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Fantasy Booking EliteXC’s First Show on CBS

Bouts for EliteXC’s first-ever telecast on CBS have yet to be formally announced yet speculation about which fighters will be involved with the card is starting to heat up. In light of the growing curiosity of the much-anticipated show, I decided to do some fantasy booking for the show in regard to what I think is the best strategic approach to take. I want to preface that the matches I will propose in this article are simply my personal ideas and are based on no inside information (unless expressly stated).

I want to start off but stating that I think EliteXC should wait to hold the show until June. As of now, late-April and early-May have been discussed by the media as the potential time-frame for the first show but I subscribe to the theory that you only get one chance to make a first impression. A lot is riding on the first show and the more time that’s devoted to planning, the better. The additional time available to market the fights and the more time allotted to fighters to train for specific opponents could make a noticeable difference when it comes to the end product.

The June date is also essential if published reports that the promotion is looking to hold the show in New Jersey are true. Right now the Jersey MMA market is being flooded with shows. Regional promotions such as Ring of Combat and BattleCage Xtreme are holding cards in Atlantic City during the months of March and April while national promotions such as Bob Meyrowitz’s YAMMA Pit Fighting and the IFL are scheduled to hold shows in the state in April.

Adding to the complexity of the situation is that the Prudential Center in Newark is under consideration for the first show, according to this week’s print edition of the Wrestling Observer. The Prudential Center is a large arena and it might not be the best time to sell tickets to a New Jersey/Philadelphia/New York fanbase that might be lacking funds following an active two months of shows.

Here’s the five-match card that I’d like to see for the CBS debut:


  • bjjdenver says:

    Damn Sam! I really like to disagree with you, but you are making it hard for me today, lol.

    The only one I disagree with is Kimbo/Gannon. As much as I would like to see this, I just think that name recognition is more important in this instance. Unfortunately, Shamrock pulled…a Shamrock, and showed he is no better than when he fought Tito Jameson the last couple of times. In fact he may be much worse.

    They could still put on the Kimbo/Shamrock fight, and it wouldn’t be a terrible idea, as far as promoting the fight goes.

    Personally, my pick would be Ricco/Kimbo. Ricco has shown he still has something left, albeit a little fuzzy as to what that something is. This would be a huge fight for Kimbo and I could see it being a very dangerous match-up for their “poster boy”. Considering Ricco’s comments, there is at least a little bad blood to help promote “the former street fighter” vs “the reality rehab star”.

    I have been promoting the idea of Renzo/Frank II as a perfect headliner for the CBS debut. They could even rerun the 60 minutes episode with Renzo as a lead-in for the card. This fight practically sells itself and is between two very important figures in MMA.

    I also was a little surprised that they didn’t have it a month or two later, my pick being the Friday night of 4th of July holiday, although CBS apparently wants to air on Saturdays. The last thing I want to see is a rushed, half-assed show. I hope they know how important this could be to the sport.

  • bjjdenver says:

    Or maybe, Ben Rothwell.

    Isn’t he still a free agent?

    If so, it is surprising considering the supply/demand of HWs in the current mma landscape.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Ben Rothwell is a free agent but all indications that I’ve received from his camp is that he’s likely to sign with M-1 Global. However, if Vadim Finkelstein tries to buy the company back and is successful, I would think all bets will be off at that point unless Sibling Sports decides to start its own brand.

  • Rauhski says:

    I heard on either YAC & J or Tagg i can’t remember which but… Gina Carano has signed onto a second season with American Gladiator which would make it impossible for her to appear on CBS.

  • bubbafat says:

    I don’t think many established heavyweights are going to be too interested in signing with M1 if Fedor is leaving. Rothwell, having the connection with Cox, would have had an inside scoop on that too.

  • RT says:

    Kimbo vs Eilers, Imes, or Ruiz.
    (I dont want to see Gannon fight he is not pro quality and should not be on TV.)

    F.Shamrock vs R.Gracie (big names big rematch)

    Gilbert Melendez vs Paul Daley (non stop action)

    Scott Smith vs Robbie Lawler (Slobber Knocker)

    Yves Edwards vs KJ Noons (Lw title fight)

  • jaydog says:

    Sam, I think you’ve presented a best possible scenario that would absolutely not be possible in time for late April. Nonetheless, it’s an ambitious card that lets talented fighters show off their skills. As much as I hate to see Kimbo at the top of that card, I don’t think his prime time debut should be against someone who would take him down immediately (Ricco). Kimbo needs to be allowed to do his thing: slug people. Unfortunately, EliteXC doesn’t currently have someone (with any name recognition) in that weigh class who would likely be able to go toe to toe.

    So, rather than Kimbo moving into his pro-fighting career, we’re given a throwback to his illegal fighting days. It’s a compelling story (and a fight I’d like to see), but I don’t think it’s as marketable as half a dozen match ups that could happen through cross promotion. I know, I know. Never gonna happen with Lex Luthor running the UFC, but a man can have dreams. If ever there was an appropriate time to loan a fighter to a competing promotion, it would be for MMA’s prime time major network debut. How about Tim Silvia or free agent Arlovski? I’d even rather see Butterbean in there against Kimbo.

  • Captain says:

    I think Gilbert’s not signed with EliteXC; only Strike Force.

    I like Sam’s list for the most part.

    I would axe the Carano match (prime time Saturday night CBS audience may not be ready to see to women beat the shit out of each other) and replace it with Lawler/Smith (good suggestion).

    As for Kimbo, I would quit dancing around the fact that he’s a freakshow fighter and try to set up a fight with Bob Sapp. After getting smacked Nortje, his asking price should have gone down a little. This fight would be huge.

  • jaydog says:

    Why isn’t this post a hotter discussion topic? The network tv debut of MMA is a big deal.

    Captain: I agree with you about Bob Sapp. Bring on the freakshows or let Kimbo work his way up through undercard experience against well rounded fighters.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Jay, I agree with you. This show could have a huge impact on how we watch MMA. If it’s a good show and draws a good rating, it will not only mean that EliteXC remains on network TV but also open the door for other major promotions to hold shows on the networks. If it bombs, then it’s pretty much a given that in order to see big matches, you’re going to have to pay for most of them.

  • brutus says:

    The network debut of MMA in the US could greatly benefit the sport, but from a non-american perspective, that card feels really underwhelming to be honest.

  • mike says:

    Boxing promoter Gary Shaw attributes Ultimate Fighting’s rise to a generation inured to violence and mayhem — the sort commonly depicted in movies and videogames. “The mixture of wrestling with boxing and the fact that it’s not staged goes to the bloodthirsty segment of the population,” he says.

    -Fatman Shaw has to be exposed. next think u know hel be telling us hes been training bjj. id love to see them find a gu big enuff.


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