SBD/Issue 5/Sports Media

CBS To Air November 7 Strikeforce MMA Event Live In Primetime

Emelianenko(l), Rogers (r) Will Headline CBS'
Live Primetime Strikeforce MMA Event
MMA promotion Strikeforce will make its "CBS debut with a live prime time event" from 9:00-11:00pm ET on November 7, the "first network prime time" MMA broadcast since October '08, according to Dave Meltzer of YAHOO SPORTS. Sources said that the event, headlined by Fedor Emelianenko-Brett Rogers, is "not the beginning of a multi-fight contract with CBS, and at this point it is the only network show agreed to." No site has been announced for the show, which was "first slated for Showtime." While Emelianenko is "generally considered the No. 1 heavyweight in the world" in MMA, he is "unproven in terms of the kind of appeal to the casual sports fan that is needed when a show is on a major network in primetime." But a "big advantage is that by holding the event during football season, the network has a target audience to promote toward." Meltzer noted the October '08 EliteXC event on CBS, in which Seth Petruzelli knocked out Kimbo Slice in 14 seconds, "set the wheels in motion for the death" of EliteXC (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/17). MMAJUNKIE.com's Morgan & Stupp reported Showtime Sports for the event "will produce a four-fight main card with a broadcasting team of Gus Johnson, Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo." Strikeforce Dir of Communications Mike Afromowitz said that Emelianenko-Rogers "currently is the only fight officially booked for the show" (MMAJUNKIE.com, 9/17). SHERDOG.com's Loretta Hunt cited sources as saying that Chicago's Sears Centre Arena has "emerged as the frontrunner for the event" (SHERDOG.com, 9/17).

READY FOR THE CHALLENGE: SHERDOG.com's Jake Rossen noted the November 7 event is just a "week ahead of UFC 105, a Spike broadcast, and two weeks ahead of both boxing's" Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto bout and UFC 106. Rossen: "Maybe Strikeforce is gambling that the UFC won’t have the resources to assemble a show to create three consecutive weeks of programming. ... This leaves the UFC to counter in what they’ve clearly defined as an adversarial relationship with the network: minimal effort means some repackaged shows on Spike" (SHERDOG.com, 9/17).

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