Photo courtesy of TitoOrtiz.com.
With his days as a featured fighter with the Ultimate Fighting Championship coming to an end, Tito Ortiz, the one-time face of the organization, has mentioned that he’d like to take his services elsewhere following his upcoming fight against Lyoto Machida on May 24th.
One of the organizations in which Ortiz has expressed interest in Elite Xtreme Combat, headed by former boxing promoter Gary Shaw. Brash and out-spoken, Shaw is no stranger to giving his opinion when asked by the media and didn’t shy away earlier today when the potential of Ortiz shifting his career to EliteXC was brought up.
“In all my years in the fight game, I can see, touch, feel a superstar,” Shaw said this afternoon on a conference call promoting EliteXC’s network television debut on CBS later this month. “Everytime I see Tito Ortiz, he reeks of stardom. I think when his days in the UFC are over, that I can reincarnate him. Could you imagine Tito and Kimbo Slice in the cage together? I hope when his contract with the UFC is up that he will not be sitting across the table with me, but sitting with me at that table.”
“Please tell Tito that our door is wide open for him,” Shaw continued. “When his deal with the UFC is up, I’d love to talk with him and figure things out.”
Ortiz’s falling out with the UFC stems from his rocky relationship with the promotion’s figurehead, Dana White. The two have been at each other’s throats for years but things took a major turn for the worst after a proposed exhibition boxing match between the two fell apart and White opted to begin his verbal bashing of Ortiz in the media.
Ortiz has since stated multiple times that his fight against Machida will be his last with the UFC. (His current contract with the promotion ends this summer) Reasons for his departure circulate solely around White and his negative treatment of Ortiz as well as other contracted fighters on the organization’s roster.
Shaw mentioned that Ortiz wouldn’t have to worry about any kind of lack of respect from himself or others in the organization if he decided to sign with EliteXC.
“All of our fighters can attest to this, but we here at EliteXC put the fighters first,” Shaw said. “Our fighters are of the utmost importance to us. They come before the organization. The spotlight should be put on them. We treat everyone with respect and like they are a champion, regardless of who they are. Tito wouldn’t have to worry about that sort of thing if he decided to take his services to our camp.”
Additional conference call notes from today are after the jump.
Kimbo Slice could be one of ProElite’s contracted fighters headed to DREAM in the near future as part of a new working partnership between the two promotions. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
Elite Xtreme Combat parent company ProElite and Fight Entertainment Group’s DREAM yesterday announced a working partnership between the two promotions that will help bridge the once-distant gap between Japanese and American mixed martial arts.
The two sides made the official announcement yesterday at a pre-fight press conference for DREAM.3, which took place late last night in Japan. DREAM officials Keiichi Sasahara and Sadaharu Tanikawa were on hand to discuss details about the agreement along with ProElite’s William Kelly and ICON Sport promoter T. Jay Thompson.
“Last year’s Dynamite USA at the Los Angeles Coliseum was the largest attended mixed martial arts event ever in the USA,” Kelly said at the conference. “ProElite is delighted that we will be building on that by sharing fighters and referees and doing co-promotions in Japan and the US, and potentially the UK and Korea also. Japan is important to ProElite, and we have great US television partners, so we can bring DREAM to the American public.”
It’s expected that ProElite will also attempt to put at least one of the co-promoted shows on network television in the form of CBS.
According to MMA Weekly, ProElite contracted fighters that were mentioned as potential DREAM participants in the future at the press conference included Kimbo Slice, Jake Shields, and Robbie Lawler.
EliteXC fighters Nick Diaz, Jason Miller, and Eddie Alvarez all competed at DREAM’s third show yesterday in Japan, unofficially beginning the sharing of assets between the two organizations.
Tickets for the upcoming EliteXC show on May 31st go on sale to the public on Friday, April 18th at 10am through Ticketmaster. MMA on Tap has learned that a pre-sale of tickets started Wednesday morning. The pre-sale can also be purchased through the Ticketmaster website. The code is “Kimbo” for access to the pre-sale.
This EliteXC show will be broadcast live on CBS-TV, the first live MMA event on broadcast television in the United States. The main event features internet fighting sensation Kimbo Slice against Pride veteran James Thompson. EliteXC and CBS today confirmed the main card fights scheduled to be broadcast.
