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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

EXC/CBS deal news makes it onto ESPN

By Zach Arnold | February 28, 2008

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In fact, the second news item today on Jim Rome is Burning. With Kimbo’s mug right on the television screen.

“There will be blood” was the headline with Kimbo talking about opening up a cut on someone’s skin.

“MMA may have finally hit the mainstream officially.” The entire focus was on Kimbo Slice and no other fighter in EXC. “Now he will be in every living room in America.”

Leland Roling has some concerns. Brandt DeLorenzo does not, however.

Update: ESPN program Around the Horn discussed the CBS deal in their three-person panel segment with J.A. Adande, Jay Mariotti, and Jackie MacMullan. Audio here. Mariotti called the deal “the undoing of the American culture.” “MMA is not getting anything more than 75,000 hits per PPV.” MacMullan was also down on the deal. Adande brought up SNME in the 1980s. Mariotti said CBS may as well air “Grand Theft Auto.”

On Pardon the Interruption, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon discussed the story about “Mixed Martial Arts going network.” Audio here. It was the lead story. Kornheiser did the same Mariotti routine, claiming that “the network of Edward R. Murrow” is airing MMA. “It’s so violent, it’s so brutal,” exclaimed Wilbon. Kornheiser says MMA “tries to be savage.” “They’re not looking for the 45-65 demographic.” Wilbon said about MMA, “They’re going after kids they want to lock into this.” Kornheiser said that boxing not being on free-to-air TV led to the opening for MMA to get onto network TV.

Here is the audio of Sam Caplan talking about the big EXC/CBS deal with John Pollock today.

Topics: Media, MMA, Pro Elite, Zach Arnold | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

18 Responses to “EXC/CBS deal news makes it onto ESPN”

  1. Body_Shots says:

    I don’t have problem with Kimbo personally. But I don’t like the fact that Tank 2.0 is becoming a/if not the face of MMA.

  2. Ivan Trembow says:

    “I don’t have problem with Kimbo personally. But I don’t like the fact that Tank 2.0 is becoming a/if not the face of MMA.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    If they looked at the demographic ratings, they’d see that the 50-and-older ratings are bad, and the under-18 ratings are bad. It’s 18-to-49-year-olds that are watching MMA for the most part.

  3. Rollo the Cat says:

    The darkest day in MMA history. All the work and effort people put in to making this sport legit, and Gary Shaw and CBS have swept it away.

    I didn’t mind the slanders and distortions of the nature of MMA in the media for all these years. They could be easily countered with facts. Now however, with Kimbo and Shaw in the national spotlight, actually becoming the face of MMA, there is nothing I can say to the detractors.

    Today, I am ashamed to be a fan of MMA.

    I don’t need to follow this sport, I have a life besides MMA. I certainly don’t need to spend time watching a CBS show that will have me in the shower immediately after, trying to scrub away the dirty feeling.

    If Elite on CBS is MMA, I’ll find something else to do and I’ll shut this sport out of my mind like I have most others.

  4. Nick says:

    I don’t feel shame at all. Maybe if Kimbo didn’t dedicate himself to training for MMA I’d be ashamed, but he’s already made more effort to learn the martial arts aspect of MMA than Tank ever did. Not to mention that when EliteXC airs on CBS there will be a handful of other matches with skilled competitors. It’s not like the nations going to be watching a bunch of Youtube videos of Kimbo and others brawling in some backyard for “bread”.

  5. Hawk says:

    This whole “I’m ashamed of this deal” thing amuses me to no end.

    MMA is a business. Pure and simple. MMA has also been built off freakshows since day one. Since the days of the original UFC’s, to PRIDE’s first few shows, to now. There’s ALWAYS been freakshows. UFC just used one, in fact, in Brock Lesnar. Two very talented fighters going at it will never mean more then that if they don’t have star power. For better or worse, Kimbo Slice comes off like a star. That’s more then you can say for 90% of the people who work these shows.

    Kimbo Slice is right now like printing money, and Elite XC are showing far more intelligence then UFC has ever shown. They realize that the man is like walking money, so their promoting him. Hard. If UFC had done that with anyone on their roster, maybe they would have a legit heavyweight draw. Maybe they’d have a LHW one beyond Liddell, Rampage, and Tito who all made themselves. UFC doesn’t TRY.

