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EliteXC’s T. Jay Thompson makes several new revelations in interview

While former ICON Sport promoter and ex-EliteXC consultant T. Jay Thompson has been quoted in several articles this week chronicling the demise of his former employers, he conducted what has been his most extensive interview to date in my latest column on

The interview, which is currently available in its entirety, consists of Thompson continuing his candid and critical assessment of why ProElite and EliteXC failed as a company. However, new territory is covered, including Thompson going into specifics about why he had concerns about former EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw form both a moral and ethical standpoint.

“It was just a sense of what was said publicly and what was said behind closed doors as far as ‘fighters first’ and ‘I’m in it only for the fighters,'” Thompson began to respond when asked to elaborate on his position. “I didn’t get a sense of that when we were behind closed doors with him. I think he saw them as a product; strictly as an asset.”

During the course of the interview, Thompson went into further detail and revealed an alleged incident that took place this past February in which Shaw tried to ensure that wherever he went, the promotion’s star attraction would follow.

“Once we got (Kimbo Slice) on board, Gary immediately took a hold of Kimbo and I think had decided that as his power in ProElite was waning that he would really try and quarantine Kimbo from anyone else. Including Jeremy Lappen, which was really frustrating to Jeremy,” Thompson started to tell “And when he went to sign a new contract, Gary Shaw actually put some provisions in the contract that may have been illegal – and they were certainly ill moral and unethical – that if Gary Shaw left the company that Kimbo’s contract could be re-negotiated and that Kimbo would be allowed to box outside of the company.”

Thompson also divulged that even in its dying days, ProElite was failing to build key relationships with potential sponsors.

“There was a horrible relationship that happened with TapouT in the last month of ProElite where there are legal matters pending, that obviously aren’t going to go through now, with images of Kimbo Slice,” stated Thompson. “As far as I’m concerned, TapouT should be considered a partner as they are spending millions of dollars promoting Kimbo Slice. And we treated them like we were doing them a favor by allowing them to promote Kimbo Slice.”

In the interview, Thompson also talks about a major EliteXC show that came close to being canceled at the last minute, his thoughts on Oct. 4, when he first realized the company was headed for serious trouble, and more.

  • William W. says:

    “$55 million in two years. I have trouble adding it all up!”

    First off, Sam, great interview. I’d love to see you do an in-depth expose on where this money went. A lot of people point to buying CAGE RAGE or KOTC, but those costs were relatively low according to their financial report ($3 million and $1 million respectively, I believe). For 2007, they listed only $5 million to run shows. I’d love to see where this all went (and I bet a lot of people got rich).

    Again, great interview.

  • Robert Joyner says:

    good stuff sam….

  • mma fan says:

    did you ask about TJ’s relationship with Tapout?

  • Sam Caplan says:

    MMA Fan, no, I did not. Is there more to the story?

  • egad81 says:

    At least he mentioned Tapout. That was nice of him.

  • Dan says:


    This is really good stuff. Job well done. Keep on exposing!

  • Shatner says:

    T.Jay Thompson is bitter because the people at Elite bought his Icon promotion and paid him to be a consultant and Icon looks to be finished and Elite never listened to a word he said as a consultant now he’s spilling his guts about everything to anyone holding a microphone.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Shatner, can you blame him?

  • Shatner says:

    No I can’t really blame him because he obviously wants to stay in the MMA game and this is his way of saying hey people look I had no input on the mess with ProElite.

  • ihateemo says:

    Then why shouldn’t he “spill his guts”? You make it sound like it’s a bad thing that he’s speaking about ProElite’s legally questionable and morally dubious behaviour. ProElite should be a cautionary tale for all other promotions (including the UFC!).

    The thing that interested me most was Shaw inserting the contract renegotation clause into Kimbo’s contract. It explains EliteXC’s pushing of Slice – not because they thought they could make him a star or that he was a bright MMA prospect, but because Shaw believed that Slice could make him personally a lot more money.

    Blech. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  • Shatner says:

    Because before Elite closed up shop you never heard a word from him.Now all of a sudden when he’s in defense mode to distance himself from this mess he can’t say enough.Bottom line he ran a small show in Hawaii ( which had some good events) and he wants to move into the big time and does not want to be associated with anyone from ProElite.If he felt the dealings at Elite have been as bad as he’s saying for this long and he felt that uncomfortable with things he should have resigned awhile ago.


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