According a report by television reporter Michael Pope in Friday’s edition of the New York Post, CBS is re-thinking its current mixed martial arts programming plans.
Pope writes that CBS was “shocked” by how poorly its July 26 edition of “Saturday Night Fights” performed in the ratings following a strong debut on May 31.
Despite the poor results, the article indicates that CBS intends to remain committed to MMA in primetime. However, it’s uncertain whether that level of commitment will extend to its current content partner, EliteXC.
That’s because the Post is claiming that “rumors” have surfaced that CBS is once again involved in discussions with the UFC about signing a broadcast deal, one that would undoubtedly force EliteXC off the Tiffany network’s airwaves.
Pope does not indicate where these “rumors” are coming from and neither the UFC or CBS are quoted in the article. It should also be noted that the first set of talks between the UFC and CBS broke down last December in large part because CBS reportedly wanted an equity stake in the UFC and because the network was also unwilling to sacrifice control over the production of the proposed broadcasts. In order for a deal between the UFC and CBS to be agreed upon, one of the two parties would have to make major concessions in their demands.