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 CBSSports.com.
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 CBSSports.com. “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.