by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
ProElite, Inc., parent company of Elite Xtreme Combat, is throwing in the towel on mixed martial arts.
Several sources MMAWeekly.com spoke to said notifications had been sent out on Monday informing managers that the company was ceasing its fight promotion operations by the end of this week and it had begun the process of letting its employees go. One source even said that ProElite had already begun clearing out its corporate offices.
EliteXC’s remaining show scheduled for Nov. 8 in Reno, Nevada has been canceled. The card was due to be broadcast on Showtime networks, EliteXC’s original broadcast partner since the company’s formation in November of 2006.
Industry sources on Saturday informed MMAWeekly.com that ProElite made a last ditch effort to salvage its assets by selling off portions of the company, including fighter contracts and the satellite promotions it acquired in 2007.
The company had accrued over $55 million in debt in its twenty-four months of operations. Though its third CBS-televised offering, Oct. 4’s “Heat,” was looked at as a ratings success by EliteXC and CBS executives, the company’s financial position had become untenable in recent months.
In an August SEC filing, EliteXC disclosed they were seeking 3.5 million dollars to fund operations through the end of the year. Only a month later, another SEC filing said they had received only $1 million in funding, provided by Showtime networks.
Elite CEO Chuck Champion last month told MMAWeekly.com that the Showtime loan came after two principal investors in the company had elected not to provide the $3.5 million “bridge financing.”
An SEC filling dated Oct. 9 revealed that CBS had funded “Heat” due to ProElite’s inability to pay for the show.
Multiple calls to EliteXC and Showtime representatives on Monday went unreturned, although EliteXC Vice President Jared Shaw told MMAWeekly.com on Saturday he had no comment on the matter.
Although EliteXC now is out of the picture, that doesn’t necessarily mean that CBS and Showtime are out of the MMA business. Sources have indicated that, having worked with Affliction Entertainment to add Andrei Arlovski and Roy Nelson to the “Heat” event (both are Affliction fighters), there is now the distinct possibility that CBS may look towards a relationship with Affliction to fill the void left by EliteXC’s exodus.