John Alessio: I'm not facing Jake Shields at Sept. 20 EliteXC event
by John Morgan on Aug 14, 2008 at 4:05 pm ET
Despite recent reports of EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields (21-4-1) defending his title on EliteXC's Sept. 20 card against John Alessio (23-11), the potential challenger today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) he will not be ready in time for the Albuquerque, N.M. event.
Alessio was recently forced to take time off from training after suffering a broken arm in a June victory over veteran Pete Spratt. Now the Xtreme Couture fighter feels it imperative to allow ample time for a full recovery.
"Sept. 20 is the date [EliteXC] brought up (for a bout with Shields), and that's just too soon for my arm," Alessio said. "I had surgery on [my arm] three days after the fight (with Spratt). I had a cast on it for a little while. Now I'm out of it, and I'm back in training.
"But I had to take five weeks off. Getting ready for a five-round fight by Sept. 20 is too much."
Not that Alessio wouldn't relish the opportunity to face Shields.
"I'm a hundred percent in to fight Shields," Alessio said. "I just need a little bit longer. If EliteXC can make it happen on the Oct. 4 show, then it's a go. I just don't know what EliteXC's plan is."
Additionally, though ongoing rumors have been circling for weeks that Alessio's signing with EliteXC was a done deal, the 29-year-old said the contract is not yet official.
"I signed [the contract]," Alessio said. "I just don't think we've handed it in. I think my managers are holding on to it to wait to find out what's going on.
"To be honest, I'm not one hundred percent sure. We're still talking as far as I know."
Despite the questions currently surrounding the bout, Alessio is hopeful a deal can soon be reached.
"I hope [EliteXC] can make it happen Oct. 4 because then I'm in," Alessio said. "It would be a big honor to fight for the EliteXC title -- especially against such a great champion.
"It could be a fun fight."
John Morgan is the lead staff reporter for MMAjunkie.com.