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Let the Strikeforce/EliteXC Comparisons Begin

(Say what you will, but I just don’t see how Fedor and Brett Rogers could possibly top this unless someone’s eye pops out of the socket.)

With Strikeforce making their debut on CBS this Saturday night there’s no way to avoid comparing their network TV efforts with those of their CBS predecessor, EliteXC.  There are some notable differences between the two, of course.  While Strikeforce’s event is headlined by the world’s best heavyweight taking on an undefeated former EliteXC fighter, EliteXC’s first CBS show had Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson in an ugly, sloppy, ear-exploding affair that didn’t exactly help win over the skeptics in the national TV audience.  True, we don’t know yet how good a fight Fedor/Rogers will turn out to be, but I’m going to go ahead and say, advantage: Strikeforce.

Another area Strikeforce appears to have the edge is in advertiser appeal.  Kelly Kahl, executive vice president for primetime programming for CBS, says that ad spots are already sold out for Saturday night’s show, adding “I’d say this was probably a quicker sellout than the EliteXC shows.”  Boom.  Gary Shaw?  That muffled sound you hear outside is Scott Coker driving by your house, honking his horn and shouting, “How you like them apples?!”

Advertising sales are one thing, but ratings, that’s the name of this game.  For their first show on CBS, EliteXC peaked at 6.51 million viewers and a 4.1 rating among those rascally men aged 18-34.  EliteXC’s final show, the ill-fated “Heat” that saw the legend of Kimbo get derailed by a weak jab, much to Jared Shaw’s dismay, pulled in almost identical numbers.

So the questions we find ourselves asking are:

1) Can Strikeforce beat these numbers?

2) Can they do it by a sufficient enough margin to prove that even on network TV it really does make a difference to have fighters who are actually, you know, main event quality?

3) What kind of numbers will it take for CBS to really get serious about being in the MMA business?

You could argue that, at least in some ways, EliteXC helped lay the groundwork for whatever success Strikeforce enjoys this weekend.  But even after two shows EliteXC couldn’t move their numbers much, and they faced a similar competition from college football that Strikeforce will also have to contend with.  Let’s just hope that the ratings here prove to CBS that this thing can really go somewhere when you have people who know what they’re doing. 


Cagepotato Comments

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knee_strike- November 5, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Go Fedor!
steampunk22- November 5, 2009 at 7:16 pm
What I'm saying is that if you atre going to make sweeping generalizations about something, you have to apply the same format to where you're coming from. Most to Most. Averages to averages. You can't say that because you are poor, all whites are poor. That argument holds no water.

Most PEOPLE are not in positions of power, but in america, most of those positions that do exist, are held by white people. Simple as that. Averages, to averages chap.

But enough of this.

knee_strike- November 5, 2009 at 3:24 pm
Telling the truth has already resulted in my being branded a "race-baiter," which is fine by me.

I and my family are not well off. We work for what we have. We're in the same tax bracket as almost all the blacks in this town. And white America has now been divided along class lines. Most whites are no longer in positions of economic power.

Look, I'll stick to talking about MMA now. I just wanted to make those final points.
steampunk22- November 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm
The distractions are for everyone.

Demand typically leads.

And the media is an averaging out of audience input typically, not the other way around. If it wasn't popular, it wouldn't be around. Simple as that.

Also, find a black person who would be willing to switch places with you, in a strictly financial/opportunistic sense. If you're white it shouldn't be too hard.

Yes white america has less that they used to have, but they still have more than the rest.

I'm starting to think you want to make provocative comments just for the sheer shake of it. Either that or you really wan't someone to agree that us whites are so hard done by. And that my friend, ain't gonna happen.
knee_strike- November 5, 2009 at 2:34 pm
Yes, white America is buying the whole ghetto thing, but in part because it's being shoved down white America's throat. Supply and demand always work in tandem.

And white people in general don't have the money anymore. The economy sucks, remember? Whites are taxed to the hilt, they're in debt up to their eyeballs, and they're lucky to have jobs. But, as I'm sure you'd agree, bread and circuses keep them distracted.
steampunk22- November 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm
The popularization of urban black culture lends to Kimbo's success, there's no doubt about that. If he wasn't a fighter its not a stretch for most people to see him as a rapper or whatever, he fits the bill perfectly. Its just an easier product to put together. My point, is that a lot of those youtube hits and a lot of the reason black america has become so prevalent in the media is because white america is buying it. Ghetto culture, and ghetto style or whatever you want to call it has been co-opted by white people, for white people. Because we have the money.

Here's a random quote that sums it up pretty well;

"Call it what you want, it's still a minstrel show" -Bruce Springsteen

Exposure doesn't equal power, or longevity. Ten years from now people will not know who Kimbo Slice is, but they WILL know Fedor. So long as the average person is buying, they're going to keep selling. And borderline retarded sells, because people are borderline retarded. In a perfect world people would be rewarded for their skill and prowess in whatever athletic endeavour.But thats why we have the Olympics. Most MMA fans and athletes wanted exposure, wanted their sport legitimized. And now we have it, but you get the good with the bad once you turn it over to the media. Whether or not I agree with it, its the way it is. They sell a product, and this one is new and shiny.

