According to Seth Petruzelli, the man who defeated Kimbo Slice on EliteXC’s recent CBS offering on October 4th, he was paid to keep the fight standing:
The promoter kinda hinted to me, and they gave me money to stand and trade with him. They didn’t want me to take him down. Let’s just put it that way.
His comments warrant an investigation.
Petruzelli also claimed he was paid in the six figure range to keep it standing, but his disclosed purse was only $50,000. So unless he is lying, and there’s no reason to believe he is, he was paid an additional bonus to fight in a way that gave their star the best chance of winning.
This is outrageous, and just absolutely embarrassing for the sport of MMA, especially considering the fact that this happened on network television. We already had people on ESPN mocking the sport all day today, when they get wind of this it will be a nightmare.
Make no mistake, if Petruzelli’s comments accurately characterize what happened, this is essentially fight fixing. What would sports writers say if it came out that Floyd Mayweather was paid not to use his left hook? Or if the lakers were paid to play a game without having Kobe Bryant take a shot? The outrage is nowhere near the level it should be given this disclosure. People trying to analogize this to “exciting fight bonuses” aren’t arguing in good faith, the argument isn’t even worth addressing.
This situation is terrible for the sport, terrible for fans, and terrible for the other honorable fighters on EliteXC cards that are trying to forge real careers, but now find themselves tainted by this.
Kelly Kahl needs to conduct his own investigation of what happened here. If it is true, everyone involved should be fired immediately.
The Florida Athletic Commission should conduct an investigation into this as well.
We can all roll our eyes and act like it’s typical scummy behavior, and just let it slide, but that will just ensure more of it in the future. Only fans can make sure it does not happen again.
Update: Seth Petruzelli has now changed his story:
“What was meant to be said was that I wanted to keep the fight standing for myself because I knew that was what the crowd, the promoters, and everyone wanted to see because that’s more exciting than just taking someone to the ground,” Petruzelli said. “That was my thing only. I wanted to keep it exciting so I decided to keep it standing. It had nothing to do with anybody else. That was all me.”
Upon being asked directly whether EliteXC officials had even hinted that he could receive a bonus by keeping the fight standing, Petruzelli clarified that no such act had taken place.
“No,” he responded. “Look, even the UFC gives knockout bonuses. Everyone gives knockout bonuses. There’s knockout bonuses, submission bonuses, all sorts of bonuses. I just wanted to keep it standing because I felt I could beat (Kimbo) at his own game.”
These quotes are mutually exclusive, they can’t both be true. Again, it’s possible he slipped and said the wrong thing, but it is also possible he didn’t realize what a big deal the comment was and then changed the story to avoid problems. I don’t know what the truth is, but his initial comments warrant an investigation.
UPDATE II [by Luke Thomas]: I’ve emailed Kelly Kahl regarding this very serious matter to get his comments first and also to see what plans, if any, CBS has about launching a formal inquiry into this. Stay tuned.
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