I didn't want to post anything else on this, but the situation is getting more and more ridiculous every day.
It's hard to know what to make of Jeremy Lappen. He tried to clarify his numerous contradictions today with Michael David Smith of Fanhouse.com, and instead admitted Seth Petruzelli told the truth the first time he spoke:
Regarding the controversy over whether EliteXC paid Petruzelli a bonus (or, as some would call it, a bribe) to keep the fight on his feet, I pointed out to Lappen that he had seemed to contradict himself about what, exactly, EliteXC offered Petruzelli.
Lappen was quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying that EliteXC does not give submission bonuses, while he was quoted by ESPN as saying that Petruzelli was offered a submission bonus. Lappen said both stories misquoted him.
"They're both wrong," Lappen said. "We have given submission bonuses in the past but they're not as common as knockout bonuses. If the question is, 'Have we ever given submission bonuses?' The answer is yes. But we give knockout bonuses more often. We gave Seth a knockout bonus before the fight started. That was part of the deal."
Let me make my point clear: There is no such thing as a knockout bonus before a fight starts. It is a quid pro quo, not a bonus. Imagine a company giving you a bonus for hours worked in a year before the year starts. It's inconceivable.
Though I'm sure there will be plenty of spin coming on this statement too, this is an admission of guilt. You don't pay a guy a KO bonus before a fight without the clear expectation on both sides that his job is to stand and go for a KO. You don't have to say anything for the expectation to be there.
This is going to be my last post on the topic. For me, the issue is crystal clear. There is no way to misconstrue Seth's initial statement, I will not believe a spin machine instead of my eyes and ears.
I've been sick watching people like Michael Wilbon run with this story and turn it into a "fix" for Petruzelli, and have wondered if writers like me are partially responsible for pushing the story. Perhaps. But it's also up to the most devoted fans to keep their sport clean. I want EliteXC to thrive, I want free MMA on CBS, I want there to be a place for fighters like Gina Carano, Jake Shields, and others to fight. But not at the expense of the sport.
I fully expect a negligible "investigation" that will exonerate the people involved here, but it won't matter. Nobody needs an investigation at this point to know what happened.
Update: Commenter Smoogy notes what will surely become the spin in response to this: that he only meant that they negotiated a bonus before the fight. Even if this is the case, it still reeks of telling a guy how to fight. And it's still different than having a best KO and best submission bonus available to everyone on the card before a fight.