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Sumner Redstone not happy with MMA on CBS

by Brett Love, posted May 1st 2008 10:37AM

Gina Carano of American Gladiators and EliteXCCBS Executive Chairman, Sumner Redstone, was asked on Wednesday for his thoughts on the four MMA events scheduled to air on the network as a result of their partnership with Elite Xtreme Combat. Now, if Sumner just said he's not a fan, or he didn't think it was right for the network, I could probably just agree to disagree with him. My issue with his comments, as reported by Reuters, come from the reference that airing the sport on free, broadcast TV, is not socially responsible.

Seriously? Does he watch the network? We all know what would be plugging those open holes in the lineup if it wasn't for the appearance of Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano (American Gladiators, pictured). Yes, another heaping helping of CSI:X reruns, possibly featuring psychopaths that poison/stab/shoot/strangle/etc their victims. If your argument is that airing fictional murderers committing heinous, bloody, crimes is somehow taking the moral high ground when compared to MMA, I'm really not buying it. For those of you interested in some Saturday night MMA, I've attached the press release, with the fight card, after the jump.




Street Fighting Legend-Turned-EliteXC Heavyweight Sensation Kimbo Slice Will

Square Off Against Hard-Hitting British MMA Standout James "Colossus"

Thompson in the Main Event of a Five-Fight Broadcast

Popular Female Fighter Gina "Conviction" Carano and EliteXC Middleweight

Champion "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler will also Appear on the Card

LOS ANGELES, April 16 - CBS and EliteXC today announced the lineup for the first "CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS," to be broadcast live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, Saturday, May 31 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

"In terms of recognition and perception, I believe May 31 is the biggest and single most important MMA fight card ever. It will forever change the landscape of the sport and how it is perceived," said Gary Shaw, EliteXC Live Events President. The following five primetime matchups are confirmed for the CBS ELITEXC


· Kimbo Slice vs. James "Colossus" Thompson (Heavyweights)

· "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler vs. Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith (for EliteXC Middleweight title)

· Gina "Conviction" Carano vs. Kaitlin Young (140 lb. weight class)

· Phil Baroni vs. Murilo "Ninja" Rua (Middleweights)

· Brett "The Grim" Rogers vs. Jon Murphy (Heavyweights)


Heavyweight sensation Kimbo Slice will headline the first-ever CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS. From the street to EliteXC, Slice's unorthodox ascension through the world of mixed martial arts started with posting his local fights on "YouTube," a move that quickly garnered millions of downloads and made him an instant legend among fans of the sport. Kimbo, aka Kevin Ferguson, who resides in Perrine, Fla., near Miami, will be matched against James "Colossus" Thompson, a British MMA standout whose pre-fighting resume includes work as a "debt collector." Thompson is aptly nicknamed, standing at six-foot-five and weighing more than 250 pounds. He will be the first MMA fighter to possess a height advantage over the six-foot-two-inch Kimbo. This bout is scheduled for three five-minute rounds.


Champion "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler of St. Louis by way of Davenport, Iowa will put his title on the line against Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith in the evening's middleweight championship fight. Lawler trains under the legendary Pat Miletich, while Smith trains in Reno, Nev. Both fighters are widely considered two of the most prolific knockout artists in the business. This championship bout is slated for five five-minute rounds.


In a female bout, Gina "Conviction" Carano will square off against Circle Pines, Minn. native Kaitlin Young. Carano, an undefeated Muay Thai specialist, lives and trains in Las Vegas, Nev., and is considered one of the most popular female fighters in the world of mixed martial arts. Carano recently appeared on the series "American Gladiators" where she put her skills to the test as the gladiator "Crush." Young, a well conditioned athlete who trains at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, started Olympic style taekwondo when she was 14. Her aggressive style and Muay Thai background should provide one of the most interesting matchups of the evening. This bout is scheduled for three three-minute rounds.


Outspoken, hard-hitting, MMA bad boy, Phil Baroni, will take on former EliteXC middleweight champ Murilo "Ninja" Rua, a specialist in Muay Thai and Brazilian jiujitsu. Baroni, a fighter known for always putting on a good show, hails from Long Island, N.Y., and is currently training in Las Vegas, Nev. and San Jose, Calif. The talented Rua is currently training in his hometown of Curitiba, Brazil. This bout is scheduled for three five-minute rounds.


