by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
In a matter of two hours, Seth Petruzelli went from an undercard fighter to the man who would knockout Internet and YouTube legend Kimbo Slice in a scant 14 seconds in their main event fight last Saturday night as EliteXC made its third appearance on CBS.
Originally, Petruzelli was scheduled to face Aaron Rosa in a light heavyweight contest. He explained during a recent appearance on MMAWeekly Radio exactly how it all went down to put him in a fight that now lives in infamy.
“I was actually warming up for my fight against Aaron Rosa in the back and EliteXC came back and said we need to talk to you for a second,” Petruzelli commented. “I automatically got nervous thinking that Aaron backed out or something like that and then he’s like, ‘Look, I’ve got a huge opportunity if you decide to take it. Ken got cut on his eye and can’t fight, and we want you to fight Kimbo.’
“It took about 10 seconds to let it all settle down and I said heck yeah.”
The fight with Kimbo lasted only about four seconds longer than it took Petruzelli to accept the match-up, but almost immediately after the fight controversy struck.
During an appearance on a local Orlando radio station on Monday, Petruzelli was quoted as saying that EliteXC officials hinted at a bigger payday if he stood with Kimbo and avoided the ground game. He said it was actually a bonus for a knockout win, something common in many fight promotions.
“All it was, was a knockout bonus that I just didn’t say it was a knockout bonus,” said Petruzelli. “The UFC offers that, they offer submission bonus, they offer for fight of the night, and all I was saying was that I wanted to take the knockout bonus and not take him down.
“So it kind of got misconstrued as me saying that they wanted me to just stand up to get it, but that was just all me saying I wanted to try to get the knockout bonus.”
When speaking to MMAWeekly Radio on Tuesday night, EliteXC head of fight operations Jeremy Lappen confirmed that knockout bonuses are a regular part of EliteXC fights and some fighters even have knockout bonuses as a part of their contracts with the promotion.
With that controversy behind him, Petruzelli is excited to look to the future, but he’s unsure what weight class he will ultimately compete in.
“That’s the question I’ve been asking myself, if I want to move back up to heavyweight, stay lean and stay at a lighter weight, but move up and fight heavyweight because I’m pretty much undefeated in every heavyweight fight,” Petruzelli stated. “When I moved to light heavyweight is when I had my last two losses so that’s going to be the question.
“But the 205-pound (divisional) belt is up for grabs for Elite, so that’s kind of staring me in the face too. I don’t really know at this point.”
The light heavyweight title in EliteXC is likely to be handed down in the near future and at least one of the competitors will be highly regarded Brazilian fighter Rafael “Feijao” Calvancante, who is still slated to be on the Nov. 8 card, but has no opponent yet.
EliteXC Vice President Jared Shaw informed MMAWeekly.com on Monday that while the promotion would welcome a fight between Feijao and Petruzelli, he believes that asking the new star to prepare for a title fight on only four weeks notice is just unfair.
While Petruzelli says he will gladly step up if the offer is made, he would also like a little more downtime after this big win over Kimbo Slice.
“If they offered it to me, I’d 100 percent take it, but personally I would love to just wait a little bit and maybe the first of the New Year or something like that for stepping back in there,” Petruzelli said in closing.