EliteXC and CBS are expected to announce a deal on Thursday, according to a report by Kevin Iole on Yahoo! Sports, that will put mixed martial arts on a major broadcast network for the first time in its brief history.
The agreement between ProElite, Inc. – EliteXC’s parent company – and CBS was reported on Wednesday afternoon by MMAJunkie.com. Multiple sources close to the deal later confirmed the partnership with MMAWeekly.com.
Few details were known at the time of publication, but Iole’s report claims that it is currently a four-event agreement that is likely to begin in April. The premier event on CBS is also expected to feature Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson in an event in New Jersey.
The events on CBS are expected to be two-hours telecasts in prime time on Saturday nights.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship had reportedly been in talks with CBS as well, but was unable to come to an agreement. Most sources indicate that the UFC’s reluctance to give up control of the production of its events was a major reason that they have not closed a deal with CBS and earlier with HBO.
MMAWeekly sources indicated that CBS would likely have control over the production of the EliteXC events on its network and would probably reduce the focus on the dancers and musicians that have dotted EliteXC telecasts on Showtime.
It is also believed that there will be major changes in the announce team for telecasts on CBS. The most recent iteration of the EliteXC announce team on Showtime included Mauro Ranallo, Stephen Quadros and Bill Goldberg.