Report: Kimbo vs Petruzelli Fight Officially Under Investigation

October 10, 2008

The Mercury News of San Jose is reporting that after a week of brewing controversy, state officials have begun a preliminary investigation into allegations of fight fixing in the main event from the EliteXC: Heat from this past Saturday night:

The Florida agency that oversees the State Boxing Commission has started a preliminary investigation into a mixed martial arts fight involving Kimbo Slice after a contestant suggested in a radio interview the results were fixed.

A spokeswoman at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation told ESPN.com on Thursday the agency opened the investigation because of the interest in the fight in which last-minute replacement Seth Petruzelli scored a quick TKO against the heavily favored Slice.

Chiappetta: Kimbo loss "no reason to celebrate"

October 8, 2008

Mike Chiappetta of NBCSports.com is quickly building himself a reputation as the reasoned voice of the sport. From his post UFC 86 analysis, to his pieces on the death of Evan Tanner, to his piece on the Return of Randy Couture, the consistently brilliant quality of his work is putting him head and shoulders above his MMA journalistic brethren, at least from my view.

His latest piece goes to the heart of the Kimbo Slice situation, cutting through the blather of the Pro and Anti-Kimbo forces and seeing the far ranging impact of the Kimbo KO:

It was a quick and decisive ending to a myth created on the street, glorified by a company desperate for attention and perpetrated by the media searching for a story with which to sell a still-growing sport.

The real truth is that Kimbo’s fate affects the sport more than perhaps any other fighter alive, and losing in such decisive fashion will cause ripple effects that many will feel.

This short quote doesn’t do the piece justice, so go now and read the entire thing.

"CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS" PACKS RATINGS PUNCH

October 7, 2008

CBS Press Release:

“CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS” PACKS RATINGS PUNCH

SATURDAY’S #1 PROGRAM ON BOTH BROADCAST AND CABLE IN ADULTS 18-34, MEN 18-34 AND MEN 18-49

MMA Event Tops All Entertainment and Sports Programming – Including College Football and Major League Baseball Playoffs – in Key Young Male Demos

The Third “CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights” Event Posts Huge Increases Over its Prior Edition in Viewers and All Key Demographics

The third CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS mixed martial arts event was Saturday’s #1 program on both broadcast and cable in adults 18-34, men 18-34 and men 18-49 (tie), according to Nielsen live plus same day ratings for Oct. 4.

For the night, the prime time mixed martial arts event placed first in adults 18-34, men 18-34 and men 18-49 (tie) against such other sporting events as the Major League Baseball playoffs (cable), college football (cable and broadcast) and a competing mixed martial arts cable telecast.

CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS (S) (9:00-11:20PM) posted a 2.7/05 with 4.56m viewers, 2.7/10 in men 18-34, 2.7/08 in men 18-49, 2.9/08 in men 25-54, 2.0/07 in adults 18-34, 2.0/06 in adults 18-49 and 2.1/06 in adults 25-54.

Compared to the last CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS (July 26, 2008), CBS was up +59% in households (from 1.7/04),
+75% in adults 25-54 (from 1.2/04),
+100% in adults 18-49 (from 1.0/04),
+150% in adults 18-34 (from 0.8/04),
+93% in men 25-54 (from 1.5/05),
+108% in men 18-49 (from 1.3/05),
+170% in men 18-34 (from 1.0/05) and
added +1.99m viewers (from 2.57m, +77%).

Rovell on Slice

October 7, 2008

CNBC Sport business analyst has spoken in the past about his fascination with Kimbo Slice. He weighed in on Monday on the resulting fallout from the EliteXC: Heat card, defining the Kimbo conundrum that EliteXC has faced all along:

You have a really marketable asset in a guy like Kimbo Slice. The problem is, he’s a good street fighter against normal guys. He’s just not that good of an MMA fighter. So you know that he has to continue to win, but there aren’t enough weak guys for him to fight. In fact, as was proven in Petruzelli, a decent guy can beat him.

With that said, Rovell isn’t high on the prospects of EliteXC for the future:

The problem is that mixed martial arts is not a viable business, just like professional football is not a viable business. The viable business is the UFC. The viable business is the NFL. It’s why the International Fight League didn’t make it. It’s why the XFL didn’t make it.

It’s why when Elite XC’s last contracted fight is over–it has one more to complete the four-fight deal with CBS–the organization will be on the ropes.

EliteXC: Heat Payouts

October 7, 2008

– Seth Petruzelli ($50,000/win bonus was $15,000) def. Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson ($500,000/win bonus would have been $100,000)

– Jake Shields ($50,000/win bonus was $10,000) def. Paul Daley ($12,000)

– Andre Arlovski ($500,000) def. Roy Nelson ($80,000)

– Gina Carano ($25,000/win bonus was $10,000) def. Kelly Kobald-Gavin ($6,000)

– Benji Radach ($30,000/win bonus was $15,000) def. Murilo Rua ($35,000)

– Cristiane Santos ($8,000/win bonus was $4,000) def. Yoko Takahashi ($2,000)

– Conor Heun ($5,000/win bonus was $2,500) def. Edson Berto ($5,000)

– Mikey Gomez ($4,000/win bonus was $2,000) def. Lorenzo Borgomeo ($1,500)

— Nicolae Curry ($1,500/win bonus was $750) def. Jorge Boechat ($1,000)

ELITE XC “HEAT” DISCLOSED FIGHTER PAYROLL: $ 1,316,000

Courtesy of MMAWeekly.

