It’s been about 26 hours since I entered the Prudential Center Arena for the premiere of EliteXC’s Primetime on CBS. The reviews across the internet are as varied as the show was, but after taking a day to digest it, these are my observations from a live observer point of view. I have not had a chance to review the tape of the event, so I will not comment on the actual CBS broadcast and how it was presented.
I have been to a variety of MMA events, including two UFC PPVs, two WEC events, two IFL events, and a few small show such as Battle Cage Extreme, and Reality Fighting. Far and away, this may have been the worst live MMA show I have ever attended. Read on for my reasonings why.
Robbie Lawler connects with a vicious kick to the body against Scott Smith. Photo: Tom Casino/EliteXC
Results from the CBS show tonight:
Joe Sampieri def. Mike Groves - TKO
Zach Makovsky def. Andre Soares - Unanimous Decision
James Jones def. Calvin Kattar - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Wilson Reis def. Justin Robbins - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Matt Makowski def. Nick Serra - TKO
Carlton Haselrig def. Carlos Moreno - TKO
Chris Liguori def. Jim Bova - TKO
Brett Rogers def. Jon Murphy - KO
Joey Villasenor def. Phil Baroni - TKO
Gina Carano def. Kaitlin Young - TKO
Robbie Lawler vs Scott Smith - No Contest
Kimbo Slice def. James Thompson - TKO
Photo by Jon Swenson.
Former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock will serve as one of the color commentators during the television broadcast of Elite Xtreme Combat’s “Primetime” event on May 31st, which will become the first mixed martial arts show to air live on network TV. (CBS)
The news comes from Sherdog.com, which reports that CBS and EliteXC are expected to make the announcement this morning at a news conference held at the network’s studios in Los Angeles.
Gus Johnson, mostly known for his work during the NCAA Tournament and as the radio play-by-play voice of the NBA’s New York Knicks, will serve as the play-by-play broadcaster.
Mauro Ranallo, who has done play-by-play for every EliteXC broadcast since the promotion’s first show in February of last year, will work as a color commentator alongside Shamrock.
B.J. Penn. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The war of words between UFC lightweight kings B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk raged on yesterday, a little over a week until their highly anticipated showdown that will decide the organization’s true lightweight champion in Las Vegas.
Even before the bout was officially signed, Penn has been adamant about blasting Sherk with every chance he gets concerning Sherk’s failed steroids test last year under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission, a ruling that the Minnesota native still feels is wrong to this day.
“It’s hard for me, being a guy that’s never used performance enhancing drugs,” Penn said on yesterday’s pre-fight conference call for UFC 84: Ill Will. “You wake up every day after training tired and in pain and it kind of gets to you when you learn that someone is taking those kind of things. I’m a purist and I love this sport more than anythning. When someone goes ahead and perverts a sport as pure as this, I can’t take it.”
Even though the two both agreed that the conclusion of the fight would most likely result in the end of the bad blood and hard-feelings, Penn continued to push Sherk’s button as the call went on, even going as far as asking the former champion himself about his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, prompting Sherk to strike back.
“I know what I did and I know what I didn’t do,” Sherk said. “I went above and beyond what I had to do in order to try and prove that I was innocent. Anyone that has followed the case and what I’ve had gone through will know that I didn’t do what they said I did.”
“I have fans who stand by me and who believe that I didn’t take steroids,” continued Sherk. “Then there are those who will think a certain way because of the way I look. I’ve looked the same for the past 10 years. Shit, I’ve apparently been doing steroids and I’ve been able to drop down to 155 lbs. Amazing, isn’t it?”
Moderating the banter was UFC President Dana White. While White was hesitant to give a definite opinion on the situation involving Sherk, he also stated that he can’t complain about the amount of animosity between the two.
“I’ve known Sean Sherk for a long time. I respect him as an athlete and as a man,” White said. “B.J. has his opinions of Sean and he’s going to let you know what they are. This happens sometimes. One of the cool things about this sport is the sportsmanship and everything else. But you know sometimes guys just rub each other the wrong way and it happens. Everything I just said about the two best fighters in the world facing each other in their prime, it doesn’t suck when they hate each other either.”
