Posted on: February 6, 2009 4:28 pm

CBS has option to air Strikeforce events

In addition to the recently announced deal for Showtime to air up to 16 Strikeforce MMA events per year, CBSSports.com has confirmed that Strikeforce could eventually air on the CBS network as well.

However, Showtime will be the primary broadcast outlet for Strikeforce, which acquired key assets of Pro Elite -- including many fighter contracts and the EliteXC video library -- in a deal announced on Thursday .

"We have an option to broadcast Strikeforce events on CBS, but the plan is for Showtime to be the main outlet," said Chris Ender, spokesman for CBS Corporation, which owns both CBS and Showtime.

CBS became the first major network to broadcast a live MMA event in 2008, with Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano, Robbie Lawler and Jake Shields among the many fighters who saw increased exposure due to the shows. While details are still sketchy -- and in some cases, perhaps still being worked out behind the scenes -- it is believed that Slice, Carano, Lawler and Shields are among the former EliteXC fighters already on board with Strikeforce.

Showtime announced on Thursday that the first Strikeforce event to air on the premium cable network as part of the new deal would be on April 11, emanating from San Jose, Calif.


Posted on: February 5, 2009 9:03 pm

Strikeforce snags Pro Elite assets, Showtime deal


Strikeforce announced on Thursday that it has acquired the rights to select assets of Pro Elite, the parent company of EliteXC. From the official Strikeforce press release:

LOS ANGELES, CA. -- In a transaction signaling the dawn of a new era in the world's fastest growing sport, world championship mixed martial arts (MMA) organization Strikeforce, has acquired certain fighter contracts from ProElite, Inc, the parent company of former Strikeforce co-promoter, Elite Xtreme Combat (EliteXC).

Strikeforce also acquired other specific assets of ProElite, including a library of EliteXC events, which were distributed live on either CBS or Showtime Networks.

"This is a tremendous development that will bolster the Strikeforce roster and allow us to produce even more competitive matchups between top fighters," said Scott Coker, Founder and CEO of Strikeforce. "Some of these athletes have been on the sidelines for a while now and are eagerly waiting to return to competition. We look forward to providing them with the opportunity to do so in the next few months."

As part of the deal, Strikeforce has acquired some -- but not all -- of the contracts for fighters previously signed to EliteXC. Citing Coker as his source, Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports reported today that the list of fighters now contracted to Strikeforce includes Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano, EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler, EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Eddie Alvarez, Scott Smith, Benji Radach and others.

Shortly after the news broke about Strikeforce's acquisition of Pro Elite assets, Showtime Networks Inc. issued a statement of its own, revealing that Showtime Sports will produce and televise up to 16 live Strikeforce events per year, beginning with an April 11 event in San Jose, Calif. While a lineup has yet to be formally announced for that event, reports have circulated that pinpoint Frank Shamrock as a potential headliner, with Smith vs. Radach on the undercard.

The breakdown of the Strikeforce events on Showtime would be similar to the former EliteXC/ShoXC format, with about half of the events showcasing young, up-and-coming talent and the rest featuring more well-known fighters and championship bouts.


Posted on: October 21, 2008 10:27 am

Reports: EliteXC files bankruptcy, closes doors

EliteXC and Pro Elite appear to be finished, according to multiple reports that surfaced beginning on Monday evening.

Loretta Hunt of Sherdog.com reported that EliteXC fighter Joey Villasenor was notified Monday that his middleweight title bout against Robbie Lawler slated for Nov. 8 on Showtime was off, due to the event being cancelled. Hunt further reported that Icon Sport and Pro Elite executive TJ Thompson said he learned on Monday morning that the company had already filed bankruptcy paperwork and would cease operations entirely by the end of this week.

EliteXC fighter, color commentator and shareholder Frank Shamrock was quote by Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports as saying he'd also heard the news.

“I got a call earlier (Monday) telling me they were shutting down,” Shamrock said. Meltzer added that the representatives of numerous EliteXC fighters had already been in contact with the UFC on Monday in hopes of finding a place for those fighters in that promotion.

EliteXC/Pro Elite has yet to comment publicly on the reports. Neither CBS -- which broadcast three EliteXC events, most recently the Kimbo Slice vs. Seth Petruzelli upset on Oct. 4 -- nor Showtime, which had a show scheduled for Nov. 8 entitled "Night of Champions," have made a public statement.
Posted on: October 5, 2008 4:07 am
Edited on: October 5, 2008 4:13 am

Eight random thoughts on Saturday Night Fights

I've had a few hours to digest the whole Saturday Night Fights experience. Here are some final thoughts on the show, in no particular order.

