Tomorrow marks the national broadcast television debut of the sport of mixed martial arts. There is a ton riding on this and a ton of things that people should know before watching (if you aren’t a big fan).
First, what is mixed martial arts? It is not “ultimate fighting”. UFC has done an incredible job making the terms “ultimate fighting” and “mixed martial arts” or “mma” the same. Not only are they the same but the term “ultimate fighting” is likely more often used in the mainstream media.
Now, who or what is EliteXC? EliteXC is a MMA promotion that is a partnership between Proelite.com, and the Showtime Network. Th company is well under two years old but has clearly made massive stride in the right direction.
People need to know that this sport is beginning to be backed by some major, important people. I will start with one member of the announce team this Saturday; Gus Johnson. Gus is an accomplished announcer, most notibly from his work with the NFL and the NCAA Tourney. What many people do not know is that he has trained for years in the discipline of boxing and has recently taken up ju-jujitsu. Also on the announce team is famed MMA combatant Frank Shamrock. Having these two names in the booth is important for a show on CBS.
Everyone should also know that this card is not even that great. This is especially true from the “storyline”, “mainstream” side of things. This makes me nervous as someone who wants to see EliteXC succeed.
EliteXC and CBS do have Kimbo Slice and they have been marketing him and him only.
I don’t watch CBS, almost never do I really, so I don’t know how often or when they are playing these things but it is a great attempt to gain some viewers based on curiosity.
That is the whole reason that CBS is taking this risk. They need to gain the coveted male 18-34 demographic. The are, I believe, the oldest of the four major networks as far as viewership.
The most important thing for the success of EiteXC and thus the growth of MMA in general is simple. Kimbo Slice must win. To take it one step further he must knock James Thompson out in a thrilling fashion.
Kimbo is a clear favorite at -600 on Bodog. Thompson is not exactly a tier 1 mma heavyweight. He has lost 6 of his last 8 fights. One of those two wins was against a very old, out of his prime Don Frye. However James Thompson is a solid 6’5 and will give way to a great match-up appearance wise, especially for those who do not know much about Thompson.
In any case, a loss by Kimbo will be devastating.
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