Late yesterday, EliteXC announced that Antonio Silva has a new opponent for the co-main event at the Feb 16th card featuring Kimbo Slice vs Tank Abbott. The new opponent will be none other than former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Ricco Rodriquez. This is the third opponent slated to face Antonio Silva. The first announced foe, Shane Carwin, turned down a deal in order to sign with the UFC. Then late last week, EliteXC’s president Gary Shaw announced that Cage Rage’s Gary Turner would fill the slot. Now, a few days after Shaw challenged the UFC and stated that Silva could beat any of the UFC heavyweights, EliteXC puts the former UFC champ in the cage with Junior. Coincidence?
The story gets more interesting in that it turns out that EliteXC apparently did not treat Turner fairly in his mind. EliteXC stated in an article on MMAWeekly that they ended up with contract problems and thus had to drop Turner from the card. Turner, in an open letter to Gary Shaw/EliteXC on the Mat-Magazine website, disputes those facts and rips into the business practices of EliteXC.
This is highly upsetting.
I’ve discovered on the internet this morning that I’ve been dropped from my fight with Silva. Dropped? Finding out on the internet? Bit of an insult don’t you think?
To quote Gary Shaw himself, ‘we put the fighters first, they are the stars. We will do everything we can to put them first.’ I was at the press meet in London when he said this. This does not seem to ring true at all in practice, and even if Gary Shaw believes this, his staff definitely do not subscribe.
Let me explain the effects of Elite XC playing with someone’s life. My life.
I spoke with Dave O’Donnell of Cage Rage this morning. He says you contacted him late last night (I missed his call - I had already gone to bed!) and told him to tell me that you have dropped me due to my eyesight and the question whether I could achieve a license in Florida. As explained quite clearly to you I was licensed in 2006 twice by Florida. I provided you with the medical documentation that achieved my license to fight in Florida. I personally contacted Florida State Athletic Commission who confirmed that the medical documentation I presented was acceptable, and they confirmed that with these presented facts I would be licensed in Florida. I believe that either JT Steele is incompetent or even negligent for not checking his facts (as evidenced below in previous emails) or is hiding behind a different agenda.
The fight was offered, and basic terms offered. A negotiation took place and the basic terms agreed on. Offer and acceptance. Elite XC publish and advertise the fight. I put my life on hold.
I throw myself into training specifically for this fight. I book in trainingpartners. I book in sparring with the British Army Boxing Team. I am traveling the UK to ensure I get to spar and train with the best of Britain. My kickboxing, boxing and grappling coaches throw their commitment behind me. I book in specific training partners to ensure I am prepared for Silva.
I become my training!
As soon as Elite XC announced the fight publicly I spent time marketing the fight on the internet and contacting friends in Florida and the USA and Canada, ensuring that I could ensure good ticket and PPV sales. I even have a group of people here in the UK that are looking at flying out to watch the fight live.
I have my own business as a Building Surveyor who is Chartered (closest thing to this in the US is probably an Architect), and I have cancelled all my work running up to the fight in order to immerse myself in my preparations. This loss of business, and the knock on business it would generate, is obviously highly costly to me, and that work is now lost.
The timing of the fight is bad for personal relationships, with me not going to be at home on 14th February, which is Valentine’s Day in the UK, an important date for any relationship in the UK! Obviously my fiancée is upset that I won’t be doing anything with her that day, as I have put my sport before her.
Further, I have not earned money since the fight was accepted, yet have experienced numerous costs in training, let alone my living expense and mortgage that my fiancée will have to cover for this period. Can I ask what I am supposed to live on?
And then you decide to drop me, without even contacting me first. It is not just me who is affected.
Your ‘decision’ also affects everyone involved in my training. My coaches make personal and financial sacrifices to support me. The same with my training partners. Our personal lives are adversely affected by all of our commitment to prepare and be the best we can be the day of a fight.
So now the fight doesn’t take place, apparently at your unqualified ‘whim’. I now have to go on the internet and explain why this fight is not taking place. I have to explain that I can, and have, a license to fight in Florida. I have to explain that I had nothing whatsoever to do with the fight not taking place. I have to make it clear to other promoters that I am a committed sportsman who when HE AGREES to something to do whatever necessary to perform to his best. I have to make it clear that I am a professional who checks he can do what he says he can do prior to making an agreement. I have to confirm with everyone who questions that I had nothing at all to do with your decision to stop this fight from taking place.
Obviously I am very upset this morning, but have tried to remain objective in this email.
I want to know the real background as to why this fight is not taking place and the reasons behind your decision. And what you are going to do to put it right.
An interesting twist with EliteXC always claiming to have the best interests of the fighters in mind. Stay tuned for more…