Mixed Martial Arts returning to CBS


MMA will return to primetime on CBS under a new deal with StrikeForce. The violent sport drew strong ratings for the Eye Network when it aired three MMA fights in 2008.

While the TV show did well, the network’s partner, EliteXC, ran into financial difficulties and closed shop. What was to have been a multi-year partnership ended after only three broadcasts.

Now CBS has partnered with StrikeForce, which has been producing martial arts programming for ESPN since 1995. StrikeForce has been doing MMA events since 2006. The company is a subsidiary of West Coast Productions.

CBS will debut the new MMA show on November 7th. Number One-ranked MMA heavyweight fighter, Fedor Emelianenko of Russia, will face undefeated American Brett Rogers of Minnesota in the marquee match up. The fight marks the first bout for Emelianenko since his promotional company M-1 Global signed an agreement with StrikeForce to co-promote major events.

Showtime Sports will produce the four-fight event with host Gus Johnson calling the action and MMA legend Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo serving as color analysts. Showtime is owned by CBS Corporation.