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EliteXC’s Lappen confirms that promotion did not offer submission bonus to Petruzelli; contradicts statements made by Petruzelli to 5 Oz.

The controversy as to whether ProElite and EliteXC officials offered a bonus to Seth Petruzelli this past Saturday not to take Kimbo Slice to the ground continues, as both Petruzelli and EliteXC Head of Fight Operations Jeremy Lappen have made contradictory statements.

During an exclusive interview with Five Ounces of Pain conducted on Tuesday, Petruzelli, the former UFC fighter who scored an improbable victory over Slice as a last-minute replacement after Ken Shamrock was medically disqualified from competing, said that while he was offered a knockout bonus, he was also offered a submission bonus and “Fight of the Night” bonus of equal value.

“Yes,” Petruzelli responded when asked if he was also offered a submission bonus in addition to the knockout bonus. “There were submission bonuses, knockout bonuses, and a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus — just like the UFC does it. They just want an exciting fight no matter where it goes.”

Apparently it isn’t just “like the UFC does it” because in an interview with SI.com’s Josh Gross, Lappen said the complete opposite.

“We don’t give submission bonuses,” SI quoted Lappen. “(But Petruzelli) knew a knockout bonus was possible before the fight.”

Not only did Lappen contradict Petruzelli’s words, it appears he may have contradicted his own. On Wednesday night, EliteXC issued a press release in which Lappen said that it did not influence Petruzelli’s strategy in any way.

“Seth Petruzelli was offered a fee to fight Kimbo Slice, plus a knockout bonus, a common practice throughout the industry,” Lappen is quoted as saying in the release. “EliteXC organizes and promotes fights. We have not…do not…and will not suggest or dictate fighters’ strategies or tactics. How the fighters perform in the cage is at the sole discretion of the athletes involved…”

EliteXC officials and Petruzelli have remained consistent in their claims that nobody was issued an edict to keep the fight standing. However, one has to question Lappen’s assertion in last night’s press release in which he’s quoted as saying “We have not… do not… and will not suggest or dictate fighters’ strategies or tactics.”

Depending on your point of view, the fact that EliteXC offers a bonus to some fighters for knocking his or her opponent out without offering an equal bonus for a submission is in a way dictating a fighter’s strategy through the potential of financial remuneration.

EliteXC’s policy in this regard is a rather uneasy one in that it clearly benefits those that come from a striking background and one could make a strong argument that it discriminates against fighters who come from a background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

All major sports offer performance incentives to athletes. It’s not uncommon for a power hitter to get receive a bonus if he hits a certain number of home runs. If a quarterback throws a certain amount of touchdown passes, he too may be offered a performance-based incentive. The athlete is receiving a bonus to perform in an area that is an acknowledged strength. If EliteXC wants to play to the standup exploits of a fighter, they should also compensate those such as Jake Shields and Wilson Reis who excel on the ground. Perhaps they already offer the two a submission bonus, but what if they do not? For a company trying to make the claim that the name of the sport is “mixed martial arts” and not “UFC,” they should remain true to the nature of the sport and not favor one style of fighting over another.

Since many bonuses to a fighter do not have to be disclosed to a commission, a promotion should not be left to their own devices in this regard. Commissions across the country should mandate that all promotions that offer a knockout bonus to a fighter must also offer a bonus for a fight that ends in submission that is of equal value.

For the sake of the sport, the practice that EliteXC is executing of awarding knockout bonuses to select fighters without also offering them a submission bonus is one that is unacceptable and indefensible and violates many of the fundamental principles that the sport was founded on.

10 COMMENTS
  • Jason G says:

    EliteXc tried as hard as they could to fix the fight without actually fixing it which is what they’ve probably done all along with Kimbo. I agree that there should be purses for submissions as well but I’m not sure if the athletic commissions have the power or are willing to make that happen.

  • Imbecile says:

    Great reporting on this one Sam! Honestly, the best journalism on this issue I have seen.

    You did a fantastic job with nailing down many of the contradicory statements being mde in this situation. I think Petruzelli and Lappen should have gotten their stories straight before they spoke to the press again after Petruzelli’s initial statements. This doesn’t look good.

    Lappen’s statements essentially confirm what Petruzelli originally said – that there was a financial incentive for him to stand and bang with Kimbo.

    One thing I’m not clear on from Lappen’s statements is whether or not EVERY fighter was offered a KO bonus. Sam, you seem to assume from his statements that this bonus was available to every fighter, but I’m not sure that is clear. Maybe he expressed that somewhere else that I am not aware of, but right now I’m not sure if they only offered this KO bonus to Petruzelli to get him to stand up.

