The CBS Television Network will return to the mixed martial arts (MMA) cage with STRIKEFORCE: FEDOR VS. ROGERS, to be broadcast Saturday, Nov. 7 (9:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT). SHOWTIME Sports will produce the four-fight event with host Gus Johnson calling the action and MMA legend Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo serving as color analysts.
In 2008, CBS aired the first live MMA fights on network television, with three successful events earning time period-winning ratings in all key young adult and young men demographics. CBS’s most recent broadcast in October 2008 ranked as the night’s highest-rated program on both broadcast and cable in adults 18-34 and men 18-34, topping all other sports programming in those demographics, including the Major League Baseball playoffs and college football.
On Nov. 7, the world’s Number One-ranked MMA heavyweight fighter, Fedor Emelianenko of Russia, will face undefeated American Brett Rogers of Minnesota in the marquee match up. The fight marks the first bout for the highly coveted Emelianenko since his promotional company M-1 Global signed an agreement with STRIKEFORCE to co-promote major events.
“There’s no question this is a sport that is fast becoming a force in popularity and as a business,” said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, Prime Time, CBS Television. “We’re excited to be the platform that will enable millions more to see the athlete regarded as the very best in his sport. The Number One heavyweight on the most-watched network has a very nice ring to it.”
Simply referred to as “Fedor” by fans around the world, the 6-foot, 235-pound Russian is one of the most dominant fighters in the sport. He is a master of the Russian military combat system Sambo and boasts a record of 30 wins, one loss, no draws with 16 wins by submission, seven knockouts and seven decisions. The 28-year-old Rogers (10-0) is a massive physical specimen standing 6-feet, 5-inches tall and weighing 265 pounds. He possesses two of the heaviest hands in the sport of MMA, an attribute that has helped him knock out all 10 of his professional opponents.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to bring the STRIKEFORCE brand to CBS,” said Scott Coker, Founder and CEO of STRIKEFORCE. “We are looking forward to bringing MMA back to the network and to having the world’s No. 1 heavyweight-Fedor-compete for the first time on live network television against one of America’s most promising young, undefeated stars-Brett Rogers.”
STRIKEFORCE has experienced significant growth since it launched its first MMA promotion on March 10, 2006. After signing a landmark deal to air live events on SHOWTIME earlier this year, STRIKEFORCE earned the premium network its highest MMA rating ever on August 15 with Carano vs. Cyborg. Shortly before the live telecast, the main event principals-Gina Carano and Cris “Cyborg” Santos-were the most searched terms on Yahoo! and Google, while the fight was the most discussed subject on Twitter.
Editor’s Note: The location of the Fedor vs. Rogers event has not yet been announced. One place it will not be is in Strikeforce’s home town of San Jose at the Shark Tank. The Sharks have a hockey game scheduled at home on Nov. 7.
STRIKEFORCE (www.strikeforce.com ) is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, STRIKEFORCE has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.” In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of STRIKEFORCE, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.
About M-1 Global
M-1 Global (www.m-1global.com ) has been one of the leading Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) organizations in the world for over a decade. M-1 has promoted over 150 shows worldwide since 1995. Billed as the “World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts,” the M-1 Challenge is a full season of MMA events that showcases some of the best up and coming MMA fighters in the world. Broadcast to over 90 countries around the world, including HDNet in the United States, the M-1 Challenge pits teams of five fighters representing their respective countries against each other for international bragging rights and the title of M-1 Challenge Champions. Fighters who succeed on the M-1 Challenge’s international breeding ground will earn the opportunity to participate in major MMA events presented by M-1 Global and their promotional partners such as STRIKEFORCE.