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EliteXC Out, UFC in at CBS?

Written by Tom Ngo
August 31st, 2008
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Michael Pope of the New York Post is reporting that CBS may be reconsidering their current relationship with EliteXC. CBS maintains that they want to remain in the MMA business and are interested in re-opening talks with the UFC to achieve the success that they are striving for. EliteXC has not helped their own cause, failing to put together the level of excitement and action on their cards that the UFC consistantly provides.

EliteXC made their debut with CBS in May, and “Primetime” was a ratings success. The card was headlined by street fighting legend Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson and drew in an astounding 4.3 million viewers. Although many MMA enthusiasts bashed EliteXC and CBS for the quality of Mixed Martial Arts that was actually involved on the card and likened the event to being more of a circus than a MMA event, CBS brass seemed excited by their newly formed partnership.

Perhaps EliteXC and CBS listened to the critics a little too much on their second promotion together in July, as they added more quality MMA fighters to the card, however lacked the star power that their first event contained. “Unfinished Business” was a ratings disaster, drawing in a mere 2.62 million fans, a 40% drop from their first event.

With numbers like that, Pope is reporting that CBS has re-opened talks with the world’s largest MMA organization about a broadcast deal. When contacted by 5thRound.com, neither CBS nor the UFC would confirm or comment Pope’s report.

The UFC and CBS were in talks last December on a primetime deal, however the UFC insisted on maintaining control over production of the event, while CBS wanted to run the show. When the UFC refused to budge, CBS struck a deal with EliteXC.

EliteXC and CBS are slated for their third promotion together on October 4th. They are drawing upon the formula that brought them success on their debut by placing Kimbo as the main event against UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock.

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