First EliteXC cancelled their September 20th Showtime event. Then they canceled a Cage Rage Contenders event set for August 16. Then their latest financial report bears an ominous similarity to some of the IFL's latter-day reports.
MMA Payout's Kelsey Philpott takes the glass is half full view:
It’s no secret that ProElite has been in trouble for some time now: the company is hemorrhaging money, has undergone significant upper-level management re-organization, and has wilted under the pressure of increased competition and greater expectations due to their network television deal. You can check out ProElite’s latest SEC filing here.
However, I will caution that this cancellation is by no means “the last straw” for the company. While this may signal financial trouble, it also indicates that ProElite is trying to do something about it.
The fact that they’re canceling shows and concentrating their efforts on the next CBS event suggests that they’re trying to reign in their costs. The risk-reward ratio is considerably more favourable for a network broadcasted event; and for a company that is quickly burning through its cash reserves, they must begin generating more than they spend.
FightOpinion's Zach Arnold has a different, more ominous, take:
The IFL is dead, and both Elite XC & DREAM are heading into dangerous territory. The MMA business at the end of this year may very well look exactly like the professional wrestling business on a worldwide scale — one major company (UFC… like WWE) and everyone else not even close.
When Pro Elite made the move to buy out a lot of B-level MMA companies, I thought it was a volatile and unwise move. How can you possibly manage four or five different MMA organizations by sitting in an office in Los Angeles? Impossible to do. By buying out all of the major B-level promotions (except Strikeforce), Elite XC has basically accomplished what UFC could never have dreamed possible of doing — potentially killing off an entire farm system of promotions for building new MMA fighters. Essentially put, if Pro Elite goes out of business soon then it can be fairly stated that the company negatively impacted the business by paying off so many upstarts and not doing anything with those promoters they paid off. Remember — promoters like Terry Trebilcock signed multi-year deals, so they will be on the sidelines in the foreseeable future if Pro Elite tanks and goes out of business.
Philosophically, I'm wary of monopolies but let's face it, the UFC is the only player in the MMA business who has their shit together at the moment. EliteXC started out their business with some shady antics and its seems the piper is calling in his due.
My main fear of a UFC only world is that we'll never see Fedor, Josh Barnett, Frank Shamrock, or Joachim Hansen fight again. That wouldn't be cool, but its certainly better than a world without MMA at all.