Additional conference call notes from yesterday are after the jump.
Photo courtesy of TitoOrtiz.com.
With his days as a featured fighter with the Ultimate Fighting Championship coming to an end, Tito Ortiz, the one-time face of the organization, has mentioned that he’d like to take his services elsewhere following his upcoming fight against Lyoto Machida on May 24th.
One of the organizations in which Ortiz has expressed interest in Elite Xtreme Combat, headed by former boxing promoter Gary Shaw. Brash and out-spoken, Shaw is no stranger to giving his opinion when asked by the media and didn’t shy away earlier today when the potential of Ortiz shifting his career to EliteXC was brought up.
“In all my years in the fight game, I can see, touch, feel a superstar,” Shaw said this afternoon on a conference call promoting EliteXC’s network television debut on CBS later this month. “Everytime I see Tito Ortiz, he reeks of stardom. I think when his days in the UFC are over, that I can reincarnate him. Could you imagine Tito and Kimbo Slice in the cage together? I hope when his contract with the UFC is up that he will not be sitting across the table with me, but sitting with me at that table.”
“Please tell Tito that our door is wide open for him,” Shaw continued. “When his deal with the UFC is up, I’d love to talk with him and figure things out.”
Ortiz’s falling out with the UFC stems from his rocky relationship with the promotion’s figurehead, Dana White. The two have been at each other’s throats for years but things took a major turn for the worst after a proposed exhibition boxing match between the two fell apart and White opted to begin his verbal bashing of Ortiz in the media.
Ortiz has since stated multiple times that his fight against Machida will be his last with the UFC. (His current contract with the promotion ends this summer) Reasons for his departure circulate solely around White and his negative treatment of Ortiz as well as other contracted fighters on the organization’s roster.
Shaw mentioned that Ortiz wouldn’t have to worry about any kind of lack of respect from himself or others in the organization if he decided to sign with EliteXC.
“All of our fighters can attest to this, but we here at EliteXC put the fighters first,” Shaw said. “Our fighters are of the utmost importance to us. They come before the organization. The spotlight should be put on them. We treat everyone with respect and like they are a champion, regardless of who they are. Tito wouldn’t have to worry about that sort of thing if he decided to take his services to our camp.”
Additional conference call notes from today are after the jump.
Tickets for the upcoming EliteXC show on May 31st go on sale to the public on Friday, April 18th at 10am through Ticketmaster. MMA on Tap has learned that a pre-sale of tickets started Wednesday morning. The pre-sale can also be purchased through the Ticketmaster website. The code is “Kimbo” for access to the pre-sale.
This EliteXC show will be broadcast live on CBS-TV, the first live MMA event on broadcast television in the United States. The main event features internet fighting sensation Kimbo Slice against Pride veteran James Thompson. EliteXC and CBS today confirmed the main card fights scheduled to be broadcast.
* Kimbo Slice vs. James “Colossus” Thompson (Heavyweights)
* “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler vs. Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith (for EliteXC Middleweight title)
* Gina “Conviction” Carano vs. Kaitlin Young (140 lb. weight class)
* Phil Baroni vs. Murilo “Ninja” Rua (Middleweights)
* Brett “The Grim” Rogers vs. Jon Murphy (Heavyweights)
Yoshiro Maeda. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Less than 24 hours after it was announced that Manny Tapia would be forced out of his scheduled WEC featherweight title bout against Miguel Torres due to a knee injury, Pancrase veteran Yoshiro Maeda has confirmed to Sherdog.com that he will indeed come in as an injury replacement and take on Torres in his first title defense.
Maeda, the current featherweight King of Pancrase, knocked out Charlie Valencia with a body kick in February and has not lost since being submitted by former WEC title contender Joe Pearson at a PRIDE event in November 2006.