* Kimbo Slice vs. James “Colossus” Thompson (Heavyweights)
* “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler vs. Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith (for EliteXC Middleweight title)
* Gina “Conviction” Carano vs. Kaitlin Young (140 lb. weight class)
* Phil Baroni vs. Murilo “Ninja” Rua (Middleweights)
* Brett “The Grim” Rogers vs. Jon Murphy (Heavyweights)
Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
LOS ANGELES - Fans can continue to expect to see mixed martial arts standouts and fan favorites Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano and Robbie Lawler fighting for Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.’s live fight division, EliteXC, for a long, long time.
“I am proud and very excited to announce that Kimbo, Gina and Robbie have all re-signed with us,’’ EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw said today. Terms of the long-term, multi-year agreements were not disclosed.
Kimbo, Carano and Lawler are three of EliteXC’s most popular, talented and exciting fighters and all will be featured Saturday, May 31, in the first of four prime time events on the CBS Television Network in 2008.
Kimbo (2-0) of Perrine, Fla., and Carano (5-0) of Las Vegas will face fighters to be announced while the exciting Lawler (15-4) of St. Louis will defend his EliteXC middleweight title against hard-hitting Scott “Hands Of Steel’’ Smith (15-4) of Sacramento, Calif., in a slugfest that figures to be non-stop, toe-to-toe action.
Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
When it comes to Kimbo Slice, opinions vary, especially thoughts held by those that have been involved in mixed martial arts for a long time. Thus has been the case in the past with UFC President Dana White and most recently, his real-life best friend, Chuck Liddell.
However just like Gary Shaw and company, White won’t deny the fact that if given the opportunity, he’d bring Slice over to the UFC. Why? To give him a shot against Liddell of course, well, if he starts beating notable names that is.
“If Kimbo fought anybody that mattered, I would book that tomorrow,” White said. “I’d take Kimbo absolutely seriously, but again, he hasn’t beat anybody. In this sport, it’s all about ‘Who have you beat right now?” And he hasn’t beat anybody. The fact is, Kimbo’s not there yet. He would get destroyed. I heard he just got knocked out by Forrest Griffin last week in a sparring match after a kick to the head.”
While White’s comments concerning Slice and his career so far make sense, it still makes you wonder what his mindset was before signing Brock Lesnar. Then again, Lesnar is an accomplished amateur wrestler while Slice’s previous claim to fame was fighting in the streets of Miami.
A win over James Thompson next month would be a victory over his most legitimate opponent to date. However Thompson still isn’t the type of fighter that will start getting people to take Slice and his skills seriously. Matchups against Brett Rogers and maybe even Ricco Rodriguez may come in time but is Kimbo ready to hit the ground? Time will tell.
Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
EliteXC heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson will reportedly headline the organization’s first prime-time televised event on CBS against James Thompson on May 31st at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
The news comes from NBC Sports’ Mike Chiappetta. A source close to one of the fighters confirmed that EliteXC would officially announce the fight later this week.
Ferguson picked up the biggest win of his professional career so far in February, knocking out longtime veteran brawler David “Tank” Abbott at EliteXC: Street Certified. The Bas Rutten-trained fighter forced Bo Cantrell to tap out from strikes in just nineteen seconds in his pro debut last November.
The Miami street fighting legend quickly rose to fame after many of his underground fights became available for viewing on the internet.
Thompson, a veteran of PRIDE and Cage Rage, will easily be Slice’s biggest test to date despite losing six out of his last eight fights. Thompson was recently knocked out by heavyweight prospect Brett Rogers in February. The England native’s last win came over Don Frye in April of last year.
“EliteXC and CBS Saturday Night Fights” will also feature an EliteXC middleweight title fight between champion Robbie Lawler and challenger Scott Smith in a bout that will likely be a sure-fire war on the feet. Female star Gina Carano will also return to action against Kaitlyn Young.
Touch of gloves to our friends at MMA Junkie for the find.
Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.
