The plot thickens in the ProElite debacle, with a new slant on the situation not yet revealed: a conversation with Andy Geer following the inaugural Ultimate Challenge show this past weekend revealed that, although Cage Rage had been purchased by ProElite, they hadn't actually paid for it before going under.
Geer explains the situation, "To all intents and purposes, ProElite had entered into an agreement to purchase Cage Rage. A deal was struck with a deposit accepted. Then they had a cut-off date to make a balloon payment; they never completed the purchase."
It is widely regarded that the administrators are currently trying to auction off the carcass of ProElite and its assets. The common perception is that King of the Cage is one of the entities in the bidding war, but wasn't Terry Trebilcock's promotion already part of the ProElite group? How can a company that was sold, be bidding for the same company that was due to purchase it? Well, if KOTC were in the same situation as Cage Rage, then it implies that they never received full compensation either, ditto for Icon Sport and Rumble on the Rock.
Back to Geer and the Cage Rage predicament. Hasn't Dave O'Donnell already moved on with the Ultimate Challenge brand?
"Let me just state that Dave is one of my closest friends both in the industry and personally, and he has his own concern going at the moment. But there is still a lot of money to be made from this sport, and a lot of investors out there that can tap into that potential. I am currently pursuing my legal right to the Cage Rage brand and assets in order to secure new backers and to build upon this mess in a positive light," clarified Geer.
He added that the situation isn't dissimilar to a home purchase gone wrong. "They made a deposit and had big plans, but they never completed, and as of today, they still owe me $2 million worth of final payment, let alone what they owe Dave O'Donnell and the silent partner. Clearly, the brand isn't theirs, and I intend to claim my legal right to the business."
It is a complex legal situation for sure. So what does Trebilcock stand to gain from the purchase of ProElite if Cage Rage and potentially the other promotions are technically free agents? The key elements to the answer are the potentially lucrative fighter contracts that can be sold to other organizations or retained to continue building his brand and close links to CBS and Showtime Networks to try and build on the network television opportunities presented.
With the right business plan, a re-born EliteXC could build on the 6.51 million viewers that tuned in to the last show and make a serious run at being successful. But it would require deep pockets to start with, a completely brutal shedding of dead wood, and of course, the willingness of a jaded CBS to play ball.
"They raised $60 million in funding and always said that EliteXC was a profit-making business, so where did all the money go? Someone spent the money and it wasn't us. We weren't a loss-making company and we had fighters like Babalu, Belfort and Sperry fighting because we had a smart business plan, but as soon as (ProElite) came onboard, all that changed," explains Geer with regards to the perception of Cage Rage as a loss-making organization.
Despite some occasional mistakes along the way, Cage Rage came from humble beginnings of a 3,000 attendance figure at the Wembley Conference Centre, through sell-out shows at 8,000 before finding a live audience that was estimated to be on average 4,500 people, over a five-year period.
What's the prognosis for another show? Geer doesn't know yet. "We are aiming to bring it back in 2009; that's the plan. With new backers and a new approach, Cage Rage will be back to being British again that is for sure."