Brett "The Grim" Rogers brings an impressive undefeated record to the fight against fellow heavyweight contender Jon Murphy. The explosive, hard-hitting Rogers, who hails from Minneapolis, Minn., is six-foot-five and weighs over 260 pounds. Murphy, a former middle linebacker at Syracuse University who lives in Minersville, Penn, is six-foot-four and weighs over 240 pounds. This bout is scheduled for three five minute rounds.

The intense nature of the contests and the theatrical elements of its live events have made mixed martial arts one of the fastest growing spectator sports in the U.S. Over the last several years, the genre has seen tremendous growth in popularity, especially among the coveted 18-34 demographic.

Mixed martial arts is a sport evolved from a number of ancient combat disciplines including judo, jiu-jitsu, karate, wrestling and kickboxing. World-class athletes engage in hand-to-hand combat in a ring-both caged and traditional-and must adapt their fighting style to fit their opponent. The wide variety of styles and techniques make every event an unpredictable spectacle.

CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS will be produced by SHOWTIME Sports. The executive producer is David Dinkins, Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing. For additional information and fighter profiles, visit www.proelite.com

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Brent McKee

I don't like it. I also don't like wrestling and I'm not that crazy about boxing. You like it, fine - I defend to the death your right to like it and expect the same from you. Sumner Redstone was expressing an opinion that he holds, and I defend to the death his right to hold that position. You'll notice that he didn't say the events should be banned nor did he tell Moonves to take the events off the schedule.

May 02 2008 at 4:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

Again, the wafer-thinness of your skin is ridiculous. You are the one calling me names and refusing to back up your statements, and I am the asshole? Your comments are too vitriolic and backed up by nothing to be even commented on.

May 02 2008 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

Again, the wafer-thinness of your skin is ridiculous. You are the one calling me names and refusing to back up your statements, and I am the asshole? Your comments are too vitriolic and backed up by nothing to be even commented on.

May 02 2008 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pierre-Luc Allie

It's funny how people who know nothing about martial arts all think that we love mma for the blood or the violence.

I can't stand blood. I don't even watch horror movie. I love mma for the technique, the courage and the discipline it's needed to compete in this sport. Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu are all very complexe sport, it takes a special kind of athlete to master them. I can't imagine how those guys can master them all.

May 01 2008 at 7:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm not happy with Big Brother, Survivor and that half-dozen CSI's on CBS. We all learn to cope.

May 01 2008 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

I don't think its "socially irresponsible", I just think its pathetic that there is a big enough audience in America for this trash that it can be put on a major broadcast network.

May 01 2008 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
7 replies to Joey Geraci's comment

Kimbo & Gina are just getting started in MMA. I think this will be Kimbo's 3rd or 4th fight with them and Gina hasn't had many either. They need to work on how to get out of submissions more before they go up against the elite of their divisions. The elite fighters know how to tear up knees and elbows among other things. They need to learn the moves to avoid those things.

May 01 2008 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MERVE-THE-PERVE's comment

Exactly. Serving Gina up to experts right now wouldn't teach her a damn thing, and watching her lose wouldn't advance the sport in any way. Besides, Julie Kedzie was tough, if not very skilled, and that was a hell of a fight for two women who didn't know jack on the ground.

Gina is going to be a hell of a fighter one day soon, and she's the perfect face for female MMA. She's pretty, looks good in gym or street clothes and can punch your face in. She's well-spoken and respectful of her opponents and the sport. If grooming her more slowly than you would another young, inexperienced fighter is wrong, then screw it. She's good for the sport as a whole, and will soon have the skill to back up her budding rep.

Randy Couture's camp is training her. She's going to be a ground & pound expert soon.

May 01 2008 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hopefully it gets decent ratings. Too bad they refuse to let Kimbo and Gina fight decent competition. More people would probably tune in if they did.

May 01 2008 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I remember when boxing matches were broadcast for free on network TV, so why is this any different? It sounds more like Redstone is saying this should be on a PPV channel that he can charge $50 per subscriber and make more money than he could with advertising!

May 01 2008 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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