Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers Will Be Televised on CBS

Fedor EmelianenkoThe biggest MMA fight ever to be broadcast on network television will take place on November 7 on CBS, as the previously announced bout between Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers for the generally recognized heavyweight championship of mixed martial arts will broadcast on CBS, not on Showtime.




A source with knowledge of the discussions confirmed the booking to FanHouse after it was first reported by MMA Weekly. No venue for the fight has been announced yet.

The decision to broadcast the fight on CBS represents an aggressive move by the network to push its MMA programming, and is a major coup for Strikeforce and M-1 Global, which are co-promoting the fight. It also represents the strongest statement yet that Strikeforce and M-1 Global are working hard to establish themselves as the biggest promotion in MMA, and not just the No. 2 promotion to the UFC.

CBS has shown MMA in the past, with three EliteXC fight cards airing on the network in 2008. But the presence of Fedor makes the November 7 card a very different animal. EliteXC bouts consisted of second-tier fighters, but Fedor is widely regarded as the best fighter in the history of mixed martial arts, and hard-core MMA fans will consider Fedor vs. Rogers -- and not Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin at UFC 106, November's true MMA heavyweight title fight.

Still, the CBS/Showtime/Strikeforce/M-1 partnership has a long, long way to go before it can be considered a legitimate threat to the UFC. The UFC brand name is the gold standard in MMA, and that won't change any time soon -- even though a heavyweight title fight on network television is an awfully big move by the competition.

UPDATE: CBS released a statement from Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, Prime Time, CBS Television, saying, "There's no question this is a sport that is fast becoming a force in popularity and as a business. 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 Number One heavyweight on the most-watched network has a very nice ring to it."

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker added, "It is an honor to have the opportunity to bring the Strikeforce brand to CBS. We are looking forward to bringing MMA back to the network and to having the world's No. 1 heavyweight - Fedor - compete for the first time on live network television against one of America's most promising young, undefeated stars - Brett Rogers."

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