    Was it offered just to Petruzelli?
    Was it offered to both Petruzelli and Kimbo?
    Was it offered to every fighter that night?

    The former of these scenarios seems downright illegal, and close to fixing a fight for a desired outcome. The latter of those might be legal, but is still crippling to ground fighters and, in my opinion, not good for the sport.

    I would be interested to hear the exact details of this bonus, and hear testimony from other fighters on that card to see if Lappen offered the same deal to them. Whatever the case, it is becoming increasingly difficult to take seriously any statements from Jared Shaw or Jeremy Lappen. Their credibility has taken a huge hit from this.

  • Imbecile says:

    And for those that would compare this to the UFC’s bonuses, there are some very key differences.

    – First, and most obviously, the UFC offer bonuses for submission, KO, and fight of the night. This is to encourage and reward action in all fights, rather than a stated outcome that cripples certain styles of fighting and encourages others.

    – Second, the UFC does not offer them to a specific fighter for a specific fight. They may secretly hope that someone stands with Chuck Liddell and gets knocked out, but their bonus is not tied to this. Even if someone did that, the bonus could just as easily go to an undercard fighter who got an impressive knock out. So the UFC bonus is not tied to trying to force a specific outcome in a specific fight, or to help any one specific fighter. It can be earned by anyone.

  • detroit_fan says:

    EliteXC is just dirty, no other way to put it. Our sport is in danger of becoming as corrupt as boxing if we don’t get jerks like this out. I hope the SAC’s pay close attention to what goes on with this org.

  • Imbecile says:

    Actually, to add one more thing, CagePotato is reporting that Benji Radach says EliteXC never mentioned to him anything about KO or submission bonuses.

    It sound like the situation is exactly what Petruzelli said originally – that he was offered more money to stand with Kimbo.

  • Rich S. says:

    this is just getting more and more fishy..

    ps – was commenting disabled on that Frank Shamrock Article?

  • micah says:

    rich s.

    yes, sam disabled commenting on the frank shamrock article because today is yom kippur and he was defending his strong convictions to the jewish faith… while not at temple. confusing, i know.

    Editor’s Note: Wow, yet another attack on my faith by Micah. How would you know whether I’ve been to temple today or not? Your ignorance never ceases to amaze me. If you knew anything about the various branches of Judaism, you’d know that not all require a full day off from work… furthermore, I work out of my home and not out of an office. Your rants against my religious beliefs are borderline anti-semitic and you can consider yourself banned. I don’t have to justify my beliefs to you or anyone else. I think your words today make it pretty clear you don’t have tolerance for anyone who does not share the same faith as you. Good riddance. Fair warning to everyone else: from this point forward, my religious beliefs are a private matter and not open for discussion. Stay on topic or your posts will be removed.

  • Jonathan says:

    interesting that on the 7th on MMAWeekly Radio Lappin said that Elite does indeed offer a submission of the night bonus. What a coincidence. The fight is over, I think we just need to move on.

  • Simon Cason says:

    Crooks. Maybe if they quit talking about it, it might go away…Doubt it, but at least we wouldn’t have to listen to wackjobs like Lappen, Champion, Shaw, and even Tom Atencio, who by the way everytime he’s interviewed, he cant seem to remember who he has on his roster, even though he claims he’s best friends with all these guys and looks out for and cares for the fighters he has signed. Take Barnett for example. You think now he’s regretting siging with AFF, instead of Dream or Sengoku. He’s been trying to fight Fedor since the days of PRIDE, gets offered the fight only to turn it down because it wasn’t feasable. What that means is this: He’s pissed at the fact they promised to take care of him, promised him a big contract only to ask him to take a paycut. Plus the fact that AA looked to be next in line for Fedor. Next its the fact that they’ve made 3 different attempts at putting on their 2nd show and keep canceling it. That’s not going to keep these fighters active or happy. Which is exactly what Tom promised he’d do for everyone of his fighters on the roster. Most of them being disgruntled ex-UFC burnouts who were unhappy with the UFC for treatment, even though the real reason their not in the UFC anymore is because their no longer exciting fighters.

  • Stan the Caddy says:

    Ok.. wtf is up with Lappen. Dude is so full of shit it is comical. He clearly states :

    “We don’t give submission bonuses,” SI quoted Lappen. “(But Petruzelli) knew a knockout bonus was possible before the fight.”

    then in another interview to ESPN says:

    “We offered Seth Petruzelli a knockout bonus, a submission bonus and “fight of the night” bonus. If we were trying to influence the fight, why would we do that?

    Can you be anymore shady than this dude? Story changes with every interview he conducts. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is opening an investigation into all this shit. No doubt they’ll get a completely different story as well.

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