CBS Exec Kahl: "Coming back with fight No. 4."

October 6, 2008

CBS Senior Executive VP for Primetime Kelly Kahl spoke with several MMA media outlets on Sunday night, and re-affirmed the network’s commitment to finishing out their contract with EliteXC. Speaking with Michael David Smith of MMA Fanhouse:

“The numbers last night were terrific,” Kahl said. “The total viewer number was on par with May 31 and the demos were down just a little bit, but we were up against a couple good college football games and the baseball playoffs. … Last night was a step ahead, not a step back. To do roughly the numbers we did in May against much steeper competition bodes pretty well.”

“We have a four-fight contract,” Kahl said. “We certainly plan on coming back with fight No. 4.”

Speaking with MMAWeekly, Kahl stood behind the decision to go forward with a Kimbo fight, even after Ken Shamrock was forced to withdraw from the match:

In terms of Shamrock, that was a situation really out of our control,” Kahl continued. “We did what a professional organization would do. We got another quality fighter in the ring with Kimbo. We didn’t want to disappoint the audiences on television or in the arena. And we obviously put a good fighter in there. In terms of the surprising outcome, that’s just the fight game. Kimbo was a man for stepping up and taking the fight, and Petruzelli was a stud for taking it too. At the end of the day, we promised Kimbo Slice and we delivered Kimbo Slice.”

Kahl also spoke on the ratings and saw the ratings for last night as being the settling point, and what CBS would look to do going forward:

“It’s looking like the night is going to tuck into slightly behind the May card, but I think it’s hopefully more representative of the cards that we would do moving forward. Recognizing that there was a lot of hype around the first one, that the second was kind of an anomaly, because we did it in July when we weren’t able to support it as well with our CBS promotion. So I like to think this is the number we can look at going forward, which is a very solid, very sustainable number.”

EliteXC: Heat Ratings

October 5, 2008

MMAPayout.com has learned EliteXC Saturday Night Fights drew 4.30 million viewers and a 1.8/ 6 among adults 18-49 from 9-11 p.m. The half hour breakdowns:

9:00 p.m. – 3.53 million viewers (#4), A18-49: 1.3/ 4 (#3)
9:30 p.m. – 4.48 million viewers (#3), A18-49: 1.9/ 6 (#2)
10:00 p.m. – 4.37 million viewers (#3), A18-49: 1.9/ 6 (#1)
10:30 p.m. – 4.84 million viewers (#3), A18-49: 2.2/ 7 (#1)

The 5/31 broadcast of EliteXC on CBS drew 4.3 million viewers and a 1.9/6 in the 18-49 demographic without the time over runs. The 7/26 broadcast, without Kimbo or Carano, drew 2.62 million viewers and a 1.0/3 in the 18-49 demographic from 9pm-11pm.

The household rating is not available yet, however if the numbers trend like those for the May broadcast, the rating will likely be in the 2.6-2.8 range. There were overages on last night’s card but not the large amount that boosted the final number for the May card. If there is any solace in the essentially flat numbers, they did capture the 18-49 demographic in the 10PM hour.

Update: Additional ratings info from MMAWeekly:

Amongst male viewers in the 18-34 and 18-49 year old age brackets, “Heat” took first place with a 2.5 rating. It also took first place in the adults (men and women) 18-34 category with a 1.8 rating. In the adults 18-49 category, it tied with ABC’s broadcast of college football with 1.8 rating.

The ratings for men and women in the 18-34 and 18-49 categories were down 11 percent and four percent, respectively, from EliteXC’s CBS debut in May, the last card to feature stars Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano.

EliteXC Gate

October 5, 2008

Saturday’s “EliteXC: Heat” had total attendance of 9.414 (7,723 paid) for a live gate of $826,433, according to MMAJunkie.com. This eclipses the previous high EliteXC gate of just over $500,000 for the Kimbo vs Tank fight.

EliteXC: Heat Thoughts

October 5, 2008

– One item of interest on the show was the ubiquity of the Affliction ads. In either a commentary on the power of network TV or the poor platforms that have hosted Fedor previously, the ads did more to raise Fedor’s profile in the US than the whole of his fighting career up to this point. While that was great for the profile of Fedor and the Affliction brand, you have to take a look at the flip side of that for what it says about EliteXC. If there were that many Affliction ads, what you weren’t seeing were a multitude of ads from mainstream companies. That could be an indication of poor ad sales leading up to the show. MMAPayout.com inquired early in the week about ad sales for the show, and a CBS publicity department that is usually quick with response was vague on the details this time around. Some of the companies that previously bought time on the the May and July shows were conspicuously absent. If CBS was unable to move ad inventory for the card, that could signal just as much of a KO to the promotion’s network position as anything Seth Petruzelli did on the night.

