Bellator may not be the only MMA promotion shacking up with a major media conglomerate. According to CagePotato, Chuck Liddell’s appearance on Hawaii Five-O is a harbinger of CBS and ProElite jumping into the fray as well:
There’s a very good chance that CBS was using Chuck Liddell‘s appearance on Hawaii Five-O this week as a litmus test to gauge the popularity of the sport with its viewership to see if signing with a promotion would be in its best interest. Although the ratings aren’t back yet for the episode, the fact that CBS’s PR department was pushing the episode to the MMA media pretty hard the past few weeks means they wanted the show to do well and were making sure it did. It’s no coincidence that they prominently displayed the ProElite cage and logos throughout Chuck’s cameo on the show. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and it would have been just as easy for the show to cover up the PE logo or use a generic cage, so there’s a pretty good chance that the promotion is on the cusp of that deal with CBS we talked about a few months back. Now that all of the cards are down, we can probably expect an announcement in the following weeks that a deal that compliments ProElite’s newly announced broadcasting contract with HDNet is in place.
And here I was thinking CBS was just shilling MMA in an attempt to draw a less Polydent and incontinence pad centric demographic. CagePotato has been talking about this potential deal since August, and if it is true I kinda feel bad for everyone involved. I’m not the kind of person who’d predict failure before a deal is even announced – oh wait a second, yes I am. I give this speculative partnership a one Affliction out of five International Fight League chance of succeeding.
Just look at where they’re at now. ProElite is currently headlining events with Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski … something that would have been totally rad back in 2006 but kinda falls flat now. Sure, they’ve got one of the few non-idiot promoters in MMA (T Jay Thompson) as their front man. But there’s a huge difference between pulling off some shows without shitting the bed and running a full schedule of shows including broadcast television events.
The wild card here (and in the Bellator deal) is how much cash these stupid media executives are willing to throw into the flaming money pit that is MMA promotion. Thus far most of the television deals being made by second tier organizations have been so bad they led to the promotions’ inevitable demise. Will history repeat? Let’s just say I wouldn’t bet on ProElite and CBS being the partnership that breaks the cycle.