Elite Xtreme Combat has announced that their first prime-time televised event on CBS, “EliteXC and CBS Saturday Night Fights” will take place on May 31st and will be broadcast live from the brand new Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, the same venue that hosted UFC 78: Validation last year.
“We’re excited to introduce broadcast television viewers to America’s fastest growing sport with this prime time event,” said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime, in a press release sent out to the media today. “EliteXC is putting together a lineup card that showcases the unique personalities, world-class athleticism, and raw power and emotion that characterizes mixed martial arts.”
EliteXC heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson will indeed participate at the event against an opponent yet to be announced. EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler will also put on his belt on the line against Scott Smith in a bout that will likely be a sure-fire war on the feet.
Lawler has not fought since stopping Murilo Rua with strikes in September. He was slated to take on fellow heavy-hitter Kala Kolohe Hose in a December title unification bout but a nagging injury bug prevented Lawler from fighting and he was ultimately stripped of his ICON Sport belt. Smith knocked out Kyle Noke in his EliteXC debut last month.
“I am very happy for the highly trained fighters, who will finally get the kind of exposure they deserve, and, of course, the viewers, who will get the opportunity to learn that MMA is truly a sport that requires an abundance of skills, both mentally and physically,” said Gary Shaw, EliteXC Live Events President.
Five Ounces of Pain reports that a heavyweight swing bout between Brett Rogers and Jon Murphy is currently in the works and that Gina Carano may also return to action at the event as well.
Gary Shaw speaks at an Elite Xtreme Combat press conference. Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.
ProElite, the parent company of Elite Xtreme Combat, today announced a new, multi-year network television deal with CBS that will make the promotion only the second in the history of the sport of mixed martial arts to produce an event for live broadcast television.
“Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and a wildly popular entertainment vehicle for upscale, young adult audiences,” said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime. “It’s original programming for Saturday night; it’s live, creating an event-atmosphere; and it’s something that hasn’t been seen on network television, until now.”
EliteXC heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson is expected to headline the first event produced for CBS. The events are scheduled to air on Saturday nights in a prime-time slot. CBS will broadcast four events per year.
“This is a pivotal moment for the sport of mixed martial arts now that a major television network plans to broadcast live MMA events during primetime hours,” said Douglas DeLuca, Chief Executive Officer of ProElite. “We are delighted to enhance our partnership with CBS to bring American audiences the very best in MMA competition through our EliteXC brand.”
The International Fight League became the first mixed martial arts promotion to land a network television deal when they partnered with MyNetworkTV to televise a number of taped highlight shows and one live event last year. However the network has since has placed IFL programming “on hiatus”, meaning they may or may not decide to continue airing IFL-related shows, potentially leaving EliteXC as the lone promotion with as much exposure.
The deal also comes close to two months after CBS broke off discussions to air live events with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“Our world-class fighters and the high production value of our events continue to drive ProElite as a global MMA organization that is fortified by the bedrock foundation of a partnership with CBS,” said Gary Shaw, President of EliteXC. “Broadcasting our events on CBS will instantly engage a new fan base, as well as provide an opportunity for EliteXC to further establish itself as the world’s premier MMA organization.”
Showtime, which partners with Elite Xtreme Combat in producing and televising live events, is owned by CBS. Showtime will continue to air EliteXC events.
As I’m sure regular visitors to this site have noticed, we haven’t had many updates since Saturday afternoon. A combination of David moving, others not being around, and myself coming down with the flu attributed to that. However fear not as we’re back in business. So here’s us playing catch-up once again, hopefully for the last time in a long time.
UFC 81 Generates Approximately 650,000 Buys
UFC 81: Breaking Point, which featured Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeating former two-time champion Tim Sylvia to win the interim UFC heavyweight belt and fellow former heavyweight title holder Frank Mir submitting one-time professional wrestler and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar, generated close to 650,000 PPV buys according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer.
In my interview at Jarry Park leading up to UFC 81, I mentioned that the UFC would likely be pleased with the amount of buys the event would generate, mostly because of the mainstream popularity of Lesnar from his various ventures in professional sports. It turns out UFC 81 will now rank as the third-highest-grossing event in UFC history.
Future Fights Galore!