1) Petruzelli beating Kimbo was not an upset. I made this point briefly in my fight blog immediately after the fight, and I'll explain it here. Kimbo Slice is still a novice (YouTube doesn't count). Seth Petruzelli is not. He's had 16 pro fights in a little over eight years, winning 10 and losing four. Two of his losses were to Matt Hamill and Wilson Gouveia -- both UFC fighters, both more skilled than Kimbo Slice. Look, Seth Petruzelli may not have much of a name, but he's a solid enough fighter to beat a guy with less than two years of experience on short notice. Kimbo wasn't as likely to figure out a way to beat Petruzelli on short notice as vice versa.

Gabriel Gonzaga beating Mirko Cro Cop with a head kick was an upset. Seth Petruzelli beating Kimbo Slice was a case of perception vs. reality. This time, reality won. In 14 seconds.

2) Kimbo is not finished. He will not be the ratings attraction that he was before this loss, but a single loss does not end a fighter's career. And if he allows it to, he should be ashamed. What kind of fighter quits after one loss?

Kimbo will learn from his mistakes and get right back on the horse. That's the admirable thing to do.

3) Kimbo isn't ready for top-level competition. It turns out that James Thompson and Tank Abbott were probably suitable opponents for Kimbo Slice after all, if we're trying to match up guys by their skill level (OK, maybe Tank is a stretch). Some people say Kimbo was handed easy victories on a silver platter. In fact, moments before the Petruzelli fight, people were saying that exact thing about Petruzelli -- that Kimbo had once again been handed an easy win. For more on that, refer back to point No. 1.

4) This was bad for business. There's no other way to state it. When your biggest attraction (face it, Jake Shields didn't sell all those tickets) is beaten in 14 seconds by a last-minute replacement from the undercard, it does not help business. Kimbo Slice will still remain a curiosity to viewers -- unless he does something crazy and shaves his beard, or completely changes his look -- but there will be some loss of audience from all of this. His drawing power took a hit, and probably will not recover until he improves enough to string a few solid wins together. And that's neither a guarantee nor an impossibility. It's all up to Kimbo.

5) Ken Shamrock, exit stage left. I am not naive enough to think we've seen the last of Ken Shamrock in the cage, but for all practical purposes, he should not be booked as a main-event fighter on this kind of event again. Realistically, I know that somewhere, some time, a promoter will cough up the money to get his name associated with their show. I just get a bad feeling about it. Shamrock is not Randy Couture. I believe if he continues taking major fights, he'll not only tarnish his legacy further, but he'll endanger his health. I felt this way before the Kimbo fight that never was, but now that he's dodged that bullet, it might be time for Shamrock to bow out. Again.

6) Yoko Takahashi rules. This woman is a warrior straight down to the bone marrow. She got absolutely ravaged by Cristiane Cyborg and never stopped pushing forward and fighting back. She looked like she got hit by a truck after the loss. Yet there she was after the fight, limping around with a brace on her knee, a patch on her face, and several visible wounds... smiling. And socializing. And happily getting her picture taken with Seth Petruzelli. She left it all in the cage, and she was thrilled to be there, even after losing. That, my friends, is fighting spirit.

7) Cris Cyborg is Drago, Gina Carano is Rocky. It's coming soon, trust me. And it will be a war.

8) Carano deserves some respect. Weight issues aside, she is knocking down every opponent they give her, and looking good doing it. It's time for people to acknowledge that she's the real deal. Just because she's pretty doesn't mean she's a manufactured publicity stunt. She hasn't fought every single one of the top challengers out there, but she's been busy enough, and nobody has stopped her yet. The sad thing is, just like Kimbo (and every other fighter), she'll get beaten eventually... and people will immediately claim her career is over.
Posted on: October 4, 2008 10:51 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2008 11:12 pm

EliteXC live results: Kimbo vs. Petruzelli

They just announced it's a sellout crowd. Total attendance in the Bank Atlantic Center is 9,414, but with a paid number somewhere closer to 7,400.

And there is just one fight remaining: Kimbo Slice vs. "The Silverback" Seth Petruzelli, a one-time UFC fighter who suddenly finds himself with a golden opportunity to make himself famous.

Round 1: Petruzelli blocks a Kimbo Slice bum rush by throwing a knee. He then unloads with fists as Kimbo loses his footing, and as the crowd goes nuts, Petruzelli smashes Kimbo repeatedly on the ground until referee Troy Waugh stops it.

