September 14, 2007

by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Gary Shaw, president of the live events division of EliteXC, announced on Thursday that ProElite, Inc. has finalized its acquisition of Hawaiian mixed martial arts promotion Icon Sport.

EliteXC is the live events division of ProElite, Inc., which broadcasts MMA events on Showtime Networks.

“We came and invested in and bought Rumble World,” said Shaw at a press conference on Thursday. “Today we’re proud to announce that within the last hour, we just completed our deal and we bought Icon. So, we own the islands.”

Icon Sport is the latest in a stream of acquisitions and partnerships for ProElite, the first of which was Rumble World Entertainment. Earlier on Thursday, ProElite announced the acquisition of King of the Cage and on Sept. 6 it announced the purchase of U.K. promotion Cage Rage and a partnership with South Korean-based Spirit MC.

One thing that has been stressed amongst all of the moves being made by ProElite is that each of the various promotions will maintain its own flavor of branding. There will be some ProElite/EliteXC seasoning added, but each is expected to operate under its own identity and key personnel are expected to remain.

“I have a five-year consulting contract that will allow me to stay on and run Icon,” Icon Sport promoter T. Jay Thompson told MMAWeekly.com. “It really should be business as usual … only better. The Icon talent pool just increased dramatically.”

Thompson sees the purchase by ProElite as an opportunity for him and for Icon Sport. “I’ve worked hard and passionately for the last 13 years. This deal will give me the freedom to take even more risks and make bigger things happen for Icon.”

Cage Rage promoter Dave O’Donnell mirrored Thompson’s comments, telling MMAWeekly.com, “We have our brand, it’s established. It’s going to be a bit of ProElite here and there to compliment it.”

“Myself and Andy Geer will remain in control of operations, so you shouldn’t see that much difference in the shows, but where it is really going to show is in the production and organizational areas.”

The acquisition of Icon Sport by ProElite reinforces public statements by Douglas Deluca, CEO of ProElite, Inc., “…we continue to move forward with our global growth strategy.”