MMA is part show business now, buy the ticket, take the ride.
Soda Popinski- November 5, 2009 at 1:46 pm

You mentioned in your comment:

1: "If I had any friends"

along with

2: "I have a Taylor Swift poster on my ceiling"

I shed a tear for both.

And to close....your post made no sense to me.

knee_strike- November 5, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Thanks for the reply, and thanks for being civil.

Yeah, YouTube has certainly played a role in Kimbo's popularity. And the fact that Fedor doesn't speak English and lives off in the hills in Russia hasn't exactly helped him become a household name.

But don't forget that the media has been glorifying the whole ghetto "lifestyle" for years now, both on the airwaves and in print. Blacks are cool, Whites are nerdy. These facts have definitely worked in Kimbo's favor.
steampunk22- November 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm
This sort of thing rarely has anything to so with race, its just something that white/black people say when they feel hard done by lol. For the record, I am white, male, and of Ukrainian descent and I think Fedor is the shit. Leave the show business side of MMA to the Kimbo's of the world and be happy with that, yeah? Who gives a shit what the mainstream media covers, they cover what will sell. If 90% of americans spoke russian, they would show more of Fedor. However, since 90% of americans are barely literate and just want to be entertained, they'll show Kimbo/Rogers. Simple as that, race doesn't enter into it.

Mainstream media does not cater to the upper echelon of MMA fans, they cater to the lowest common denominator, in every sport. Its not personal.
steampunk22- November 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm

This is the ol DMX vs Eminem argument.

Trust me, I feel your pain and I know what you are trying to say but you are doing so a little too....risque?

I dont think there is actually a racial agenda when it comes to sports, this is just something that white people say. (I'm white, so ha!) Kimbo gets the attention he does because of his massive online impact through sites such as Youtube, etc. Its mostly name recognition, not racially motivated. If Fedor had a shit ton of backyard fights online, was a huge extrovert with gold chains and a Mr. T haircut, he would get just as much attention. But he isn't, so he doesn't. Race, as much as you may think or want it to, does not enter into it. Kimbo is a character, so Kimbo gets the attention. Its merely a matter of exposure within North America.
knee_strike- November 5, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Exactly. What does that tell you about the mainstream media's obvious racial agenda when it comes to sports?

Kimbo may be ten times the draw Fedor is, but Fedor is ten times the fighter Kimbo is. But, as usual, the media glorifies ghetto thugs at the expense of exceptional White athletes.
Myles Kilometers- November 5, 2009 at 12:44 pm
One thing I'm surprised no one is mentioning when comparing EliteXC and Strikeforce, is how they've put a lot of their muscle behind one guy and as a company, really need him to win (a la Kimbo).

If Fedor gets caught...then what? The guy that you've been hyping and are paying boatloads of cash to then becomes very unmarketable in America. I think it's unlikely that he'll lose, but I wouldn't bet my future on it.

That's one thing the UFC never seems to do. They'll never put on a fight where the continued success of their company rests with one fighter winning. If Brock Lesner losses to Shane Carwin, it's a hit for sure, but both fighters have been built up enough that it would just breed a more competitive division. What do you do with Fedor if he losses his first fight? Who does he fight next? Does he immediately rematch Rogers? Who the fuck would want to see that?

It should be a good fight, but if Rogers can "Petruzelli" Fedor, I'm hoping for as hilarious animated gifs.
831 Son- November 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm
Well as far as Im concerned, I wouldnt want anyone stopping my fight unless I go to sleep or get finished, but Thompson was clearly out of it mthomas. I mean, I agree it could have gone another 20 seconds so we could see Thompson get KO'd, but he was badly rocked.
mthomas- November 5, 2009 at 12:24 pm
Wow...I've never watched this fight before. Did everyone see Thompson PIMP-SLAP Miragliotta acorss the face @ 1:39. WOW! I'd be mad too though: BULLSHIT stoppage
steampunk22- November 5, 2009 at 12:18 pm
Yeah there has been a strange absence of promo spots for this event imo as well. When I went to the CBS website it wasn't exactly on the front page. TSN (which has an admittedly mediocre MMA section) hasn't even mentioned the fight PERIOD. ESPN seems to have a fairly even mix of Strikeforce and UFC news over the past few days, but still, a pretty low key marketting effort from what I've seen.

^^^831 Son, agreed, no way is this the best card all year, shit there aren't even any belts on the line. Which is actually kind of funny because it seems some people are under the impression that this is a heavyweight championship fight or something.