    UFC left this hole wide open, with a conceited idea that no one would step into it. Dana’s been too hard to work with, too hard to negociate with, and downright conceited. I’m sure Elite gave CBS whatever they wanted for this deal, which is absolutely the right move.

    So what if Kimbo has a history? He’s not doing it anymore. He’s a MMA fighter now, with a 2-0 record with two first round knock outs and charisma that most people would die for.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    I really am having a “wait and see” approach to this EliteXC on Network TV Deal.

    1. How much will it be advertised on CBS?

    2. How will it be presented? There is a lot of shows on Network TV that fail really quickly.

    3. Will it get the ratings the network is looking for?

    All of these questions need to be answered first. Because the product on Showtime right now is not good enough to hit a broad audience on CBS. Not to mention that every Christian / Parent group is going to be all over EliteXC and Kimbo “The Street Fighter” if this show takes off.

    “Kimbo Slice is right now like printing money, and Elite XC are showing far more intelligence then UFC has ever shown.”

    How is he printing money? The guy has never had a million dollar gate. He has never had a PPV Event. His target audience, which is the internet fans, isn’t big enough to get main stream success.

    “UFC left this hole wide open, with a conceited idea that no one would step into it.”

    Wrong. What they did was have enough respect for the sport to not turn it into a freakshow. I have no problem with promoters making money. The problem is that CBS now has a street fighter and FULL creative control on how it is portrayed. Not good.

    The UFC was not willing to tarnish their image, and had too much to lose to sign a one sided deal like that.

    With CBS & the NFL, it is a PARTNERSHIP. Both sides are their to mutually benefit each other. There is nothing in this deal that is mutually beneficial for EliteXC.

  7. CBS will undoubtedly take production control because there is no damn way they will allow terrible commentating, bad music, strippers, and Kimbo’s entourage on a tear all over TV.

  8. D. Capitated says:

    With CBS & the NFL, it is a PARTNERSHIP. Both sides are their to mutually benefit each other. There is nothing in this deal that is mutually beneficial for EliteXC.

    How is getting on a big 4 network not beneficial to them? They can use it to promote fighters for PPV events that they will likely run and even if its a total time buy, they may be able to profit off of advertisements sold during the 2 hour block.

    I do really think the attitude of people talking as if the deal had already failed or doesn’t matter is astounding. Between this and the Golden Boy/Affliction group starting, suddenly the UFC has big company.

  9. 45 Huddle says:

    How is it not beneficial to them?

    How about EliteXC could turn them into CBS’s version of American Gladiators. Basically a joke. Even Sam Caplan has this worry.

    We all really have to wait and see how this turns out. Is it shown as a sport or specticle. But the fact that an MMA COMPANY has no say on that is never a good sign.

    Also, it is being rumored that the UFC could be headed to FOX. Something tells me if the UFC ends up on a major network… That it will be a LEGIT PARTNERSHIP. One where they are promoted as a sport. One where they are advertised properly. Not like this deal where a Street Fighter and CBS Executive could make the entire EliteXC look like a 3rd rate garbage company.

  10. D. Capitated says:

    How about EliteXC could turn them into CBS’s version of American Gladiators. Basically a joke. Even Sam Caplan has this worry.

    I don’t care what Sam Caplan has to say. Sam Caplan says Kimbo is “for real” too, and I sure as hell don’t buy that. Even if it ends up being their “version of American Gladiators”, its an audience that’s significantly larger than any who has watched MMA before.

    We all really have to wait and see how this turns out. Is it shown as a sport or specticle. But the fact that an MMA COMPANY has no say on that is never a good sign.

    Oh god. How many times must this be reviewed? When did in house promotional crews become better than network sports?

    Also, it is being rumored that the UFC could be headed to FOX. Something tells me if the UFC ends up on a major network… That it will be a LEGIT PARTNERSHIP.

    I’ve heard that the UFC was gonna be on HBO, NBC, and CBS, and none of those happened. If by “LEGIT PARTNERSHIP”, you mean Dana White gets all his demands met and gets TV space, I’m not sure how that’s a less LEGIT PARTNERSHIP than being given TV time and money while allowing the network veto control on opponents and announcers and letting them bring/use their own cameras and crew.

