Shine Fights Claims Near-Sellout, Aurelio Out Of Grand PrixDespite the loss of tournament participant Marcus “Maximus” Aurelio, Shine Fights still intends to move forward with its eight-man Lightweight Grand Prix on Friday. Shine Fights COO Jason Chambers told that the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma is already “90% sold out.”

However, further investigation reveals that Shine’s unofficial partner for the event, Oklahoma-based promotion C3 Fights, has made similar claims in the past for events that were nowhere near sold out. First Council staff have reportedly handed out hundreds of comped tickets at C3 Fights events.

Aurelio (20-8-0) withdrew from the tournament due to what is reportedly a lingering elbow injury that has been bothering him for weeks. He is currently rehabbing the injury and still plans to face Shinya Aoki at Dream.16 on September 25th. Shine Fights officials continue to hint at taking steps to block Aurelio from taking the fight in DREAM. Aurelio maintains that his attorney has looked over his Shine Fights contract and that he will be legally free to face Aoki.

Aurelio told TapouT Radio that Shine Fights officials had not informed him of the fact that the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission will levy 60-day ineligibility suspensions upon all fighters on the Shine card. This claim is refuted by Shine, but the promotion also erroneously denied that there would be any suspensions at all this past weekend.

Aurelio has been replaced in the Shine tournament by fellow UFC veteran Shannon Gugerty.

While Chambers continues to grandstand, his comments are repeatedly refuted by reputable sources. Chambers states that the Shine tournament will be conducted under the standards and guidelines set forth by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. However, the NSAC does not support or sanction any one-night tournaments of this nature and NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer has distanced himself from Shine by stating that he has no involvement with the promotion whatsoever. Chambers did not address the comments made by Kizer.

In a continuing trend of untruths and misleading information, Chambers stated today that the Shine Fights event was already 90% sold out. What Chambers did not mention is that events at the First Council are traditionally “sold casino events,” where the casino handles all advertising and pays the promotion a fee to cover costs. Casinos may also purchase groups of tickets to hand out to venue guests at no charge. In fact, has learned that First Council staff frequently hand out hundreds of comped (free) tickets at allegedly “sold out” events held by C3 Fights.

With Shine Fights working closely with C3 Fights for this Friday’s event – C3 Fights is advertising the event on its website and has included it in the promotion’s official schedule – it comes as no surprise that Shine has opted to follow in C3 Fights’s footsteps in making misleading public statements with regards to ticket sales. Even with hundreds of comped tickets, there are still reportedly huge areas of empty seats in the First Council Casino’s sporting section during C3 Fights events. The venue holds approximately 1500 people at maximum capacity.

Shine Fights also faces other potential problems stemming from incidents and reports today. UFC veteran David Heath plans to sue the promotion for allegedly failing to pay him his contracted show money for a May 15th Shine Fights event that was cancelled mere hours before it was set to begin. Additionally, DIRECTV has reportedly opted against airing the Shine Fights event on its pay-per-view schedule on Friday. As first reported here, the event will be completely unsanctioned and all fighters who compete on the card will face ineligibility suspensions for taking part in an unsanctioned event.

Despite all of this, the Shine Fights Lightweight Grand Prix is still scheduled to take place this Friday night at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma. The event airs live on pay-per-view and the promotion is predicting 20,000-30,000 buys.