A good amount of upcoming fights have been revealed over the past few days. Lightweights Jeremy Stephens and Terry Etim will meet at UFC 84 in May according to MMA Junkie, who confirmed that both fighters have agreed to sign bout agreements. Five Ounces of Pain has learned that Doug Evans has been released from the UFC and has signed on with EliteXC, who will pit him against Wilson Reis in his debut in April.
Gracie Fighter has announced that Nate Diaz has been added to UFC Fight Night 13 on April 2nd, making that an unheard of eleven total fights on that card. MMA Junkie says that he’s expected to face Kurt Pellegrino. Major props are in order to our friends at Fightlinker, who have reportedly successfully petitioned to have Spike TV increase the broadcast time of the event from two hours to three.
Nick Diaz will return to action against Muhsin Corbbrey according to Five Ounces of Pain. Don’t believe what “Babalu” says, Tito Ortiz-Ryoto Machida is still on according to Ed Soares, who serves as Machida’s manager. Chris Fries of TAGG Radio’s Lights Out Show confirmed that the fight was still a go with Soares earlier today.
Wanderlei Silva says that he would consider a drop down to middleweight in order to rematch Dan Henderson. Denis Kang tells The Fight Network that he will participate in DREAM’s middleweight grand prix in April. Gracie Mag has details about the first toxicology report released concerning Ryan Gracie’s death. Paul Buentello tells MMA Weekly that he wants Kimbo Slice.
Something a little different to start your Saturday. Now I’ve seen this many times before but not the entire clip with the events leading up to it, which is what we have here. To cut it short, here’s a guy accepting $100 to let Kimbo Slice tackle him. Touch of gloves to Ariel at Jarry Park for the find.
Guillard to Fight Regan at Rage in the Cage in March
Melvin Guillard stated last month that he will be taking a short leave of absence from the UFC to fight in smaller promotions and try to get back on track. His first small show date will happen on March 7th at a Rage in the Cage event according to The Fight Network, where he will take on Eric Regan.
After winning three of his first four fights in the UFC, Guillard suffered consecutive devastating submission losses to Joe Stevenson and Rich Clementi in bad-blood filled bouts where Guillard did the majority of his infamous trash-talking.
Regan, an American Martial Arts Center product, will be participating in his 13th Rage in the Cage event. In fact, he has only fought outside of the promotion three times in a total of sixteen fights. Regan is coming off of a submission win over Chris Garland at Shannon Ritch’s second NoLimit Fighting event in January.
Hicks to Replaces Lewis at MFC 15
The Fight Network is also reporting that King of the Cage veteran Marcus Hicks (not the Hicks that fights in the WEC) will take the place of an injured Dwayne Lewis against fellow light heavyweight Steve Steinbess at Maximum Fighting Championship’s “Rags to Riches” event on February 22.
Lewis reportedly withdrew from the fight after suffering a knee injury during a recent training session.
Despite his sub-par record, Hicks has been ever-improving, winning four of his last six bouts. His last fight was a unanimous decision loss to Craig Brown at a Freedom Fight event in January. Steinbeiss, a veteran of BodogFight, is coming off of a submission win over Wayne Andrews last month.
Schafer-Antle Headlines Gladiators Fighting 49
Similar to Melvin Guillard and a handful of other fighters, UFC light heavyweight Eric Schafer has received permission to fight outside of the organization in smaller shows in an attempt to sharpen up his skills before his next bout under the Zuffa banner.
Schafer will take on Ryan Antle in the main event of tonight’s Gladiators Fighting 49, which is slated to take place at Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s State Fair Park according to our friends over at MMA Junkie.
After an impressive submission win over Rob MacDonald, Schafer was pretty much fed to the wolves when he was forced to take on Michael Bisping and Stephan Bonnar in consecutive fights. He was stopped with strikes in both. After going on a five fight winning streak, Antle has now lost his last two bouts.
Nothing on the official slate obviously since it’s a Saturday but there are still some things you should check out…
If you haven’t listened to it already, Fightlinker has an amazing interview with Fight News Unlimited’s Rich Bergeron, who is currently being sued by Xyience for $25 million for reporting on and unveiling a bunch of different things about the current bankruptcy scandal the company is going through.