In attempting to uncover the identity of the company that has allegedly recorded a successful bid for the assets of ProElite, FiveOuncesOfPain.com has uncovered myriad new details.
According to sources, several members of the MMA media had been informed that Scott Coker and his San Jose-based Strikeforce promotion were in the process of closing a deal to complete the ProElite acquisition. This information contradicts what this website originally reported on Thursday.
However, Five Ounces of Pain stands by its original reporting which stated that Strikeforce’s bid was not successful. Sources informed us last weekend that Strikeforce’s bid was only believed to be 20-25% of the approximate $9.5 million (a correction from our original report of $9 million) asking price for ProElite. Soon after submitting the bid, Strikeforce did not receive any communication from ProElite.
Additional sources now claim that Strikeforce officials had resumed communications with ProElite earlier this week but that they were informed they were $1 million short of the highest bid received. The identity of the high bidder was not revealed and it’s uncertain whether it was a ploy to get Strikeforce to increase its bid.
Five Ounces of Pain has also been informed that CBS is apparently pushing for ProElite to sell its assets to Strikeforce. The network has aspirations of televising MMA again and executives from both CBS and Showtime hold the promotion in high regard. Furthermore, Coker is believed to be backed by the same ownership of the HP Pavilion in San Jose and the fact that he is backed by a reputable company is seen as a major plus. It is also believed that CBS’ blessing could go a long way towards closing a deal, as part of the $9.5 million asking price is the $6.5 million that is owed to the company by ProElite. With a suitable buyer, it is believed that CBS might be open to restructuring the term of the debt re-payment.
However, a source informed Five Ounces of Pain on Friday night that Coker has told friends that he is on vacation, making it unlikely that he is in the midst of closing a major acquisition unless he is not being forthright.
The identity of the company with the winning bid still remains unclear. Five Ounces of Pain had originally reported that a group led by Terry Trebilcock was considered the leading candidate. However, a single source informed us Friday night that it is believed that Trebilcock and his backers, a group of high-profile Native American casino owners, have pulled out of the bidding.
The source also expressed their belief that our reporting that a group led by Jeremy Lappen had placed an unsuccessful bid may not be entirely accurate. At this point in time, it cannot be ruled out that Lappen’s group does in fact have the highest bid. However, there are strong doubts as to whether a deal to acquire ProElite could be finalized by Lappen’s group as CBS may not want to work closely with such a prominent member of EliteXC’s former management team. Without CBS’ cooperation, it’s possible that any attempted deal to acquire ProElite could very easily collapse.
With the CBS contract structured so that a promotion could lose up to $1 million per show if they were unsuccessful in selling sponsorships, it is believed that the crown jewel of the ProElite acquisition is the one year remaining on the Showtime contract. Sources have revealed that the rights fee for a mixed martial arts event on Showtime is $800,000 and that with a responsible fighter budget, a promotion could make a significant amount of money per show.
While the identity of the winning remains unclear, so does the question of whether the promotion’s 70-plus fighter contracts are transferrable to a new owner. Five Ounces of Pain has talked to multiple lawyers and agents within the industry who have expressed varying opinions. The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn at this time is that the matter is a gray area that only a court may be able to determine. However, it is believed that many managers and agents would decline to take their case to court if a suitable group takes over ProElite because it is their desire to have a viable alternative to the UFC for their fighters.