Posted on: June 6, 2009 11:10 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2009 12:46 am
One of the most anticipated MMA fights of the past year is finally signed and scheduled.
On Showtime Saturday night, they officially announced Gina Carano vs. Cris "Cyborg" Santos for Strikeforce's Aug. 15 event, to be broadcast on Showtime.
Also signed for that event: The long-awaited rematch for the Strikeforce lightweight title, as champion Josh Thomson battles former champ Gilbert Melendez .
It will be very interesting to see what kind of ratings Carano vs. Cyborg pulls in, and also to see what kind of fighting shape Carano is in after a 10-month layoff.
In addition, Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem was announced as fighting on the 8/15 show with no opponent named at this time. His opponent may depend on the result of Arlovski vs. Rogers, and how banged up the winner of that fight is.
UPDATE: Brett Rogers knocked out Andrei Arlovski in 22 seconds, and didn't appear to have a scratch on him afterward.
Posted on: February 6, 2009 4:28 pm
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 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."
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."
Posted on: October 5, 2008 4:07 am
Edited on: October 5, 2008 4:13 am
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 9:44 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2008 1:44 am
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.
Posted on: October 3, 2008 10:30 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2008 11:24 pm
Following up on my earlier blog post, and the weird scene where Gina Carano weighed in nude twice, coming in at 142.5 the first time and making weight at 141 mere seconds later: I've received word from Showtime and CBS officials that were on the stage during Carano's weigh-in that a misplaced towel caused the problem.
After Carano missed weight at 142.75 with minimal clothing on, she stripped off her clothes and tried again, but still missed weight at 142.5. Seconds later, she got back on the scale and made weight at 141.0 with no visible difference to the audience. Many observers (including yours truly) were scratching their heads as to what made such a quick difference. I've been told that during the second weigh-in attempt, Carano had a towel draped over her shoulder. In the commotion, nobody caught this unti Carano's father Glen yelled for someone to get the towel off of her.
By time the Glen Carano mentioned it, the second weigh-in had already been announced at 142.5. She then got back on the scale moments later, sans towel, and made weight.
That's the official word from those who were close to Carano at the time. It would explain the weight difference, as well as the reason why we all didn't see a change that would lead to an instant 1.5 pound loss. We couldn't see Carano except from the neck up and the calves down, so we would not have seen anyone take a towel off her shoulder. Furthermore, there was a lot of noise during this debacle, and it would have been hard for us to hear Glen Carano's mention of the towel over the ambient noise.
So, there you have it.
On a side note, several people at the weigh-in noted it was odd that Cristiane Cyborg and Yoko Takahashi were fighting at 148, but Carano and Kelly Kobold were asked to make 140... especially in light of the fact that Cris Cyborg just fought at 140 for EliteXC in July. By the looks of things, Carano probably would have appreciated the extra eight pound allowance.
I was told there was no set reason for the odd weight limit of 148 for Cyborg vs. Takahashi. It's apparently just the catch weight that both fighters mutually agreed to. I'm told there was no mandate from the organization to have the bout at a higher weight, nor was there any reason to insist otherwise once the fighters agreed to 148.
Posted on: October 3, 2008 6:55 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2008 9:14 pm
The weigh-ins for CBS Saturday Night Fights took place Friday afternoon, and as weigh-ins go, this one was pretty eventful. Some highlights:
-- Gina Carano initially weighed in for her 140-pound bout with Kelly Kobold at 142.75 pounds -- which, due to the one-pound allowance, is actually 1.75 pounds over the limit. She was white as a ghost, walking very slowly and completely straight-faced. I would compare it to how someone looks when they are in the middle of a serious case of the flu. Clearly, Carano is still having issues getting down to 140, and it's getting to the point where you have to wonder if it's safe for her to continue cutting that much for a fight. At the very least, her method of cutting needs to be reevaluated.
This is where it gets a little bizarre. Rather than try to go cut more weight, Carano -- for the first time I can recall -- opted to weigh in again with no clothes on. Several officials shielded her from onlookers with a large towels. She removed her clothing, stepped back on the scale... and came in at 142.50 this time. Clearly upset and not feeling well, there was a few seconds of discussion on the stage, before Carano stepped onto the scale a third time. Although she didn't appear to remove any further clothing (she was already nude, as far as anyone knew), she came in at 141.0 on the third attempt. There was definitely plenty of confusion among the press and other onlookers in the room, who couldn't figure out what happened in that 10-20 seconds between weigh-in attempts that caused a 1.5 pound difference in Carano. I did not see anything personally, and I think very few people did. One theory kicked around on my side of the room was that some of the clothing Carano removed may have been sitting on the scale during the second attempt, causing the second failure, but I wasn't in a position to see her feet, so I can't confirm that.
