by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The CBS Television Network and ProElite, Inc. on Feb. 28 announced a multi-year agreement that would bring mixed martial arts to a major broadcast television network for the first time in the sport’s history.
As part of the agreement, CBS will air four MMA events per year, produced by ProElite’s EliteXC live events division, as two-hour live primetime specials on Saturday nights.
During a conference call on Tuesday, EliteXC president of live events Gary Shaw indicated that a press release announcing the first fight card on CBS would be forthcoming on Wednesday. That press release still had not been released at the time of publication and one representative stated that it might not be released until Thursday.
“There will be a CBS press release going out … announcing when the first fight card is and announcing who some of the fighters on that card are. So I don’t want to preempt it,” said Shaw. “We think we have a great card put together, and we’re very, very excited to be on CBS.
“I think that the announcement will surprise some people,” he continued. “It’s just exciting. This is the single biggest thing that I think will ever happen to any fighter or to MMA to have the ability to be seen by over 100 million eyeballs.”
Although the press release announcing the event and some of the fighters had not yet been released, ProElite.com – ProElite, Inc.’s social networking website – posted a teaser on its home page saying, “Keep an eye out for the first airing of advertisements for CBS and EliteXC’s ‘Saturday Night Fights’ during the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The rumored event date is May 31st.”
The announcement was accompanied by the logo for the “Saturday Night Fights” specials.
The NCAA Basketball Tournament opening round begins on CBS on Thursday at 12:20 ET.