  11. JP says:

    As long as I get free MMA on TV, I ain’t complaining…Pass the beer nuts…

  12. IceMuncher says:

    I’m with Rollo. If Kimbo Slice becomes the face of MMA I’m not sure I could survive the shame. Not to mention the fact that Gary Shaw is so sleazey that Dana White looks like a saint in comparison.

    “I do really think the attitude of people talking as if the deal had already failed or doesn’t matter is astounding. Between this and the Golden Boy/Affliction group starting, suddenly the UFC has big company”

    You’re jumping the gun. They have a long way to go to catch the UFC. Brand recognition is more important than I think you realize. Popularity doesn’t come overnight, even with a network TV deal. The damage to the UFC’s hagemony will be next to nil if they can land a deal of their own within a year.

  13. doem says:

    MMA on CBS is a good thing, mainly because the contacts associated with network televison could actually boost ad-revenue, which increases profits, competition, and eventually fighter salary. So that in the future people with physical talent will be willing to train MMA….

  14. Brandt says:

    The sport needs someone to force the big guy to make some smarter choices. Like any monopoly, the smaller guy needs to find a way to outsmart the bigger guy one way or another to grab their share of the pie. EliteXC is giving up a lot to be on CBS, but it’s a necessary move for the company. I don’t really like Gary Shaw (and his tracksuits) or his wannabe thug son with the stupid name, but the only thing I can do is try to force a change for the better at this time. Bitching and complaining about Kimbo won’t make Shaw or CBS change a thing, but if we get together as a large group and lobby for changes that we _know_ will help both EliteXC and CBS (removing the cheerleaders, rappers, Goldberg, etc) without compromising their revenue stream, they may just listen to us.

    I’m trying to be positive here, people! Thanks for linking the article as well, Zach!

    And ESPN is still trash when it comes to covering more than cookie cutter sports. Anyone can write about college football and if you still believe that MMA PPV’s are at 75,000, maybe you should just be talking about college football. This is coming from a college football fan.

    And Jay Mariotti is well known for starting feuds with players and then running away scared. Why does ESPN allow these clowns on their shows? Maybe we should be noticing how know it alls on ESPN can’t properly report on MMA instead of bashing CBS and EliteXC right now.

  15. Chuck says:

    This move doesn’t prove the haters’ opinions on MMA being a scummy sport. If anything, I think the new movie “Never Back Down” will be a bigger black eye on MMA, because it’s about underground fighting. And the advertisements for the movie are all over Spike TV (home of UFC and TNA wrestling).

  16. Dukes says:

    The CBS/EXC deal made it to the DrudgeReport.com in the way of a linked al-Reuters story with a photo of a BodogFight fight.

    Headline:

    “RAW: ‘Cage fighting’ slugs its way on to primetime TV…”

    It also mentions Kimbo Slice as one of it’s biggest stars. This is F’ed up.

  17. jim allcorn says:

    Well, I don’t think that Kimbo will remain the “face of MMA” or even the ‘face of EliteXC” for that matter, for very long, because I doubt that CBS is going to OK anymore Bo Cantrells or Tank Abbotts for opponents anymore.
    At least let’s hope not!

    Because the last thing this sport needs is for a nationwide audience to tune in to see Kimbo belt out out another jobber & get the idea that THAT’S what MMA is all about. Because, if that’s the case then Gary Shaw will have not only shot himself & his company in the foot, but he’ll have set the sport back by a decade. And if that happens, I’ll be the first in line to lynch the bastard.

    But, he’s GOT to be smarter than that.
    Coming from the world of boxing, he’s GOT to realize just how rare & precious network TV dates are & how badly this sport needs to NOT screw this up.

    If that means that he’s got to risk one of his meal tickets unbeaten staus, then so be it. Kimbo career is NOT bigger than the sport. So, Shaw had better be prepared to throw him to the wolves come that first CBS televised show …

  18. cyphron says:

    Dana wants MMA to be established as a sport but he doesn’t want to give up creative control. That’s that not right.

    He needs to drop his creative control demand so that we can get MMA moved on its way to becoming legitimate.

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