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CBS wants more MMA sooner rather than later

Dave Meltzer has a new Yahoo! column that serves as a breakdown of controversial calls made by referees during recent events.

However, when talking about the Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith fight from EliteXC: Primetime several weeks ago, Meltzer writes the following:

Elite XC promoter Gary Shaw confirmed Monday that he was planning on rematching Lawler and Smith, who were having the most exciting match on the show before the stoppage. If the next CBS show is in the fall, the fight would likely take place on the network. Shaw said the date of the next CBS card is expected to be finalized this week in a joint decision with CBS. Due to the success of the first show, CBS wants to have a return date in late July to capitalize on the momentum. Shaw feels Lawler and Smith wouldn’t be ready for a July date, nor would Slice.

During yesterday’s conference call, IFL CEO and President Jay Larkin gave some indications that CBS might have been squared off by some of the public criticism regarding the first EliteXC show on its network. However, Meltzer’s column in some ways contradicts his statements.

The fact that CBS wants MMA back on its airwaves sooner rather than later is a good sign for the growth of the sport, but timing is everything and July is not the time for a major EliteXC show. Without Kimbo Slice, Frank Shamrock, or a Smith vs.  Lawler headlining the event, CBS and EliteXC will run the risk of putting on a show that could bomb in the ratings.

Nobody wants to disappoint a major media partner, and if a gun was held to EliteXC could probably throw a card together using Jake Shields and Antonio Silva as featured players. But who would they fight? As of now, Drew Fickett is scheduled to fight Ryan Ford for the vacant MFC welterweight title on July 25 in Canada.

EliteXC has a bit of a problem. They have two major media partners in CBS and SHOWTIME. It’s a good problem to have but the beasts need to be fed. And as of today, the promotion doesn’t have a large enough roster to satisfy demands. Unless the company scores some major financing, they aren’t going to be in a position to recruit a sizable quantity of new fighters.