by Tom Hamlin & Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
After a 13-day long investigation into allegations of fight fixing by the now-defunct MMA organization EliteXC, the Florida State Boxing Commission has concluded that no wrongdoing has occurred.
Alexis Antonacci, press secretary for the Florida Department of Business and Regulation, released the findings on Thursday.
FSBC Executive Director Thomas Molloy began the investigation on Oct. 8 after hearing a rumor that Seth Petruzelli, the last minute fill-in for Ken Shamrock on Oct. 4’s “Heat,” had been paid to keep the fight standing.
The initial investigation was to determine whether commission rule 548.058, addressing “Sham or Collusive Contests,” was violated.
Mr. Molloy interviewed Petruzelli, who said only that EliteXC officials told him to “just do your best.” Petruzelli further stated that the comments he made on a Florida talk radio show implying a fixed fight were “misconstrued” by listeners.
Mr. Molloy subsequently reviewed Petruzelli’s bout agreement and found no evidence of any additional bonuses other than a “win” bonus of $15,000.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Keith Kizer and California State Athletic Commission Executive Armando Garcia were also reportedly asked if they had any past problems with EliteXC. Both said no.
Kizer did have enough suspicion in the matter to address it at a Nevada State Athletic Commission meeting on Wednesday in Las Vegas, where ProElite CEO Chuck Champion and in-house counsel Keith Wallner were on the phone.
The NSAC executive director said that he previously spoke with ProElite representatives and was told that the reports of Petruzelli being paid to stand up were completely untrue, and that nothing improper occurred.
However, Kizer said that about two weeks ago, he had a conversation with someone from ProElite whom he did not name. As later recalled in comments to MMAWeekly, Kizer recounted, “Someone affiliated with ProElite told me that the fighter (Kimbo) or his camp said that he had not been training to fight a Muay Thai specialist and thus he had not trained to defend Muay Thai-style kicks, so that he would agree to fight the proposed opponent if the opponent agreed not to use any such kicks, and that information was told to that opponent.”
After recalling this information during the NSAC’s meeting on Wednesday, Kizer said that he was curious to ask Champion and Wallner if there was any truth to that. Wallner essentially said that he had never heard of anything like that. Champion said that he was present for the negotiations, and that nothing like that happened in his presence, and that nothing at all improper happened in his presence. Champion said that both fighters did have a knockout bonus, but that is standard in the industry and that approximately 30 to 40 percent of ProElite’s fighters had knockout bonuses in their contracts.
EliteXC consultant, T.Jay Thompson, the former owner of ICON Sport, told MMAWeekly.com on Monday, “I don’t have a smoking gun, (but) I’ve been around long enough; I’ve talked to enough people that were there, I won’t name names of executives in the company that I know. Seth was paid to stand up. I’m confident of that. If the commission wants to talk to me, I’ll tell them what I know.”
EliteXC executives Jeremy Lappen and J.T. Steele also told Molloy that no fix had occurred.
“The preliminary investigation concluded that there was no legal sufficiency to the claimed violation of 548.058 (1), F.S and therefore no need to move forward with a full investigation,” Antonacci stated.
The investigation is now closed.