“My original plan was to throw out push kicks -- they’re called ‘teeps,’” Petruzelli said when asked about his strategy during the Monsters in the Morning Show on 104.1 FM in Orlando, Fla. “Throw out push kicks, have him think that I’m going to throw them to try to rush in more and then shoot in on him obviously.”
Petruzelli was then asked whether he wanted to avoid Slice’s standup, and he noted his training with professional boxers as evidence in his confidence.
“I knew I would do all right, actually, standing up with him, but the promoters kind of hinted to me and they gave me the money to stand and trade with him. They didn’t want me to take him down -- let’s just put it that way. It was worth my while to try to stand up and punch with him.”
Petruzelli, a 28-year-old from Fort Myers, Fla., accepted the matchup on extremely short notice. He was supposed to fight on the undercard, but Slice’s scheduled opponent, Ken Shamrock, was cut over his left eye and medically disqualified from competing just hours before the event.
EliteXC officials scrambled for a replacement, and Petruzelli took the fight. Compared to Slice -- who, while popular, had only three professional bouts going into Saturday and was known strictly as a puncher -- Petruzelli was the more experienced and well-rounded competitor.
In the opening seconds, Petruzelli dropped Slice with a short right hand and then finished him off with strikes on the ground.
“Obviously we didn’t pay [Petruzelli] to stand,” EliteXC Head of Fight Operations Jeremy Lappen told Sherdog.com on Monday when informed of Petruzelli’s comments. “Kimbo had trained for months to fight a guy who’s fighting on the ground. We don’t care if people stand or take people down or what. It doesn’t matter to us. All we want is an exciting fight.”
Petruzelli had not returned calls from Sherdog.com at the time of this report. However, in a follow-up interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com, he suggested that his statements during the radio interview had been twisted and he denied that EliteXC had tried to influence his strategy with money.
“What was meant to be said was that I wanted to keep the fight standing for myself because I knew that was what the crowd, the promoters, and everyone wanted to see because that’s more exciting than just taking someone to the ground,” Petruzelli told FiveOuncesOfPain.com. “That was my thing only. I wanted to keep it exciting, so I decided to keep it standing. It had nothing to do with anybody else. That was all me.”
According to the Florida State Athletic Commission, Petruzelli was paid $50,000 for his win over Slice, which included a $15,000 win bonus. During the 104.1 FM interview Monday, he said he was paid in the “six-figure range,” though it is common for fighters to be paid additional compensation that is not reported through athletic commissions.