CBS

Mark Cuban, MMA Defender

Leonard Shapiro, writing for the Washington Post, rips into CBS for airing MMA, referring to it as a “so-called sport” in his opening paragraph.

For all of Shapiro’s insisting that MMA is barbaric and setting our culture backwards, we have quotes like these:

And wouldn’t it be something if CBS aired its first MMA telecast a few hours after its Saturday afternoon Masters coverage on April 12? Perhaps network publicists could refer to the twin bill as Beauty and The Beast.

...snip…

Oh yes, women will also fight it out on CBS, yet another revolting development.

So women who want to fight shouldn’t be allowed to?  And the “Beauty”, the Masters, is held at Augusta National Golf Club - no women members there*.

So, what year is it supposed to be?

Shapiro goes on to attack various people associated with mixed martial arts, including HDNet founder Mark Cuban:

Even billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is getting involved, promoting MMA matches and also airing them on his HDNet channel on DirecTV. For that alone David Stern ought to fine and suspend him. He probably yells at those refs, too.

Cuban retorts:

Maybe rather than surfing past the fights, you should actually watch one. Or better yet, since you apparently cover Football, talk to a player on the Redskins or better yet, the team doctor and ask them if they “beat the bloody bejabbers out of each other”. Then ask them this, “are there automatic suspensions for any hints of concussions or injury after every game or simply for precautionary reasons ?” There are after every fight in MMA

I started writing this before I even realized he linked back to MMA on Tap (nice), but Cuban’s sentiments echo my own.  Just watch the fighters.  Watch how they train, watch how they’re governed.

What was once fringe is now more regulated than some of the top team sports in the country.

* Women are allowed to play at Augusta National, as long as they’re with a member.

PTI Discusses EliteXC/CBS Deal

Prepare to be irked…

I love Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon to death. While I don’t always agree with everything they say, they are entertaining to watch and always make valid points on whatever subject they are talking about. The only downfall to both of them is they are extremely stubborn when it comes to something that is viewed negatively by mainstream media, take hockey for another example besides mixed martial arts.They only change their tone when someone else does first.

I’m so sick of the “Oh, it’s so violent and brutal!” comments. Give me a break. I wish Wilbon would challenge me to a duel involving the total deaths and serious injuries attained between MMA and his beloved past-time of boxing. That way I could give him a single sheet of paper and go watch Titanic while he works away.

EliteXC, CBS Announce Television Deal


Gary Shaw speaks at an Elite Xtreme Combat press conference. Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.

ProElite, the parent company of Elite Xtreme Combat, today announced a new, multi-year network television deal with CBS that will make the promotion only the second in the history of the sport of mixed martial arts to produce an event for live broadcast television.

“Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and a wildly popular entertainment vehicle for upscale, young adult audiences,” said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime. “It’s original programming for Saturday night; it’s live, creating an event-atmosphere; and it’s something that hasn’t been seen on network television, until now.” 

EliteXC heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson is expected to headline the first event produced for CBS. The events are scheduled to air on Saturday nights in a prime-time slot. CBS will broadcast four events per year.

“This is a pivotal moment for the sport of mixed martial arts now that a major television network plans to broadcast live MMA events during primetime hours,” said Douglas DeLuca, Chief Executive Officer of ProElite. “We are delighted to enhance our partnership with CBS to bring American audiences the very best in MMA competition through our EliteXC brand.”

The International Fight League became the first mixed martial arts promotion to land a network television deal when they partnered with MyNetworkTV to televise a number of taped highlight shows and one live event last year. However the network has since has placed IFL programming “on hiatus”, meaning they may or may not decide to continue airing IFL-related shows, potentially leaving EliteXC as the lone promotion with as much exposure.

The deal also comes close to two months after CBS broke off discussions to air live events with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“Our world-class fighters and the high production value of our events continue to drive ProElite as a global MMA organization that is fortified by the bedrock foundation of a partnership with CBS,” said Gary Shaw, President of EliteXC. “Broadcasting our events on CBS will instantly engage a new fan base, as well as provide an opportunity for EliteXC to further establish itself as the world’s premier MMA organization.”

Showtime, which partners with Elite Xtreme Combat in producing and televising live events, is owned by CBS. Showtime will continue to air EliteXC events.

EliteXC Likely to Announce TV Deal with CBS


Gary Shaw speaks at an Elite Xtreme Combat press conference. Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.

ProElite, the parent company of Elite Xtreme Combat, is expected to announce a new network television deal with CBS that will make the promotion only the second in the history of the sport of mixed martial arts to produce an event for live television.

The news comes from our friends at MMA Junkie, who have learned from sources close to the deal that an agreement has been reached. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports says that the deal will be officially announced tomorrow.

Some rumored specifics are as followed: EliteXC heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson will likely headline the first event produced for CBS. The events would probably air on Saturday nights in a prime-time slot.

The deal between the two sides is expected to be a four-fight deal which will go into effect in April. Events may be produced every other month or so.

The International Fight League became the first mixed martial arts promotion to land a network television deal when they partnered with MyNetworkTV to televise a number of taped highlight shows and one live event last year. However the network has since has placed IFL programming “on hiatus”, meaning they may or may not decide to continue airing IFL-related shows, potentially leaving EliteXC as the lone promotion with as much exposure.

The possible deal comes close to two months after CBS broke off discussions to air live events with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. UFC President Dana White publicly stated recently that the organization is currently in talks with an undisclosed network. Adam Swift of MMA Payout believes that it may be FOX.

Showtime, which partners with Elite Xtreme Combat in producing and televising live events, is owned by CBS.

If an official announcement is made tomorrow, we will have all of the details right here.

UFC-CBS Deal on Thin Ice?

Adam Swift of MMA Payout has the latest on the discussions between the UFC and CBS on the potential of airing a live event on the network.

According to some sources that Swift has spoken to, there’s a large chance that talks may have fallen apart completely:

For whatever it’s worth, based on conversations between MMA Payout and multiple sources within the industry, there seems to be a growing belief that the UFC-CBS deal has stalled or fallen apart altogether. At the very least there seems to be an emerging consensus that the deal won’t be in place in time for UFC 81 as has been rumored.

I never really understood why so many people were saying that UFC 81 had a great chance of being on CBS. The original press release for UFC 81 that was issued directly after the company announced Brock Lesnar’s debut against Frank Mir already stated that the event was going to be on PPV. Can that type of deal with a PPV carrier be easily changed? I’m not sure.

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