I'll just throw this out there right now: This wasn't the upset some people will claim it is. But it was still damn cool to see.

Winner: Seth Petruzelli defeats Kimbo Slice via TKO due to strikes at 14 seconds of Round 1.
Posted on: October 4, 2008 10:25 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2008 10:48 pm

EliteXC live results: Shields vs. Daley

The EliteXC welterweight title is up for grabs now as Jake Shields defends against Paul Daley.

Round 1: They stand for a bit without much success, then Shields takes Daley to the mat. Shields take full mount and locks his ankles to tie up Daley's legs, then tries some ground and pound. Daley is covering up well but can't escape. Shields switches to side control. Back to full mount again and Shields throws a few fists. Daley is just getting toyed with here. Shields tries for an armbar and Daley uses the opening to get out of harm's way. Daley's in Shields' guard now and throwing elbows to the head as the round ends. 10-9 Shields.

Round 2: Daley throws some hard combos and misses. Shields drops in for a takedown and Daley throws a knee. Shields keeps trying for a takedown and Daley stuffs him. Shields finally muscles Daley to the canvas. Shields instantly assumes full mount. Shields isn't finding many openings. He finally finds an arm and cranks it back, forcing Daley to tap out.

Winner: Jake Shields
defeats Paul Daley via submission to an armbar at 3:40 of Round 2.
Posted on: October 4, 2008 10:11 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2008 10:22 pm

EliteXC live results: Arlovski vs. Nelson

Coming up next is a potential show-stealer: Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski vs. IFL heavyweight champion Roy "Big Country" Nelson.

On a side note, I've struggled to follow some of the action because Mask (of TapouT fame) is seated right in front of me, and is wearing a big floppy hat. But it could be worse -- Skyscrape took a seat in front of the Sherdog guys.

Round 1: Nelson locks Arlovski against the fence. He takes Arlovski to the mat and works from side control. Arlovski pushes off with his feet and almost pops up, but Nelson doesn't allow it. Nelson back in side control, and the live crowd is getting upset. The ref stands them up. They exchange shots without much success, and Nelson clinches Arlovski against the cage one more time. Arlovski cracks Nelson with a knee to the jaw. Nelson is getting tired. The ref separates them again. Arlovski unloads with kicks and a nice punch to the jaw. Nelson forces Andrei to the fence again and the round ends. Nelson wasn't able to capitalize on superior positioning, and Arlovski landed better strikes, so I give the round 10-9 to Arlovski.

Round 2: Nelson throws some haymakers and then gets right back to pushing Arlovski against the fence. Arlovski with a nice right hand. Arlovski clinches and lands a knee, then a combo of strikes. Nelson fires one back. Arlovski advances forward and lands a straight right that puts Nelson face down on the canvas for the stoppage.

Winner: Andrei Arlovski
defeats Roy Nelson via KO at 3:14 of Round 2.
Posted on: October 4, 2008 9:44 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2008 1:44 am

EliteXC live results: Carano vs. Kobold

Up next is Gina Carano vs. Kelly Kobold. Crowd went crazy for Carano's entrance.

Round 1: Crowd is chanting "Gina, Gina." The girl is very popular. Kobold comes forward fast and after a quick exchange, Kobold grapples Carano against the cage. Knee to the face by Carano. Kobold with a body lock. Kobold is fighting hard for a takedown. Carano gets off the fence and unloads with fists. Carano with knees from the Muay Thai clinch. Kobold tries another takedown but Carano is stuffing it. They separate again. Kobold is bloody, but she lands a solid jab as the round ends. This crowd is way behind Carano. Big reaction. 10-9 Carano.

Round 2: Carano unloads again, tagging Kobold with a stiff right hand and more knees. Kobold tries to muscle Carano against the cage again. They slug it out again with Kobold landing some this time. Kobold misses with a knee. They're slowing a bit with Carano picking her shots well. Kobold pushed forward with combinations but doesn't land much. Carano whiffs on a knee. Kobold finally takes Carano to the mat with 11 seconds left in the round, but can't capitalize. 10-9 Carano, so I score it 20-18 Carano through two rounds.

Round 3: Kobold tries again to muscle Carano to the mat with a body lock. She can't take her down and the ref brings them back to the middle. Carano with knee that gets the crowd cheering. Kobold is putting her against the fence again. Carano pulls out a rear naked choke and almost ends the fight, but Kobold escapes. Carano with more fists and a nice straight kick to the face. Carano with more body kicks as the round ends. This place is electric.

Winner: Gina Carano defeats Kelly Kobold via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com