ProElite Inc., the parent company of Elite Xtreme Combat, is expected to announce a deal with CBS that will put MMA on major network television for the first time.
Sources close to the deal say that an agreement has been reached between CBS and the California-based ProElite. However, officials could not publicly comment on the matter.
EliteXC was founded as a partnership with Showtime Networks Inc. in 2006. The organization’s events, which are held under the EliteXC and ShowXC banners, currently air on Showtime.
Showtime is owned by CBS.
A source who spoke exclusively to MMAjunkie.com said that CBS will broadcast live EliteXC events in prime-time slots. The events will likely take place every other month.
An official announcement with additional details of the deal is expected to be announced in the next few days.
The announcement will come just weeks after EliteXC’s successful “Street Certified” event in Miami, Fla. In addition to drawing a sold-out crowd and setting a live gate record at the BankUnited Center, the event reportedly drew more than half a million Showtime viewers.
The fact that EliteXC — and not the UFC, the worldwide MMA leader — landed the first network-television deal is a bit of a surprise.
Beginning in October, UFC president Dana White stated that he was confident the organization would reach a deal with a major TV network, most notably CBS or NBC. In November MediaPost Publications reported that the UFC and CBS were in “advanced negotiations” and that the announcement of an official partnership was expected to happen at any moment. UFC 81, which took place earlier this month, was expected to be the first UFC event to air on CBS.
However, the deal eventually fell apart — reportedly over issues with the creative control of the events.
ProElite has been on a shopping spree during the past year, purchasing organizations such as ICON Sport, Cage Rage, King of the Cage, and Spirit MC. Additionally, the organization has recently signed long-term deals with notables such as Nick Diaz, Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, Robbie Lawler, Jake Shields, Murilo “Ninja” Rua and Gina Carano
your summary is better, but i just posted this
Damn you guys are fast here. Sorry
Awesome, I was wondering when MMA would be on major network television. Good for EliteXC; they put on good fights.
Well, looks like the deal between Elite XC and CBS is now final.
OMG, this is great. The more mma the better.
EliteXC expected to air on CBS
By Kevin Iole
Wednesday, Feb 27, 2008 5:21 pm EST
Thursday will be an historic day for mixed martial arts, when CBS and Elite XC announce a deal that will bring the sport to network television for the first time.
Details of the deal, first reported by MMAjunkie.com, are sketchy, but is believed to be a four-fight deal that will begin in April.
Kevin Ferguson, the Internet street-fighting sensation known as Kimbo Slice, is expected to headline the first fight card on CBS from either Atlantic City, N.J. or the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Elite XC president Gary Shaw declined comment on Wednesday, but he has been bullish on the company's future despite the fact it lives in the vast shadow created by the UFC.
The UFC had been attempting during the writer's guild to reach a deal with CBS to put fights on, but had been unable to finalize a contract.
Elite XC already had a relationship with Viacom, which owns CBS, because Showtime is an investor in the company and has been broadcasting its fights since February 2007.
Viacom also owns Showtime.
The cards on CBS are expected to be two-hour shows broadcast on Saturday nights. The exact time slot is unknown, though it is likely to be something like 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Eastern time zone and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Pacific.