by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The stable of fighters now in official free agency after the Zuffa buyout of Pride continues to grow on almost a daily basis. Now, one of the most sought light heavyweight prizes on the market, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, will not be signing with Elite XC as many had thought going into the Shamrock/Baroni pay-per-view that was produced by EliteXC and Strikeforce last month.
According to Elite XC president Gary Shaw, the deal was basically done as of that event but now Sokoudjou will not be coming to Elite XC. Shaw said,”We thought we had Sokoudjou signed and he pulled a 180 on us. So, at this time, he is off the table with EliteXC.”
Apparently, Elite XC brought Sokoudjou in as a special guest for that event and was treated as such before, during and after the show but then according to Shaw, the fighter pulled out of the deal when another offer came across the table.
“We gave him a very good offer. We flew him in at the last moment to our June 22 pay-per-view fight in San Jose. He was there as our guest. He ate very well. We filled him with beverages and then supposedly when he went back, someone threw an astronomical offer at him that I was not willing to match,” stated Shaw.
Shaw did not speak to specifics as to which organization made the offer, although reports are that K-1 Hero’s was in the bidding the services of Sokoudjou, who is the #6 light heavyweight in the MMAWeekly World MMA Rankings.
Elite XC has recently announced that fighters like Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler will be fighting for the organization but unfortunately Sokoudjou, who made one of the biggest debuts in 2007 with wins over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona, will not be fighting for them for the time being.