The early ratings for EliteXC’s third CBS show are in, and the network is extremely happy. “Heat” took place this past weekend at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida, and was headlined by EliteXC fan favorites Gina Carano and Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson.
CBS Senior Executive Vice President Kelly Kohl stated that 4.31 Million viewers tuned in at some point of the primetime event. These early numbers do not include the last 20 minutes of the event because it ran over its permitted time slot, which is even more encouraging for CBS and EliteXC as the majority of viewers would tune in for the main event of the night.
In the key Male 18-34 and 18-49 year old demographic, “Heat” came in first with a 2.5 rating. It also took first place in the adults (Men and Women) 18-34 category with a 1.8 rating. In the adults 18-49 category, it tied with ABC’s broadcast of college football with a 1.8 rating.
These numbers are up significantly from EliteXC and CBS’s second promotion together back in July, and almost as impressive as their debut in May. The only categories that didn’t eclipse the numbers from their inaugural event were the Men and Women 18-34 and 18-49 demographics, which were down about 11 percent.
“I think we’ve clearly bounced back and we’re very happy,” he said.
All in all, it was a successful night for EliteXC and CBS, even though Ken Shamrock was forced to pull out of the main event against Kimbo two hours prior to the fight. Shamrock sustained a cut during a last-minute, light training session, forcing EliteXC to scramble and find a replacement. They were able to pull Seth Petruzelli out of his light heavyweight bout against Aaron Rosa and into the main event.
“In terms of Shamrock, that was a situation really out of our control,” Kohl continued. “We did what a professional organization would do. We got another quality fighter in the ring with Kimbo. We didn’t want to disappoint the audiences on television or in the arena. And we obviously put a good fighter in there. In terms of the surprising outcome, that’s just the fight game. Kimbo was a man for stepping up and taking the fight, and Petruzelli was a stud for taking it too. At the end of the day, we promised Kimbo Slice and we delivered Kimbo Slice.”
It was a tough situation for EliteXC, as they needed to find a fill-in that would still warrant it being a main event fight, however, they didn’t want to have a fighter that could take out the company’s popular, yet inexperienced, meal ticket. They settled on Petruzelli, who only had a 9-4 professional MMA record going into the bout, and was a weight class below Kimbo’s.
Unfortunately, Petruzelli pulled off the biggest upset in EliteXC history, leaving many to think that EliteXC may be headed down the tubes as quickly as Kimbo hit the canvas on Saturday night. Khol however, feels differently.
“EliteXC is bigger than Kimbo Slice,” he said. “We’ve always anticipated that Kimbo Slice could take a loss someday. All MMA fighters do. They don’t have a grasp of the things that might be going on right now.
Hopefully EliteXC will be able to build off the momentum from this event, and get out of the huge financial hole that they have accumulated in their two years in business.