ProElite….what did you just say?
*UPDATE Aug.3rd 2011*
ProElite, yah, that ProElite of Kimbo Slice/Seth Petruzelli fame. They are back in action. How you may ask? Let me tell you. The short story is, after the Kimbo Slice debacle, ProElite/EliteXc went under, many of it’s assets (fighter contracts, fight library, some intellectual property) were purchased by StrikeForce. End of story, nope. The guys from ProElite said from the day they sold their assets, they would be back. When StrikeForce was on the market, Stratus Media Group, Inc. made an offer, as we know Zuffa crushed that offer. Not to be derailed, Stratus Media Group, Inc. then purchased the skeletal remains of ProElite. Surprisingly the ProElite/EliteXC carcass was left with some meat. Enough meat for Stratus Media Group, Inc. to start making waves.
Paul Feller, President and CEO of Stratus:
“This acquisition provides the resources and abilities ProElite needs in order to focus on strengthening and repositioning its world class MMA fighting platform in addition to the brand itself. Under the new SMDI Action Sports Vertical, ProElite is launching a series of MMA events that will bring a new vitality to the business of MMA and reestablish ProElite as a leading international MMA organization.”
Starting with the announcement of ProElite as an MMA promotion. Followed by the pursuit of viable fighters to secure under contract. The first name bandied around was Andre Arlovski. Followed by a recently let go UFC vet Kendall Grove. Add Reagan Penn (BJ Penn’s younger brother) and they start to sound like a legitimate promotion. Now they have announced their first event. Featuring Arlovski, Grove, Reagan Penn and Joe ‘Diesel’ Riggs, August 27th in Hawaii. What does this mean to the casual fan? Nothing yet, they don’t have a TV deal, their first fight might be streamed live over the net, might. They are taking their chances with Arlovski. His price tag is large, not to mention he may well be at the twilight of his career. Considering he’s had a few savage KO losses in a row. The upside is Stratus has money, also if you believe the pres releases, valuable knowledge gained from the Titanic that was EliteXC. Gone are the huge contracts, the overpopulated/overpaid staff, the gimmick fights, generally everything that made EliteXC the joke of a promotion it was.
ProElite has grabbed a fair amount of talented name and no name fighters, enough for me to be interested in watching. As is the new norm for smaller promotions, ProElite is marketing Women’s MMA as a big part of their overall package. Women’s MMA may well be the savior of mid level promotions, with the UFC’s current stance on Women’s MMA. With amost 3 years since it’s last event, will people remember ProElite? I say for their sake, no. I feel they would be better served if the MMA public at large viewed them as an entirely new promotion with no history. Given that Stratus is involved, the EliteXC name is effectively dead (StrikeForce holds the rights to that name which now defaults to Zuffa) and few people involved with the original promotion are onboard, I’d say chances are good. Another upside, ProElite was able to capitalize on Zuffa’s house cleaning over at StrikeForce. Due to redundency, Zuffa let many valuable employees go, ProElite in turn picked up a few of them.
One in particular is Rich Chou, you might remember him as StrikeForce’s matchmaker. Generally regarded as one of the best in the business (something I highly diagree with, given that most StrikeForce fights were made on criteria that did not include rankings in or out of StrikeForce) with good relationships in the MMA community, more specifically with fighter’s management. This could prove to be ProElite’s biggest asset. Many fighters and management like Rich Chou, he worked with a quality promotion, given the choice, I feel many would choose to work with ProElite over a more well known regional promotion. The addition of Rich Chou lends legitimacy to ProElite, something very hard for an emerging promotion to acquire this quickly. Just don’t go to their website yet, it does not inspire confidence in the least. The poster below does.
I am looking forward to this fight card. There is room for a top 3 in North American MMA promotions, who’s gonna fill those spots? Could ProElite be one of them? Time will tell.