With all the news of ProElite's collapse in the media, speculation has surrounded the fate of its star athletes.
So far, former Elite employees have predicted that fighter contracts would become assets to be sold in bankruptcy court. Another scenario could involve an investor or entity purchasing the contracts from ProElite before proceedings begin.
The UFC seems a logical suitor for several of the marooned fighters. In the past two years, Zuffa, LLC has either bought out or signed athletes from several shuttered organizations. Light heavyweights Quinton Jackson and LyotoMachida were acquired through the purchase of the World Fighting Alliance, and recently, a host of fighters from the bankrupt International Fight League were scooped up.
From name recognition alone, EliteXC's Gina Carano and Kimbo Slice are money in the bank. But at the post-fight press conference for UFC 90, UFC President Dana White said he was not interested in them, for different reasons.
"I think Gina Carano is a talented fighter, I think she's a star," White said. "She should have been the main event of that night, or Jake Shields. My thing with women fighting is that there's just not enough good women out there to create a whole division. Could I do some one off fights here and there, yeah, but that's not really what we do."
White was not so kind about Elite's other marquee name, Kimbo Slice, but offered him a job -- of sorts -- nonetheless.
"If he really wants to get into the UFC and he wants to fight, he should get on The Ultimate Fighter," White said. "What has he done, other than getting ten million hits on YouTube, what's the guy done to deserve to be in the UFC? Nothing. I don't consider him a real athlete or anything. He won't win 'The Ultimate Fighter.' The offer's out there if he wants to take it. He won't win it."
White has reportedly maintained a good relationship with Shields, and said he'd be interested in having the top 10 welterweight on his roster.
"We're always interested in having the best guys in the world," he said. "Jake Shields is obviously one of them."
Shields recently told MMAWeekly.com that the UFC was the most likely option for his next career move. The first hurdle, it appears, is his contract with EliteXC.
"I don't want to get stuck in some complicated thing where they're trying to hold onto my contract, trying to sell it," he stated. "I want to be a free agent and then re-negotiate contracts from there."
Little is known on ProElite's plans for the fighters in limbo. It's safe to say that no fighter wants to be tied up in court, but that may happen unless White, or anyone, puts their money where their mouth is.