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While the identity of ProElite’s potential buyer remains a mystery, new details come to the forefront

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.

13 COMMENTS
  • john says:

    still too much speculation

  • Dog says:

    I’m think it will be a underdog that will get it and a publicly traded company at that and it will be a holly crap how did they pull that off ?? this is interesting for sure I’m hopping they will give the UFC a run for there money… good luck to the buyer it will be all up hill. keep up the good work Sam !!

  • Joseph says:

    Wow, so the plot thickens!
    I just want this deal to be done so we can enjoy MMA again on Showtime and CBS.

  • EdWhitson says:

    Really, hope it is the UFC – like to see Lawler back. Shields vs. some of the top WWs.

  • Nick says:

    scott coker is someone i would love to give control over a decent stable of fighters and major exposure through cbs and showtime…..he seems to know how to run an effective promotion.

    as well, dana white loves him and the likelihood of some cross-promotion is increased……this way we could have 2 healthy organizations who like each other enough to put on the odd superfight……ppv bonanza!

  • William W. says:

    Sam, do you really expect us to believe you don’t know who the new owner is? :)

  • Sam Caplan says:

    William, if I knew the identity, why would I withhold it? Please use common sense.

  • joseph says:

    Sam,

    If it is Coker and if he is on vacation, will this drag onto next year, after the holidays?

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Joseph, to clarify, I’ve never said it was Coker as some other sites are attributing. I reported that certain members of the MMA media have been informed it is Strikeforce. Nobody knows for sure who it will be. I also doubt that we will hear an announcement on Monday. I am beginning to suspect that ProElite may be telling people different things in order to create the illusion of a market for the company as a way to get companies to up their bids. That’s just a theory on my part though. I hear something different and new on a daily basis.

  • Robert says:

    Hopefully a deal is reached and the buyer gets a fresh start with the current CBS and Showtime deals in place. As long as the Shaw’s are not involved the promotion has a real chance at success.

  • joseph says:

    Thanks for clarifying Sam.

    I was just wondering if ProElite wants to meet their goal of selling the company by the end of the year, or else, I fear it will drag into next year due to the holidays.

    I get the same feeling as well, but they have to make a choice soon, or else these parties will get fed up with all these run-arounds.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Joseph, I don’t know how much longer it can drag on. At their burn rate, they are going to have to declare bankruptcy if they don’t sell soon. They still have a small amount of employees to pay, office space, operating expenses, etc. The skeleton crew that remains aren’t going to donate their services for free.

  • Harris Waters says:

    Dude,

    There are other players in the deal and PE is just playing all of them against each other. They’re all starting to figure it out and some are just deciding to step aside and let the smoke clear before doing anything else.

    This was supposed to be a done deal by end of November. I’d bet money it’s not done by year end because PE keeps telling everyone to up their offer and everyone’s tired of hearing this message.

    I’ve got it on pretty good authority that a couple of others are waiting to see if there really is some mystery high bidder before they’ll add another penny to their offers.

    Plus one of these other companies actually proposed a deal in excess of the rumored $9.5 mill asking price, but apparently PE or CBS didn’t like its structure.

    No one’s willing to give Chuck Champion everything he wants in the deal and why should they? The economy sucks and he wants someone to pony up close to $10 mil up front when PE’s already blown thru over $50 mil and is in default on some of its obligations.

    Heck, the bidders might be better off if PE ended up in bankruptcy and then they could cherry pick assets and leave most of the debts behind.

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