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MMA on Stage: Strikeforce/NBC Official & Redbelt’s Debut Date

(Cung Le to appear on The Peacock soon.)

MMA continues to penetrate the media, what with “Iron Ring” on BET, Spike TV’s UFC broadcasts, CBS agreeing to air EliteXC shows, Frankie on Kimmel tomorrow, and now the official announcement of the NBC/Strikeforce marriage. We dropped details for it a while back, but now the official announcement has been made.

From the press release:

In a major step for the fastest-growing sport around the globe, NBC has partnered with world championship promotion company Strikeforce to be the first to premiere a weekly mixed martial arts cage fight series on broadcast television. “Strikeforce on NBC” will premiere the night of April 12 from 2-2:30 a.m. ET on NBC.

“Strikeforce on NBC” will air immediately following NBC’s hit poker tournament series, “Poker After Dark” (1-2 a.m. ET/check local listings), the core audience of which — 18-34 year old males — matches that of mixed martial arts.

Each episode of the hard-hitting series will feature Strikeforce mixed martial arts fights and highlights as well as fighter profiles. Mixed martial arts pits fighters skilled in a wide array of combat disciplines against each other inside a caged-in ring. Popular disciplines include boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and judo, among others. The premiere Strikeforce episode will feature superstar Cung Le vs. Brian Warren, Duane “Bang” Ludwig vs. Tony “The Freak” as well as a profile on Le, recognized as one of the most dynamic competitors in the sport.

While it’s annoying that they kept typing out “mixed martial arts” as opposed to just going with “MMA”, this is still a forward motion for the sport and we’ll applaud that. However, here’s something NBC-related from an IFL press release that makes the applause stop cold:

…twins Jim and Bill Germanakos, the most recent winners of NBC’s hit show “The Biggest Loser,” will host the IFL weigh-in next Thursday, April 3, at 3 p.m. at L.A. Boxing in Secaucus, N.J., and give tips to the athletes trying to make weight for the IFL “New Blood, New Battles” show at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. The fights will take place on Friday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m.

“These athletes are in unbelievable shape, but if there are any quick tips that we can help them with to shed a few ounces as they hit their desired weight, it will be our pleasure,” Bill Germanakos said. “The sport of Mixed Martial Arts is a great base for training and weight loss since it involves so many aspects of conditioning, including strength and flexibility and self discipline, so this will be fun for us as we continue to spread our message of healthy lifestyle to a larger audience.” All information for Jim and Bill can be found at

Dear God. Speechless…

Let’s quickly switch to the big screen, where the sad reality is when it comes to a movie with MMA themes — we are instantly skeptical. With good reason, too, considering the outsider’s perception of the sport. But like all the boxing films before them, MMA movies are going to start pouring out of Hollywood. Let’s just hope there will be a Rocky for every Great White Hype.

So we know the UFC might be getting into the movie game, although those flicks might not always be MMA-related. But if you’re looking for MMA-themed entertainment, “Redbelt” is the next flick to roll out. The movie is set to premiere at the respected Tribeca Film Festival in conjunction with the ESPN Sports Film portion of the fest, according to a recent Variety article. The date is slated for April 25th. We’ve mentioned pieces of the plot in the past, but here’s what the article says about it:

The pic stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as a Jujitsu teacher in Los Angeles who runs his training studio by the samurai code until greed and corruption threaten his survival.

Umm…okay, then. The flick is written and directed by David Mamet, who looks like the product of a frolic between two Leonards — Nimoy and Maltin. Although he’s a long-winded dialogue dude, Mamet’s involvement gives us some hope that it won’t be like — oh, say, a certain weak “Karate Kid” rehash. Mamet said about the film that he is “a fan of both the fight film and the samurai film. ‘Redbelt’ is my homage to both.” We…will…see.

If your interest is piqued, here’s the latest trailer for the flick. Watch it and get psyched — or pissed, depending on your feeling for the movie — and notice how Randy gets no speaking line love.

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