For all the talk of Mark Cuban creating a platform for various MMA organizations to get exposure, no one’s really been talking that much about ProElite’s buying frenzy. The EliteXC parent company started it’s operations by bringing in JD Penn from Rumble on the Rock, then bought UK promotion Cage Rage. Talks with ICON make it look like a matter of time before they pick that cherry, and it looks like their partnership with Korea’s SpiritMC was more of a buy-in than anything else. Let’s also not forget that they also partnered with K1 for their ill fated Dynamite show and worked with Strikeforce for their radical Shamrock-Baroni event.
Overall, ProElite is starting to look like the United Nations of mixed martial arts companies. Adding to this is their purchase of King of the Cage, one of MMA’s longest running companies. If the UFC is McDonalds, then KoTC is Krystal. What they lack in brand and marketing they make up for in spunk and perseverance. They were pretty much the only other company that managed to get it’s tapes into stores when I was growing up.
So the question is: what the hell is ProElite going to do with it’s empire? Gary Shaw doesn’t seem to be a control freak like Dana White: he seems content to let his new companies run themselves and continue to do their own thing. Will ProElite be happy pulling in revenue from these other companies, airing their product on Showtime when they feel like it, and doing a few big events a year? Or is all of this consolidation a sign that ProElite is preparing to take things to the next level and challenge the UFC?
**UPDATE** It’s official, ProElite just bought ICON. Hail Cesar!