HCF Postpones May 10th Event
From a press release sent out today:
Due to the fact that the due diligence process has been extended on our impending re-structuring, we are officially postponing our May 10 fight card. We hope our exclusive fighters will understand. We are confident this new corporate structure will be in every athlete’s best interest.
The event was slated to be Hardcore Championship Fighting’s biggest yet. A light heavyweight bout between Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Mauricio Alonso has been signed. Assuerio Silva, David Loiseau, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira were also rumored as possible participants at the event.
CBS Announced Next CBS Event Date
Adam Swift of MMA Payout points out that CBS has announced July 26th as the date for the second Elite Xtreme Combat televised show on the network. No additional information was revealed concerning the event however. A list of possible fighters or a potential venue for the show are still unknown at this time. The event will be the second on a current four-show contract over the next twelve months with CBS.
Kang Talks Discussions With UFC
From our friends at MMA Junkie:
“Yes, we were negotiating with the UFC,” Kang said. “I would have loved to fight in the UFC. I would love to fight in North America and not have to travel 12 hours for a change. At the end of the day, it came down to where I want to be represented at the moment and who was offering the best contract.”
The best contract, it seems, was one that would allow the half-Korean fighter to compete in South Korea’s SpiritMC organization on an annual basis. Kang has fought 10 times in the organization since 2004, winning all 10 fights, and is still the SpiritMC heavyweight champion.
“SpiritMC was only asking that I fight for them once a year,” Kang said. “That’s one of the things that I really, really wanted to do—to keep my SpiritMC title and keep my fan base in Korea, which is really important to me.”
Here’s something a little different. CBS has put together a quick, little tutorial to give fans not all that familiar with mixed martial arts a general idea of what the rules in the sport are. Referee Herb Dean gives a rundown of what type of things aren’t permitted in the cage while EliteXC’s Nick Diaz and Jake Shields provide examples.
HT: MMA Mania
Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.
Elite Xtreme Combat has announced that their first prime-time televised event on CBS, “EliteXC and CBS Saturday Night Fights” will take place on May 31st and will be broadcast live from the brand new Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, the same venue that hosted UFC 78: Validation last year.
“We’re excited to introduce broadcast television viewers to America’s fastest growing sport with this prime time event,” said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime, in a press release sent out to the media today. “EliteXC is putting together a lineup card that showcases the unique personalities, world-class athleticism, and raw power and emotion that characterizes mixed martial arts.”
EliteXC heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson will indeed participate at the event against an opponent yet to be announced. EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler will also put on his belt on the line against Scott Smith in a bout that will likely be a sure-fire war on the feet.
Lawler has not fought since stopping Murilo Rua with strikes in September. He was slated to take on fellow heavy-hitter Kala Kolohe Hose in a December title unification bout but a nagging injury bug prevented Lawler from fighting and he was ultimately stripped of his ICON Sport belt. Smith knocked out Kyle Noke in his EliteXC debut last month.
“I am very happy for the highly trained fighters, who will finally get the kind of exposure they deserve, and, of course, the viewers, who will get the opportunity to learn that MMA is truly a sport that requires an abundance of skills, both mentally and physically,” said Gary Shaw, EliteXC Live Events President.
Five Ounces of Pain reports that a heavyweight swing bout between Brett Rogers and Jon Murphy is currently in the works and that Gina Carano may also return to action at the event as well.
Certainly not the big announcement that we were waiting for today, (thanks Gary) but the information released today is newsworthy nonetheless.
The “rumored” date for Elite Xtreme Combat’s first show on CBS is May 31st according to ProElite.com. Yes, funny that EliteXC’s parent company is actually giving a rumored date for their biggest show ever but it likely means that while the two sides have probably come to some sort of an agreement, nothing is absolutely set in stone as of yet.
Advertisements for the new venture will apparently air tomorrow during CBS’s televising of the first round of the NCAA Tournament so keep a look out for that.
Final four picks in case you are curious:
David: (UNC, Texas, Georgetown, UCLA)
John: (Louisville, Kansas, Texas, UCLA)
Bill: (UNC, UCLA, Pitt, Wisconsin, with UNC takin it all)