It's one of the biggest growing sports and did pretty good ratings for CBS. And now it's gone.
According to a report on ESPN.com, the parent company of the EliteXC mixed martial arts circuit is closing its doors for good.
The website Sherdog.com says according to T.J. Thompson, an executive at ProElite Inc., he was informed that the company would close for good this week and would file for bankruptcy protection. And Sports Illustrated has reported on its website that ProElite told its employees and fighters on Monday that it was shutting down, effective immediately.
Sherdog also reported that according to numerous sources, an EliteXC card scheduled for Nov. 8 in Reno, Nev., has been canceled. According to the report, Joey Villasenor, who was scheduled to fight Robbie Lawler for the circuit's middleweight title on the card, was informed Monday it had been scrubbed.
ProElite did not return calls seeking comment, according to the reports.
The shutdown follows an EliteXC card televised by CBS here on News 10 on Oct. 4. In that fight, the circuit's biggest star, Kimbo Slice, suffered a 14-second TKO at the hands of a relatively unknown last-minute replacement, Seth Petruzelli.
That bout is under investigation by the Florida State Athletic Commission, following comments Petruzelli made after the fight suggesting that he had been promised monetary incentives to trade punches with Slice, rather than employ a more technical game plan.
Showtime Networks, which owns a 20 percent stake in ProElite and is a "cousin" of CBS, on Sept. 17 filed a notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announcing its intention to enter negotiations to purchase the company outright.
So much for that. SI.com reported that according to a source inside ProElite, those negotiations failed and ProElite's funding disappeared, forcing it out of business.
As for the future of MMA on CBS, most say that it looks bleak...for now...