeles based MMA promotion ProElite and CBS top rated show “Hawaii Five-0” have teamed up to create an episode based around the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and UFC & MMA Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell.

ProElite’s Head of Fight Operations T.Jay Thompson stated the following on Twitter:

“#1 rated show Hawaii 5-0 shooting an episode based around a Pro Elite MMA event today. @Rich_Chou and I on set at Blaisdell Arena.I think there may be some raised eyebrows when you find out who is playing the role of ProElite fighter opposite McGarret on H50.”

The episode (Episode 6, Season 2) will air this fall and will feature no other than UFC and MMA Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell playing the role of ProElite MMA fighter who takes on Hawaii 5-0 star Alex O’Loughlin (Steve McGarrett).

Hawaii Five-0 Season 2 Preview on CBS:


Payout Perspective:

ProElite held it’s first event last month (8/27) in Hawaii under new Stratus Media ownership.  The event took place at the Blaisdell Arena, which interestingly enough is the same location where the Hawaii Five-0 MMA episode is filming.  The episode is set to air this fall on CBS, which is around the same time ProElite is rumored to host it’s second event from New Jersey.

Thompson informed MMAPayout back in July that the goal was to have a TV deal in place by the second event targeted for early November. The exposure that ProElite will gain from being featured on a top rated CBS show is another step in the right direction for the promotion in achieving that goal. For it’s first event, ProElite was able to sign-on high profile sponsors such as Monster Energy Drink and PayPal without a TV deal and only a stream on in place.  For the second event, the goal will be to land a TV deal that is suitable for a company who is scheduling only their second event under new management and personnel.

Chuck Liddell retired from MMA in late 2010 and was appointed as Executive Vice President of Business Development for the UFC shortly after.  At the time, he still wanted to fight but agreed to retire from MMA to take a job with the UFC. At press time, it is not known whether this project is part of his job with the UFC or independent work, and if so, if he had UFC’s blessing to jump inside the cage promoting a non-Zuffa owned MMA brand.

Monster and Coors Light to Sponsor ProElite August 27 Hawaii Event

August 26, 2011

Just a couple of days before hosting their first MMA event since 2008, ProElite announced they have added Monster Energy and Coors Light as sponsors for Saturday’s event taking place in the Blaisdell Arena in Hawaii.

ProElite, Inc. (PELE.PK) today announces that Monster, Inc. and Coors Light have signed on as presenting sponsors for the Hawaii fight.

“Having two major companies as presenting sponsors of our first fight is a significant step forward with the newly rebranded ProElite,” commented Billy Kelly, President and COO of ProElite. “I’m excited at the prospect of future sponsor support for all our fights going forward.”

ProElite will host its pre-fight open press conference today at 2pm HST in the Kahili Room at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel. The weigh-in, which is open to the public, will be held tomorrow at 2pm HST also in the Kahili Room.

Saturday’s fight will stream live on from Neal S. Blaisdell Arena. Tickets are on sale at and at the arena box office.


NOTE: During the press conference, Stratus Media CEO Paul Feller stated in an interview with that ProElite has been a wonderful acquisition. We have turned ProElite from being a “We have taken stock from $0.02 cent to $0.60 cents and still growing.” Link: PELE


Payout Perspective:

Back in July when MMAPayout interviewed ProElite’s VP of Fight Operations T. Jay Thompson, he mentioned that they weren’t expecting any major sponsors for the August 27 event in Hawaii.  One month later, Stratus Media and ProElite announce that Monster Energy Drink and Coors Light will be sponsoring the event.  Needless to say that getting these type of sponsors for a show that won’t even be televised and is scheduled to stream on after UFC 134 is over is pretty remarkable.  It’s also a very good sign for the company.

Since Stratus Media officially took over the majority stake in ProElite earlier this year, it has always made it a point to state that they will be using their partnerships and connections within the entertainment and events industry to cross-promote and assist ProElite.  Assisting ProElite in getting “big name” sponsors will put them in a position where they are one step closer to being TV ready, which they hope to accomplish by the second show. Regardless, building up their roster to accommodate the amount of shows targeted for 2012 will be an ongoing process and an uphill battle the group will face, but if this Saturday’s card is any indication, the great mix of known veterans, prospects, and regional draws is a proven formula to steer them on the right course.

Bellator remains committed to MTV2

August 18, 2011

Despite Thursday’s news of the UFC-Fox deal and its departure from Spike TV, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney indicated that he remains committed to MTV2. MMA Junkie reports that while Rebney admits the UFC deal has “shifted the landscape,” he is not clear if it has a direct impact on Bellator’s business.

Viacom owns Spike TV and MTV2 and while an interchannel move could occur, Bellator has not indicated a desire to do so. Yet, moving to Spike TV could benefit the company.

Via MMA Junkie:

It’s without question, though, that the promotion could get help from Spike TV, and vice versa. Spike TV is available in 96 million homes while MTV2 is available in 80 million homes. The success of the UFC has raised the cable channel’s profile, which has paved the way for greater advertising dollars. That’s not lost on parent companies such as the one that owns both channels.

Payout Perspective:

Moving to a bigger network, reaching more homes and going to a place with a history of showing MMA seems like an easy move to make for Bellator. It has made strides with tv ratings on MTV2 and while there could be an argument that it does not want to upset its momentum on MTV2 and does not want to be confused with the UFC, Bellator moving to Spike TV makes sense. A bigger audience with the targeted demo (Males 18-34) on Spike TV. Granted, Bellator would want to make sure it lands in a good time slot on Spike TV, but the move would be the best thing for the company.

If Bellator remains with MTV2, there are other options for Spike TV. There is ProElite which is streaming its first PPV online immediately after UFC 134. Also, there is Shark Fights, a Texas-based organization that has a tv deal with FUEL TV until the end of the year.

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