In the aftermath of Kimbo Slice getting beat down in less time than it takes to microwave popcorn, Slice’s promoter, ProElite, is under investigation for possible match-fixing. The investigation is being conducted by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and comes on the heels of comments made by Seth Petruzelli, the last minute replacement who gave Slice his first professional defeat.
Petruzelli, offered a shot at Slice only after it was determined that Ken Shamrock was too injured to compete, has been granting interviews to anyone and everyone following his improbable victory on Saturday night. On an Orlando, Fla. radio show Monday, Petruzelli said he was offered money by fight promoters to stand and trade punches with Kimbo.
He did, and knocked out “Black Beard” in 14 seconds.
Now Petruzelli and ProElite are backtracking as fast as they can, with Petruzelli saying his comments were “misconstrued” and ProElite saying it offered Petruzelli performance-based bonuses, same as it does with many fighters.
Jeremy Lappen, a lap dog for ProElite, said Petruzelli was offered bonuses based upon whether or not he could knock out Slice or make him submit. Lappen also said Petruzelli was offered a “Fight of the Night” bonus, an arbitrary bonus given by promoters to the winner of the night’s most entertaining fight.
Well, the match was the night’s main event and featured ProElite’s big name (Kimbo Slice), so Petruzelli was probably assured of receiving a sum of money under the guise of “Fight of the Night” could he keep the fight off the mat, where Slice is most prone.
Petruzelli has since said that ProElite did not try to influence the match, and Lappen has tried to drive the conversation toward the fight’s overnight ratings, where it did very well against college football and an MLB playoff game.
But if the investigation finds any wrong-doing, ProElite will certainly face the brunt and likely fold under external and internal pressure. What’s perhaps even more intriguing is the potential side-effects a negative ruling could have on the future of mixed-martial arts on the whole. Several casinos in Las Vegas take bets on MMA matches. That could all but stop in the light of a match-fixing scandal.
As for its fan base, MMA will never lose its fanatical 18-34 year-olds. But the sport could lose the national credibility it has gained — all thanks to Kimbo getting ‘Sliced by a nobody.