Elite Xtreme Combat or “EliteXC” was a mixed martial arts promotion that operated from 2006 until 2008. The promotion staged its first live event in early 2007, but ceased operations in the fall of 2008 when financial difficulties forced its shutdown.
A cooperative venture between the Showtime television network and the ProElite MMA promotional and entertainment company, EliteXC attracted some of the sport’s most talented fighters during its brief history. Heavyweight Anderson Silva was arguably the promotion’s best-known championship title holder. EliteXC operated five weight classes for men, including heavyweights, middleweights, welterweights, lightweights and bantamweights, as well as a separate category for female competitors.
During its time in operation, EliteXC formed partnerships with Cage Rage, a British mixed martial arts company, as well as Dream, a Japanese MMA promotion. However, these affiliations weren’t enough to head off mounting financial difficulties faced by EliteXC, which struggled to reach profitability despite its presence on the Showtime television network. EliteXC also attempted to build an alliance with Affliction, a rival American promotion, but both companies were struggling to find an audience and the partnership soon came to an end.
EliteXC’s final months were marred by controversy. Kimbo Slice, one of the promotion’s best-known competitors, went into a match against replacement opponent Seth Petruzelli as a heavy favorite. However, Petruzelli posted a surprise victory, in large part due to the use of unexpected fighting techniques. A great deal of speculation that EliteXC officials convinced Petruzelli to use unusually aggressive tactics exploded.
Though Petruzelli and EliteXC denied the rumors, it wasn’t enough to save EliteXC. Struggling mightily to attract investors and fill commercial slots, EliteXC abruptly canceled a card scheduled for November of 2008. The company then announced that it was ceasing operations, and several of its more prominent members then found their way into the UFC and other stable MMA promotions.