LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The success of “The Ultimate Fighter” has spawned a hand full of knock-offs attempting to capitalize on the mixed martial arts craze. Some have been decent, others shamefully bad.
With its cable and network television roots, EliteXC has proven itself accessible to mainstream tastemakers. EliteXC CEO Chuck Champion recently told MMAInsider the company is attempting to capitalize on those connections once again with an MMA-themed reality show.
A pilot for the show is complete, and Doug DeLuca, Elite’s former executive chairman, is helping it get seen around town. Reality kingpin Mark Burnett has also taken an active involvement with development.
“I’ve said it before in other industries,” Champion said. “If the shoe fits, steal it. The UFC has figured out ‘I’ve gotta have a way for these guys to start getting an audience following’ in order to take them into a pay per view environment.”
The premise of the untitled show as Champion tells it:
“It’s a concept of you roll into town, some kid’s been picked on all his life, and somebody picked on him. So let’s put the guy who picked on him in the ring with someone who knows how to fight, see how he enjoys that.”
Apparently, an EliteXC fighter will square off with the bully to determine the size of a cash prize that goes to the bullied.
“You can make money the longer you’re in the ring. If you go into the ring, you’re given so much, and you lose so much if you get taken down. So hypothetically, if I give you 10,000 bucks, you lose a thousand bucks every time you get taken down, you don’t want to get taken down, do you? And you can make money for every fifteen seconds you can last standing with this professional fighter. You make money.
“So naturally, these professional fighters are selected very carefully, and the contestants are grilled to make sure that they’re physically fit. The attendants are on to make sure no one gets hurt…seriously. I’ve seen the first couple episodes and it’s a lot of fun.
“It’s the dream we’ve all had. Who of us have not either picked on someone, or been picked on. I think it’s something that will naturally burn deep in people, and Mark’s done a fantastic job with production values. It’s a very unique concept.”
If the show gets picked up, it will not likely go into production until 2009. At that point, local bullies may want to relocate, or get ready for an ass-kicking.