-EliteXC was in a Catch-22 situation with the Kimbo fight. They needed Kimbo to fight on the show in order to have any chance of putting up a good rating number that might in some way maintain their viability on CBS. In order to do that, they had to put him in with a legitimate MMA fighter, which has never been (and probably never will be) the plan with regards to Kimbo. Whatever the odds were in Vegas, Slice is an underdog if he is facing anyone with an extended background in MMA. To stand any chance of living to fight another day they had to put Slice into a match-up that he had little realistic shot of winning and remaining a fighter of interest with the general public.Slice could have taken a walk and left CBS and EliteXC slowly twisting in the wind, his reputation still intact but to his credit he took the fight. Kimbo will most likely live to fight another day in the MMA cage, but it will be deflated of the hype that has lifted him to the lofty heights he has attained to this point.

-Gina Carano put on another great performance, and the crowd was responsive to her. The blogosphere will load for bear on the weight issue the next time she fights, per the usual, and again the crowds will be hot for her fight more than 90% of whatever else is on the card. Weight issues are of vital importance to those that view MMA through the sporting prism, but it is often lost on these folks that the sport is as much an entertainment entity as anything else, whether it be EliteXC or UFC. Some of the MMA bloggers come from a boxing background and generally misplace the context from which the huge popularity of the UFC/MMA has sprung. Lost in translation is the fact that the UFC has risen to prominence on an entertainment channel (Spike TV) and not a sports channel (like ESPN or Versus). Also lost are the noted gains that the UFC and the like have received from the pro wrestling crowds that could care less about the issue (the WWE lead-in that made TUF a franchise, the 300,000 WWE fans that bought Brock’s UFC debut). The blogosphere make a much bigger deal in regards to making weight than the promotions themselves, who generally give it a muted criticism and have yet to cancel a fight because of it. It is a noble cause by the internet media in some respects, but the ship seems to have sailed at this point when it comes to how the viewers/crowds and the promotions themselves handle the issue.

-Andre Arlovski put on a striking clinic in his performance against Roy Nelson. Arlovski’s performance and the multitude of signage and commercials look to give Affliction something they heretofore haven’t had with respect to their fighting promotion: knowledge amongst the general public that they exist. Arlovski’s performance paired with the heavy rotation of Fedor clips give a possible match-up between the two at least some degree of traction with the three to four million folks who viewed the festivities.

-Outside of a Yamma 2 card, Ken Shamrock has essentially seen his days as an upper card fighter go by the way side with his non-performance on the EliteXC card. Shamrock, through a cut that evidently wasn’t of his doing, never the less submarined a main event on network television. The odds of promoters, PPV companies, casino operator’s, etc. being willing to invest their time and money in Shamrock as a fighter are slim at this point. Ken can look forward to a Severn-like career path of fighting on regional shows if he continues with his fighting career or he may be better served working on his commentating gigs, his Lion’s Den gym, and cornering his son. The latter may be the best option as his name seems to be Mudd at this point to the MMA power brokers.

EliteXC CEO Speaks With MMAWeekly

October 2, 2008

EliteXC CEO Chuck Champion recently sat down wit MMAWeekly for an in-depth talk about his financial moves at the helm of ProElite.

Champion was able to give a little more detail on the nature of the most recent funding efforts that were detailed in their recent SEC filings:

In a candid conversation with MMAWeekly.com, the CEO said that the $2.5 million dollar shortfall came when two major investors in the company, The Hunter Fund and Absolute Fund, elected not to make a scheduled loan.

“Them not having been able to consummate those, for reasons that are better illuminated by them than me, put us in a situation where we had to rely on our commercial partners, CBS and Showtime, to help us get through that bridge. They were terrific enough to be able to advance us license fees in order to be able to put on the rest of the shows for the remainder of the year, the last one being Nov. 8.”

The tightening of credit markets are a likely culprit. EliteXC has attempted additional major capital raises, approaching various entities already, but it will be a tough road in the current environment. A rumored increased stake by TV partner Showtime may be a bit more plausible.

Champion also detailed the high burn rate EliteXC had with cash and the cost cutting efforts that have taken place since he has taken over. That passage really underscores the lack of financial foresight that is being used with the start-ups in the MMA field. Folks like Champion and Jay Larkin with the IFL are brought to instill fiscal sanity once original management has felt the hangover from their cash-drunk adventures.

Larkin is castigated by some in the MMA field because he wasn’t a died in the wool MMA fan, but in the role of CEO having good financial sense trumps knowing a keylock from a kimura. Sure it would be nice if you have both, but booking and the nuts and bolts of the sporting side can be better served by having a strong number two man to handle those areas.

« Previous PageNext Page »