UFC 100 was better than this card, people forget what a sick lineup that was. Lesnar/Mir, Pierre/Alves, Hendo wrecking Bisping, Jon Jones on the undercard, Akiyama squeaking out a decision against Belcher.

I'll be tuning in for Fedor, Shields, and the EA MMA game preview. Thats it.

Strikeforce has potential here but they've squandered some of it. They should've told Overeem to fuck off, put the belt on the line, and had Mousasi defend his title. His first fight after winning the title is an exhibition match against an underdog? Are you kidding me?
831 Son- November 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm
Okay I wouldnt call it the best card in MMA all year One Two just because our boy Fedor is fighting in the states. But indeed, MMA is sick as fuck and anyone in their right mind will watch this for free. But I still havent seen one fucking ad for this event on TV so I dont know how many people are going to tune in. Either way, I got Fedor, Mousasi, Mayhem, Werdum.

I have a feeling though that UFC 105 on Spike is going to be more exciting, entertaining and bring in just as many people or more than this strikeforce event. 105 in 9 days people, and 106 is only like a week after that so this month has got alot of matchups.
Lunk- November 5, 2009 at 11:56 am
@Soda Popinski -
I have $400 riding on the Fedor/Rogers fight and I also have a Taylor Swift poster on my ceiling. And if I had any friends Im sure they would feel the same way.
So I guess that just blows your logic out the window right away, doesnt it?
bleve- November 5, 2009 at 11:55 am
I don't think this show will reach Kimbo's numbers but I don't think that's a sign of anything. If Fedor wins in a dominant fashion, I think it will capture the imagination of the casual and new viewers... to see an average looking man dominate a beast is a thrill and gets people questioning rules, techniques, backgrounds, etc.

Coker's a smart business man, the Shaw's were, well, the Shaws. I think him and his partners have this a lot more thought out than people give them credit for.

And if Rogers loses, he's still marketable as hell, people are acting as if he loses he'll never be heard of again.
Swedish- November 5, 2009 at 11:48 am
This show will do lousy.

Fedor and the Grim is not even close to having the Kimbo drawing power. Very sad but true.

SF has zero fight footage of Fedor, what casual fan will get amped up by seeing a pudgy, pale russian train?

One Two- November 5, 2009 at 11:24 am
Theres not a self respecting guy alive that won't watch this if there flipping through the channels MMA is fucking Awesome and this is the best card all year.
Sakuraba3900- November 5, 2009 at 11:15 am
i wonder how it feels to get your ear popped... not too good im thinking
K.E.G.- November 5, 2009 at 11:13 am
That fight is fucking entertaining, I don't care what anyone says. That being said I thing the upcoming main event is going to end more brutal. Should be a first for network television.
steampunk22- November 5, 2009 at 11:12 am
Strikeforce would do well to limit their shows and not suffer from over exposure and injury delays like the UFC. They don't have the stable to have shows even once a month imo so they're in a tricky spot.

I also think they are in trouble if (when) Fedor wins, as MMA pundits and hardcore fans will be happy to see Fedor reign supreme, but Strikeforce loses their infinitely more marketable Brett Rogers American Dream Rags to Riches story and are left with a quiet Russian who goes to Orthodox church and lets another man whip him with tree branches. I don't know if I want to just come out and say that this card is really do or die for Strikeforce, but I am sort of starting to think so. And I still think the decision to have Mousasi not defend his title is sort of a cop out.

If they do big numbers though, and the advertisers like what they see, Coker and Co get the financial leverage to start expanding more and bringing in some larger names that are at odds with certain other MMA organizations.

I think the problem though is that Strikeforce IS serious about being in the MMA business, some of its key fighters are the ones who are not. Overeem, Le, Mousasi will jump to the UFC in no time, Fedor is only in it for co-promo. If they can turn in a good show, maybe they will be able to lockdown their own talent a little tighter. But hey, what the fuck do I know. lol Cp rulez.
Soda Popinski- November 5, 2009 at 11:10 am
programming for other networks at the time of the Strikeforce event:

NBC: Mercy followed by Law and Order followed by SNL (featuring Taylor Swift)

Winner= Strikeforce. In all truth, I think the SNL could be big because of Taylor Swift, but I think those that are tuning in for her would have never chose Fedor vs Rogers anyways.

ABC: College football.

Winner=Now this could make things interesting. Im gonna go with ABC on this one. Obviously territory will play a big part in it, but people love them some Football.

FOX: Cops followed by America's Most Wanted

Winner= Strikeforce no questions asked. You know why too. The people who spend their weekends watching Cops and America's Most Wanted will see the Strikeforce event as a little piece of heaven here on earth.

Strikeforce for the weekend win!

omunto- November 5, 2009 at 11:08 am
I dont watch a ton of TV but I haven't seen many tv spots on CBS talking about this. Which is like the exact opposite from the Spike TV UFC formula where you have to see 2 commercials every break.