Sam Caplan has a detailed history of how promotions working together rarely hits a synergistic level and usually ends up being a clusterfuck:
- Pride taking and taking from the UFC but never giving anything back
- the ‘partnership’ forged between Strikeforce and EliteXC as a result of a lawsuit over Frank Shamrock
- the K-1 super-alliance between a bunch of promotions
One partnership that’s been missed is the partnership of promotions that was forged under ProElite’s banner. The idea seemed solid: buy a number of successful smaller organizations, pool the head talents and create a super promotion known as EliteXC. The smaller organizations would act as feeders to the ‘main show’ and supply a steady stream of cash and potential stars.
Unfortunately that hasn’t worked out. The partnership has simply gutted a lot of the quality from these feeders as the main guys work to keep things at ProElite rolling. Promotions like Cage Rage went from pulling 12,000 people to struggling for half of that. Icon Sport and Rumble on the Rock both used to be very respectable and successful until ProElite came and stripped them for parts. Now ProElite CEO Chuck Champion is calling Hawaii – one of the first places to embrace MMA – ‘a hard market’.
We can all laugh at most of the attempts of companies to work together … we get an event or a co-promotion out of it, or like Saturday we get an Andrei Arlovski fight at Affliction’s expense. But let’s not forget the most disastrous partnership of all: when ProElite bought up a number of successful smaller companies and ran them into the ground.