BURBANK, Calif. - In a major step for the fastest-growing sport around the globe, NBC has partnered with world championship promotion company Strikeforce to be the first to premiere a weekly mixed martial arts cage fight series on broadcast television.
"Strikeforce on NBC" will premiere the night of April 12 from 2-2:30 a.m. ET/PT on NBC.
The announcement was made by Jerry Petry, Executive Vice President, NBC Universal Television.
"Mixed martial arts has exploded onto the sports scene. Its athletes are tremendous competitors and the sport is one of the fastest growing in the world," said Petry. "As a leader in this arena, Strikeforce will be able to deliver some of the finest and most intense action ever seen on broadcast TV."
"It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to bring the Strikeforce mixed martial arts product to one of the longest-standing and most well-respected national television platforms," said Strikeforce Chief Executive Officer Scott Coker.
"NBC has a history of popular late Saturday TV and in the 80's NBC's 'Saturday Night's Main Event' show helped catapult the popularity of professional wrestling. Strikeforce is looking to follow in suit and establish a legacy of its own on the network."
"Strikeforce on NBC" will air immediately following NBC’s hit poker tournament series, "Poker After Dark" (1-2 a.m. ET/check local listings), the core audience of which -- 18-34 year old males -- matches that of mixed martial arts.
Each episode of the hard-hitting series will feature Strikeforce mixed martial arts fights and highlights as well as fighter profiles. Mixed martial arts pits fighters skilled in a wide array of combat disciplines against each other inside a caged-in ring.
Popular disciplines include boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and judo, among others. The premiere Strikeforce episode will feature superstar Cung Le vs. Brian Warren, Duane "Bang" Ludwig vs. Tony "The Freak" as well as a profile on Le, recognized as one of the most dynamic competitors in the sport.
Strikeforce launched its mixed martial arts fight series on March 10, 2006 with "Shamrock vs. Gracie," the first sanctioned mixed martial arts event in California state history. The fight card attracted a sellout crowd of 18,265 to San Jose’s HP Pavilion and broke the all-time record for attendance at a mixed martial arts event in North America.
The series is being produced by Kevin Cusick of KC Productions in conjunction with Carr-Hughes Productions.
Video: MMA from NBC Sports
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