Earlier today MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) broke the news that ProElite, Inc., the parent company of Elite Xtreme Combat, appears to be on the verge of signing a landmark deal with CBS that will put MMA on major network television for the first time.
Thanks to Kevin Iole of MMAjunkie.com’s partner site Yahoo! Sports, we now have a few additional details.
According to his report, the official announcement of the deal will come tomorrow. In it, EliteXC and CBS will confirm a four-fight deal that begins with an event in April.
Additionally, Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, the YouTube brawler who earned a lucrative long-term deal with EliteXC in late 2007, will likely headline the first CBS event — either in Atlantic City, N.J. or at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Iole reports.
Ferguson, a former bodyguard in the pornography business who now trains with MMA legend Bas Rutten, most recently defeated veteran slugger David “Tank” Abbott in the main event of the organization’s Feb. 16 “Street Certified” show. The event, which drew a sold-out crowd of 6,187, set a record live gate for the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center.
Ferguson, who hails from Miami, was the primary draw for the event. As MMAjunkie.com previously reported, he earned an event-best base salary of $175,000, according to the Florida State Boxing Commission. Additionally, since our initial report, MMAjunkie.com has been informed that EliteXC officials, including EliteXC live events president Gary Shaw, and Ferguson have met and discussed a possible contract extension.
According to Iole, CBS is expected to air the EliteXC events on Saturdays as live two-hour broadcasts, most likely from 9 to 11 p.m. ET.
EliteXC, which was formed as a partnership with Showtime Networks Inc. in 2006, had previously aired almost all of its events on the subscription-cable channel. Earlier today Sam Caplan of fiveouncesofpain.com passed along a report that stated Showtime subscription totals rose 11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. A highly publicized October “ShoXC” event and a major November EliteXC show likely played a role in the increase.
Showtime is owned by CBS, which is an investor in ProElite. As Caplan reported on fiveouncesofpain.com, CBS recently increased its ownership stake in the company, possibly injecting the fight promotion with some much-needed funds.
For more about this entire story, check out MMAjunkie.com’s original report.