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CBS wants more MMA sooner rather than later

Dave Meltzer has a new Yahoo! column that serves as a breakdown of controversial calls made by referees during recent events.

However, when talking about the Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith fight from EliteXC: Primetime several weeks ago, Meltzer writes the following:

Elite XC promoter Gary Shaw confirmed Monday that he was planning on rematching Lawler and Smith, who were having the most exciting match on the show before the stoppage. If the next CBS show is in the fall, the fight would likely take place on the network. Shaw said the date of the next CBS card is expected to be finalized this week in a joint decision with CBS. Due to the success of the first show, CBS wants to have a return date in late July to capitalize on the momentum. Shaw feels Lawler and Smith wouldn’t be ready for a July date, nor would Slice.

During yesterday’s conference call, IFL CEO and President Jay Larkin gave some indications that CBS might have been squared off by some of the public criticism regarding the first EliteXC show on its network. However, Meltzer’s column in some ways contradicts his statements.

The fact that CBS wants MMA back on its airwaves sooner rather than later is a good sign for the growth of the sport, but timing is everything and July is not the time for a major EliteXC show. Without Kimbo Slice, Frank Shamrock, or a Smith vs.  Lawler headlining the event, CBS and EliteXC will run the risk of putting on a show that could bomb in the ratings.

Nobody wants to disappoint a major media partner, and if a gun was held to EliteXC could probably throw a card together using Jake Shields and Antonio Silva as featured players. But who would they fight? As of now, Drew Fickett is scheduled to fight Ryan Ford for the vacant MFC welterweight title on July 25 in Canada.

EliteXC has a bit of a problem. They have two major media partners in CBS and SHOWTIME. It’s a good problem to have but the beasts need to be fed. And as of today, the promotion doesn’t have a large enough roster to satisfy demands. Unless the company scores some major financing, they aren’t going to be in a position to recruit a sizable quantity of new fighters.

  • Zack with a ck says:

    There’s no way they can do any CBS shows without Kimbo. Even with him I wonder if people were turned off by his performance?

    Remember the XFL – great first ratings for curiousity and then total failure followed.

  • Mike C. says:

    Tito vs Frank Shamrock would be a pretty nice main event for them.

  • Mike C. says:

    How is Shamrocks arm coming along? Would he be ready to fight? If not Tito could fight anyone and draw a huge crowd.

  • Zack with a ck says:

    If they truly wanted to alienate the rest of the hardcore fanbase, they could slap together KEN Shamrock/Tito 17.

  • Jeremy says:

    Get Tito signed and they’d be fine, not sure how realistic that is though.

  • Evan says:

    IFL to the rescue

  • eazye says:

    “Unless the company scores some major financing, they aren’t going to be in a position to recruit a sizable quantity of new fighters.”

    That statement = no Tito. Tito has been talking about how much money he wants and its astronomical. For the fighters, my ass. I believe Chuck when he said a while back that Tito is in it for Tito and no one else.

  • Matt says:

    i was under the impression that Bigfoot was still recovering from knee surgery? could they find someone in their ranks to fight him if he is healthy?
    They should put Shields on this card, though.

  • bjjdenver says:

    The XFL analogy doesn’t fit as well as people think. They were going against an established, dominant product (the NFL) that was already about as high profile as you can get.

    EXC is going against an established, dominant product, that a very small percentage of people are familiar with (UFC).The casual or new fan doesn’t realize the difference between them, so they have an advantage with not having to try and catch up to the UFC on network TV.

    IMO, a middle ground between an IFL show and EXCBS, would be a good product. A little flashier with some higher profile fighters than IFL, and a little more mellow with fewer strippers than an EXC show.

    Did I just say get rid of strippers?? What is wrong with me!

  • Zack with a ck says:

    bjj – the analogy fits just fine. Larkin himself admits that most fans already think the UFC is the only product.

  • johnnyrev says:

    bjjdenver …..its hard to admit it but yes you are right,,,, less strippers indeed … thing is …. they are really in a pickle …. no supply and tons of demand …then you go and really out leverage yourself and sign a couple of middle tier name guys (tito) and you dont pull as good as numbers the next go round your done…. or on the other hand you dont sign them and your done …..

  • bjjdenver says:

    #11, I agree, they don’t have the roster depth to keep up a good pace of shows. Someone posted the fighters and divisions of EXC in another thread, and beyond the top couple of guys, it was pretty weak. They definitely need to either blow the bank, or work with other promotions some more.

    #10, If you are talking about you, me and the rest of the internet mma fans, then you would be right. Unfortunately, they are targeting casual fans and new fans, not hardcore, knowledgeable fans. Those fans don’t know the difference in what they are seeing, and don’t understand how the UFC, if they have heard of them, and EXC or such differ. We know the talent level and such is much higher and deeper in the UFC, but most people who thought CBSXC was great, don’t.

    for instance, if you took two AA baseball teams, put them in generic uniforms and had them play in a neutral park, then took the Cubs and the Mets and did the same, a person who is mostly unfamiliar with baseball, wouldn’t know the difference. Now if you had an avid fan or a scout watch, they would see glaring differences in the talent, ability, execution and so on.

    Basically what I’m saying, is, that when the XFL came about, it was a sideshow. Everyone in the target audience was familiar with the NFL and how dominant they are and how they had the best players, etc. People knew that being the XFL champ didn’t make you equal with the Superbowl winner. EXC doesn’t have that challenge to over come with their target audience, which is huge. They do have to overcome it with us, but it is clear, that we are not their main target.


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