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|Strikeforce announces CBS deal, Emelianenko vs. Rogers airs Nov. 7 on network TV|
After months of speculation, Strikeforce today announced it has officially struck a deal with CBS and will begin airing some of its events on the U.S. network.
The first show to air on CBS will feature the long-awaited Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers heavyweight fight, which is slated for Saturday, Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Showtime Sports will produce a four-fight main card with a broadcasting team of Gus Johnson, Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo.
Strikeforce executive Mike Afromowitz today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) a location and venue have not been determined for the event but should be announced in the next few days.
Additionally, he said Emelianenko vs. Rogers currently is the only fight officially booked for the show.
CBS and Strikeforce's other broadcast partner, Showtime, are both part of the same ownership group. Terms of the CBS-Strikeforce deal were not disclosed.
CBS became the first major U.S. network to televise live mixed martial arts events in 2008, but its deal with EliteXC ended when the promotion collapsed under mounting financial pressures later in the year.
"There's no question this is a sport that is fast becoming a force in popularity and as a business," stated 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 No. 1 heavyweight on the most-watched network has a very nice ring to it."
Emelianenko, widely regarded as the sport's top heavyweight fighter, signed a three-fight deal with Strikeforce in August. The former longtime PRIDE champion now enters the organization with a 26-fight win streak (with 20 stoppages), including victories over former UFC champions Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia in his two most recent bouts. He had been slated to fight Josh Barnett at "Affliction: Trilogy," but Barnett was denied a license due to a failed drug test, and the Aug. 1 event was scrapped altogether a few days later.
Rogers, meanwhile, enters the contest with a perfect 10-0 record with 10 stoppages. In fact, only one opponent (Abongo Humphrey) lasted more than a round with the Minnesota-based fighter. Most recently, Rogers, who had campaigned for Barnett's slot before the "Trilogy" event was ultimately canceled, scored a stunning 22-second knockout win over former UFC champ Arlovski at a June Strikeforce event in St. Louis.