It was definitely a curious scene. I'll try to get an official answer about what happened between the second and third nude weigh-ins that made such a difference, but a lot of people were scratching their heads after that one.
-- After Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice weighed in, a wild pull-apart shoving match took place. Before the fighters did the customary staredown photo op, Kimbo turned to walk away. Shamrock got angry and yelled at Kimbo for turning his back. Kimbo didn't respond, so Shamrock shoved him -- hard -- in the back. Both camps immediately jumped into the fray, with EliteXC's Jared Shaw and Jeremy Lappen in the middle, trying to regain order. Kimbo's people seemed legitimately upset and were yelling at officials about Shamrock's behavior. The curtain backdrop in the weigh-in stage was rocking back and forth in the melee, to the point that Andrei Arlovski -- who had weighed in moments earlier -- peeked out from behind the curtain, trying to see what the commotion was.
-- This one will get the rumor mill going in a hurry: "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" himself, Tito Ortiz, was in the house and openly mingling with the fighters and other officials. He was wearing an Affliction shirt, but no word on whether that bears any significance. Keep in mind that Affliction's deal with EliteXC is what got Arlovski vs. Roy Nelson onto this CBS show, and with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions now working with Affliction, the group might now have the financial backing to sign a guy like Ortiz. Especially if Ortiz has come down to earth a little on his asking price. Keep in mind, few in the history of MMA have been better self-promoters than Tito Ortiz, and Ortiz clearly understands the value of being seen on a CBS broadcast. Hmm....
No word on how Tito's presence affected Shamrock, who was beaten by Ortiz three times, all by TKO, in the UFC.
-- Also in attendance: Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, Roan Carneiro, Bas Rutten, and current cast member of UFC's The Ultimate Fighter 8 (and CBSSports.com blogger!), Tom Lawlor.
-- Pro wrestling fans from years past will be happy to know that former WWE star The Warlord is currently working as part of Kimbo Slice's entourage. It's not clear how many people in attendance made that connection, but I do know Tom Lawlor was very excited, and actually seemed to startle the big man by yelling out "WARLORD!" as he walked past.
-- The only fighter to miss weight was Nicolae "Curry" Sinicio. Jorge Boechat agreed to accept the bout anyway, so it did not affect the card.
Official weigh-in results:
Posted on: February 28, 2008 10:19 am
This morning at 9 a.m. ET, CBS and ProElite, Inc. announced a multi-year deal that will result in four EliteXC events per year broadcast live on CBS.
The deal is the first of its kind for a major U.S. TV network, and also the first of its kind for a U.S.-based MMA promotion. According to the official press release, CBS will air four EliteXC events per year, live on Saturday nights during primetime. The release also confirms that the EliteXC airings will be two hours in duration.
EliteXC began running shows last year, broadcasting on Showtime. The promotion has also worked in conjunction with MMA groups like Strikeforce in jointly-promoted events airing primarily on Showtime, which will continue to air EliteXC in addition to the CBS deal.
In conjunction with other MMA groups owned by ProElite -- which includes not just ElitexC, but others like Cage Rage and Icon Sport -- the roster of potential fighters on CBS broadcasts includes Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano, Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock, Antonio Silva, Robbie Lawler, Jake Shields, KJ Noons, Nick Diaz, Murilo "Ninja" Rua, Scott Smith and Ricco Rodriguez.
From the official release:
"Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and a wildly popular entertainment vehicle for upscale, young adult audiences," said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime. "It's original programming for Saturday night; it's live, creating an event atmosphere and it's something that hasn't been seen on network television, until now."
EliteXC president Gary Shaw added this:
"Our world-class fighters and the high production value of our events continue to drive ProElite as a global MMA organization that is fortified by the bedrock foundation of a partnership with CBS," said Gary Shaw, President of EliteXC. "Broadcasting our events on CBS will instantly engage a new fan base, as well as provide an opportunity for EliteXC to further establish itself as the world's premier MMA organization."
I'll probably have more to say about this over the next day or two. For now, let's just say that no matter how this all turns out, this is already one of the most important MMA stories of the year.
These waters are unchartered. An MMA TV deal of this ilk has simply never been done before in this country, and whether it succeeds or not is likely to have a major impact on the future of the MMA business.