The big news in MMA today is that EliteXC and ProElite, are going out of business this friday. It appears that the much-publicized financial woes, and the pressure of the Kimbo Slice-Petruzelli fiasco were too much for the 22 month old promotion to bear.
I shed a single tear, as EliteXC had brought out some decent fights, not to mention a ton of free UFC counter-programming on Spike TV. Nevertheless, the show must go on, and it's time to rub your hands together and think about where all of the EliteXC contract fighters including Gina Carano, Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, KJ Noons, Robbie Lawler, and Kimbo Slice will go now. Here are my thoughts:
1. Gina Carano's much-anticipated bout with Cristi "Cyborg" Santos won't be happening in EliteXC anymore, but this matchup is too good not to happen. Unfortunately, it will take a big promotion to bring this one in, and you can count the UFC out of the running, as Dana White has said that there isn't enough depth in female MMA to warrant a division in the UFC. Look for either of Affliction or Strikeforce to step up and make this match a reality sometime early next year.
2. Jake Shields has been talking some big talk over the past year, and since the welterweight field outside of the UFC is limited, he has called for fights with middleweights Robbie Lawler and Matt Lindland. This is his big chance now to sign with the UFC and prove that he belongs at the top of welterweight rankings. Let's hope he turns down the expected offer from Affliction, and signs with the UFC. Personally, I believe we will see Shields facing up against Diego Sanchez in the very near future.
3. Nick Diaz, Eddie Alvarez, and KJ Noons comprise the base of EliteXC's lightweight division. I doubt any one promotion will sign all three of them, but hopefully a couple wind up in the UFC, to bring some fresh air into a division that has been frozen by BJ Penn's move to welterweight.
4. Robbie Lawler, like Shields, will be a highly desired free agent. While he has some UFC losses on his record, he was only 22 years old at the time, and has piled up some good wins over talented opposition. Affliction and the UFC will again be the bidders involved, but given the need for middleweight challengers for Anderson Silva, look for the UFC to make a move. Actually, I'd like to Lawler step up as the U.SA. coach for the new "The Ultimate Fighter U.S.A. vs UK" series instead of the Franklin vs Henderson winner, as that would seem to make their moves back up to light heavyweight seem pointless.
5. Kimbo Slice's fortunes took another hit with the demise of EliteXC. I am sure that he will fight again somewhere, but he won't be headlining big events again any time soon.
That just about does it for my thoughts on the closure of EliteXC. Lots of good fighters out there, and hopefully they'll all find places where we can watch them beat eachother up. Well, it was fun while it lasted. As usual, somewhere out there Dana White is smiling.