MMAterial Facts (02/25/10)

February 25, 2010

  • Strikeforce Confirms April 4/17 Event in Nashville
  • Strikeforce Airs in Canada and UK, Also Adds Interactive Verizon FiOS Functionality
  • HGH testing could be adopted
  • WEC  Enters “pivotal” stretch; DirecTV still unresolved
  • Stratus Media and ProElite Appoint New Chief Operating Officer William Kelly to Rejoin ProElite

Strikeforce Confirms April 4/17 Event in Nashville

Mixed martial arts fans have been anxiously awaiting word about what’s next for Strikeforce, which has been rumored to have another big card on CBS coming up in April. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed Thursday that Strikeforce will have a card in Nashville on April 17 but said fans will have to wait just a little bit longer for any details.

“We’ve been putting most of our efforts into the fight tomorrow night,” Coker said of the Strikeforce Challengers card on Friday in San Jose. “But we’ll have some announcements next week, for sure. … We will be having a fight in Nashville on April 17, but the rest of the information we’ll be announcing next week.

In addition to the fighters mentioned above, Coker mentioned Brett Rogers, who fought Fedor in November, and Shinya Aoki, the Japanese Dream lightweight champion who could battle Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez, as fighters he’s excited about getting into the Strikeforce cage soon.

“For Brett, I think the fights that make sense for him are Antonio Silva or Alistair Overeem — those are the two guys I’d like to see him fight right now,” Coker said. “I think you’ll see Aoki relatively soon. We’re working hard to try to make that happen.”

Coker also said he expects Strikeforce to have a pay-per-view card before 2010 is out. (MMAFighting)

Strikeforce Airs in Canada and UK, Also Adds Interactive Verizon FiOS Functionality

On the eve of its sixth Challengers event on Showtime, Strikeforce has announced a pair of media deals that continue to expand its global reach and multimedia offerings.

Canadian Sarah Kaufman face Japan’s Takayo Hashi in a main event battle for the first Strikeforce women’s welterweight (135-pound) championship. The fight will now be available in Kaufman’s home country on Super Channel, Canada’s only national pay television network.

Another interesting addition to Strikeforce’s multimedia offerings is being part of the new Showtime Sports Interactive offering. Part of Verizon’s FiOS TV, Showtime Sports Interactive will offer Strikeforce Challengers 6 at 11 p.m. ET on Friday night, which includes voting and polling functionality and fighter profiles. All FiOS TV customers with a high-definition set-top box who subscribe to Showtime will have access to the interactive experience. (MMAWeekly)

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Strikeforce Challengers VI Airs On Bravo In The UK

As part of Bravo TV’s recent deal with Strikeforce, more events than ever from the promotion will be available to air on the UK based station, including this weekend’s Strikeforce Challengers VI card.

The event, which airs live on Showtime on Friday night (26th February) in the U.S, will be shown in the UK two days later on Sunday night at 10pm.  (FightOfTheNight)

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Showtime Networks and Verizon announced today the launch of the first nationwide, high-definition interactive television application (iTV) using EBIF (Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format), with the new SHOWTIME Sports Interactive.  Verizon’s FiOS TV customers will have the first look at the network’s interactive experience – including voting and polling functionality and fighter profiles – during the live Strikeforce Challengers mixed martial arts telecast, Friday, Feb. 26 (11 p.m. ET).  All FiOS TV customers with a high-definition set-top box who subscribe to SHOWTIME will have access to the interactive experience.

“SHOWTIME has been leading the industry with digital enhancements and Interactive TV for over a decade.  With the launch of SHOWTIME Sports Interactive, we are excited to be joining Verizon at the forefront, bringing this state-of-the-art feature to SHOWTIME HD,” said Robert Hayes, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at Showtime Networks.  “SHOWTIME continues to innovate and provide value-added features to our subscribers and our sports programming provides the perfect setting for the ‘lean forward’ experience that is now possible with Interactive TV.”  (CNN Money) … (MMAPayout Perspective)

HGH testing could be adopted

The NFL this year told its players union of its interest in testing for HGH.

“Our position is that HGH blood testing has advanced to the point where we are taking steps to incorporate it into our program,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. “Blood work is part of our players’ annual physical. We do have mandatory blood testing already.”

A baseball authority has said Commissioner Bud Selig wants to have players blood tested for HGH, with the baseball expected to adopt a blood-testing program for minor league players this year in its effort to root out use of the substance that has been credited for building strength.

Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said he doesn’t “know where this leads,” after a dispute over blood testing led to the cancellation of next month’s scheduled Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight in Las Vegas.

“This is a pleasant development and something we’ll take great interest in,” Kizer said. (LA Times)

WEC  Enters “pivotal” stretch; DirecTV still unresolved

With strong ticket sales for March’s “WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz” event and a “booming” pre-sale for April’s blockbuster “WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber” card, Harris believes company records may soon be falling.

And while the promotion, along with the remainder of the Versus channel’s programming, remains on the outs with DirecTV and has met with some criticism for its choice to price WEC 48 as a $44.99 pay-per-view event, Harris says his company will deliver.

