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Showtime announces agreement to televise Strikeforce events

Premium-based cable network Showtime Networks announced Thursday that it has entered into an agreement to televise mixed martial arts events promoted by the San Jose-based Strikeforce.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to deliver live Strikeforce events on the Showtime premium television platform,” Strikeforce Founder and CEO Scott Coker is quoted as saying in a joint press release. “Showtime is a forward-thinking innovator with a reputation for producing outstanding original programming in sports and entertainment.  They have been a phenomenal partner in the past and we are looking forward to growing our relationship with them and bringing the Strikeforce brand of MMA to millions of Showtime subscribers.”

“Strikeforce has a history of presenting high-quality, compelling mixed martial arts events and we are thrilled to be able to bring their world-class events to our subscribers,” said Ken Hershman, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Sports and Event Programming for Showtime.

The news comes on the heels of Strikeforce’s formal announcement that it has acquired select assets from ProElite, Inc., the parent company of EliteXC, which formerly had its events televised on Showtime.

According to the press release, Showtime will televise up to 16 events a year including Strikeforce world championship events as well as a series dedicated to showcasing up-and-coming fighters int he sport.

Today’s release confirmed previous reports that indicated Strikeforce’s first broadcast with Showtime under the terms of the new deal will take place on April 11 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

While the release states that a fight card will be released at later date, has confirmed that middleweights Benji Radach and Scott Smith will be in action with former Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock and current Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson also expected to compete in separate bouts as well.

April 11 will not be the first time Showtime and Strikeforce have worked together. The two companies were involved in the Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni event that was distributed on Showtime PPV in June of 2007. Additionally, Showtime also televised last March’s Strikeforce middleweight title fight between Shamrock and Cung Le.

While it is expected that CBS will televise Strikeforce events on a quarterly basis, no mention of a deal between the two companies was made in today’s announcement.

  • This is a great day for MMA fans. Strikeforce is truly the right company and they are ready to grow and become a national company. I just hope they take baby steps and learn the ropes so they don’t make the same mistakes Pro Elite did. Scott Coker has proven to be a very astute businessman and is the right guy at the right time. Finally a viable alternative for fighters.

  • meatloaf says:

    Bryan I couldn’t have put it any better.
    I can’t wait for this event . Radach vs. Smith in a slugfest with Shamrock and Josh Thomson it looks like Strikeforce is going to stack this card with it being their first on Showtime.

  • derreck says:

    16 events a year? Are they going to sign a bunch of new talent?

  • Cathedron says:

    Hell yeah! I’ve always said that Strikeforce was the only company the UFC should be afraid of. Looks like they just pounced. Watch now as Dana White changes his tune from praising Coker to hating him.

    This is great for Showtime and CBS (the network shows will happen once they renegotiate the EXC fighter contracts and the network “feels out” Strikeforce to make sure the won’t get fuXC’d). This will do a LOT for MMA’s image. Strikeforce won’t be pulling any shenanigans like EXC. Great news.

    The ONLY thing that worries me is that CBS may very well end up owning Strikeforce within the next several years. That might not be a bad thing, but then again…

  • VENOM says:

    I ordered Showtime HD about 15 minutes after I read this article. I’m so F’N stoked!

  • egad81 says:

    Gotta Love Strikeforce on Showtime! Any word on other fighter contracts accuired?

  • JOe K. says:

    If they keep it classy (unlike EXC) and keep doing things as they have been they’ll be in good shape.

    So long as they don’t try and become the next UFC they’ll go places. Trying to compete directly with the UFC is a bad idea, however, they can get a very large slice of the pie and operate well without having to be the biggest and “best”.

  • king mah mah says:

    Sweet, just gave me a reason not to cancel my showtime!


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