Xyience Scandal Watch

Charles Jay at MMA Memories has an interesting piece on the weird relationship between Zuffa/UFC and Xyience. The part that was news to be was the info on the background of the Xyience founder:

Russell Pike, who founded Xyience and oversaw its involvement with the UFC for some time, is a convicted felon, having pleaded guilty to grand theft and forgery in California in 1987 and of money laundering in 1999. Not only that, according to a "Desist and Refrain Order" filed by the California Department of Corporations in September of last year, pursuant to the sale of Xyience stock, Pike suffered a default judgment in a civil action filed against him by The Mirage, a hotel-casino licensed by the Nevada State Gaming Commission, when he allegedly wrote them $300,000 in bad checks over a two-day period in 1995.

And that is very interesting indeed, especially in light of the Fertittas' recent lawsuit filing against Dream Stage Entertainment, the former owners of PRIDE, which the UFC purchased last year. In the complaint, the Fertittas allege that the rumored involvement of some of Dream Stage's people with elements of the Japanese Yakuza "could have a detrimental effect upon the Purchasing Parties' (the Fertittas') affiliates' gaming licenses (for the uninitiated, the Fertitta family controls Station Casinos Inc, which has about 17 properties in the United States)."

But it was okay to engage in a marketing partnership with a convicted forger and money launderer who has written bad checks to casinos, and furthermore, to literally bring him and his company into direct involvement with promotions on casino properties such as the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where Pike should have probably been put into the Black Book (in this reporter's opinion)? Why had THAT never seemed to bother them?

All questions worth asking, and worthy of being answered, perhaps in front of a gaming commission.

It seems as if some ominous clouds are gathering over the UFC. I sure hope there's more smoke than fire here because the MMA boom in the U.S. could end with a whimper just like the MMA boom in Japan did if these allegations of illegal activity by promotion owners prove true.

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