“With these next two cards, we’ve got our hands full,” Harris told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “Just like [our fighters] focus on their fights, we focus on our cards, and we’re excited. These next two events are pivotal events for us at WEC.”

“Last I heard, [Versus and DirecTV] are talking,” Dropick said. “I haven’t been told it would not happen, but I don’t have anything else besides that. As we’ve said in the past, we’re hopeful it’s going to happen.

“There’s certainly some quite intriguing programming coming up on Versus over the next month-and-a-half here with the WEC on March 6, the UFC on March 21, and the NHL playoffs start in April. We’re hopeful it happens soon.”  (MMAJunkie)

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WEC Exec: Attendance for Aldo-Faber PPV Could Exceed 15K

It has all the signs of a landmark moment, and World Extreme Cagefighting General Manager Reed Harris has done little to slow the hype machine.

Harris thinks WEC 48 “Aldo vs. Faber” on April 24 could draw more than 15,000 fans to the Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif. By comparison, the WEC’s most recent event in the Golden State’s capital city claimed an attendance of 10,027 last month.

“We had a record pre-sale,” Harris said during a Thursday teleconference. “Ticket sales are trending very well. I think there could be upwards of 15,000 or so there.”  (Sherdog) … (MMAPayout Perspective)

Stratus Media and ProElite Appoint New Chief Operating Officer William Kelly to Rejoin ProElite

Stratus Media Group, Inc., a live entertainment company, announced today that William Kelly has been appointed to the position of Chief Operating Officer of both Stratus Media Group and ProElite, Inc. Mr. Kelly previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer of ProElite from its inception until October 2008.

“I am very pleased to appoint William as Chief Operating Officer,” stated Paul Feller, President and CEO of Stratus, “Due to Stratus’ plans for rapid growth over the next year, we identified the need to hire a person of exceptional talent and experience as COO to manage the daily operations of both our existing companies and the integration of newly acquired companies and events. In addition to his experience at ProElite and his knowledge of the MMA business, Mr. Kelly’s background is an ideal fit for our requirements and we are happy to have such a valuable addition to our team.”

Mr. Kelly brings over two decades of entertainment and media operations and management experience to Stratus. Prior to ProElite, Mr. Kelly Co-founded Television Korea 24 Inc. (tvk24) in 2003, where he served as Chief Operating Officer. In 2001, Mr. Kelly joined the Extreme Sports Channel as Chief Operating Officer International…  (PRESS RELEASE)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

  • MMA Live 2-25-10: Highlights and analysis of UFC 110, as Cain Velasquez cements his status as a heavyweight contender. Also, Chael Sonnen checks in to discuss Frank Mir’s comments on Brock Lesnar.

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Bellator XIV - Chicago Theatre Poster

QUICK HITS

  • All fighters on weight at “Strikeforce Challengers VI: Kaufman vs. Hashi” weigh-in (MMAJunkie)
  • KAUFMAN PLANS TO BRING MORE GOLD TO CANADA (MMAWeekly)
  • “Countdown to UFC on Versus 1” airs March 6 after WEC 47 (MMAJunkie)
  • EliteXC champ Noons vs. Amade, Kikuno and Chonan added to DREAM.13 (MMAJunkie)
  • Fedor Emelianenko’s Next Fight Will Be in May (MMAFighting)
  • Amoussou Has Career as Undercover Cop (MMAFighting)
  • EliteXC “will be revived” (Fighters Only Magazine)
  • Analysis: Inside Zuffa’s Legal Win Over Shamrock (Sherdog)
  • KJ NOONS SLATED TO RETURN AT DREAM 13 (MMAWeekly)
  • Who’s the liar? White or Jackson? (Cage Writer)
  • Showtime, FiOS Launch Fancy New Interactive TV Application (Heavy)
  • Shine Fights announces third event “Worlds Collide: Mayorga vs. Thomas”  (FiveOuncesOfPain)
  • Frank Mir’s killer quote (ESPN)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Hari vs Bonjasky) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (02/26/10)
  • InsideMMA (Dominick Cruz, Alan Belcher and Karen Darabedyan) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (02/26/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents The Featherweights, Vol. 2, at 10 PM ET on HDNet (02/26/10)
  • Best of Pride FC at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (02/26/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Kaufman vs Hashi at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (02/26/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Challengers: Kaufman vs Hashi at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (02/26/10)
  • WEC 47: Bowles vs Cruz on at 10 PM ET on Versus (03/06/10)
  • HDNet Fights: Sengoku Raiden Championship 12 at TBD on HDNet (03/12/10)
  • HDNet Fights: XFC X-Night of Champions at 10 PM ET on HDNet (03/19/10)
  • UFC on Versus: Vera vs Jones at 10 PM ET on Versus (3/21/10)
  • HDNet Fights: King of the Cage – Legacy at 10 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs Mahe at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (03/26/10)
  • UFC 111: GSP vs Hardy at 10 PM ET on PPV (03/27/10)
  • UFN 21 : Florian vs Gomi at 10 PM ET on Spike (03/31/10)
  • The Ultimate Fighter 11 Debut after UFN 21 on Spike (03/31/10)

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