After shutting its doors in October of 2008 following its inability to secure additional funding to keep the promotion afloat, the remains of ProElite -- the parent company of EliteXC -- have been officially acquired courtesy of the California-based Strikeforce promotion earlier today.
Financial details of the purchase are unavailable at this time.
Here's a snip from Scott Coker, Founder and CEO of Strikeforce, on the BIG news:
"This is a tremendous development that will bolster the Strikeforce roster and allow us to produce even more competitive matchups between top fighters. Some of these athletes have been on the sidelines for a while now and are eagerly waiting to return to competition. We look forward to providing them with the opportunity to do so in the next few months."
After its biggest star, Kimbo Slice, lost in just 14 seconds to replacement journeyman Seth Petruzelli in front of 4.5 million people on CBS, EliteXC had apparently been hit with a knockout blow of its own.
The main event fight-influencing controversy that surrounded the "Heat" CBS event scared away what few investors it had at CBS and Showtime. Left with the nearly $60 million in debt EliteXC had already piled up in the less than two years since the organization’s creation, ProElite was left with little choice but to cease operations.
Now Strikeforce is looking to salvage what value still remains in the promotion, including its tape library and certain transfereable fighter contracts. Names of the fighters acquired in the sale were not revealed, but more than likely will be soon.
There is tremendous upside to this acquisition from a fan’s perspective. There’s going to be a bunch of great fighters who could end up competing for the promotion and possibly ending up in fantasy or dream matches never before possible due to the lack of cooperation between entities.
UFC President Dana White, one of ProElite's biggest critics, has actually been a vocal supporter of Strikeforce.
From an October 2008 USA Today interview:
"I hope they do 10 million viewers (on NBC) next week. Have you heard me say a bad word about Strikeforce? I wish them all the luck in the world. I have nothing bad to say about guys who are running the right promotion
Strikeforce was the first MMA promotion to hold a regulated MMA event in the state of California. In addition to partnerships with HDNet, ESPN and Showtime, Strikeforce can be seen weekly on NBC with its 30 minute-program "Strikeforce on NBC."
It’s going to be interesting to see how many of these guys (and gals) end up with Strikeforce now that the sale has gone through. Strikeforce could really beef up its roster with names like Jake Shields, Eddie Alvarez, Nick Diaz, Rafael Feijao, Paul Daley, KJ Noons, Wilson Reis, Cyrille Diabate and countless others.
Who knows … maybe even Kimbo Slice.
In the end, the talent was there near the top -- it just wasn’t enough to compensate for all the other shortcomings and struggles that ProElite faced attempting to get off the ground.
Now with that talent in the right hands, there could be a healthy and viable alternative to UFC events and programming. Perhaps some good ol' healthy competition.
And that's a good thing.