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Gus Johnson Will Be Getting Excited About Elite XC on May 31

Earlier this month Viacom honcho Sumner Redstone said that he thought his network, CBS, was making a mistake by showing Elite XC. That seemed odd since it had been on Showtime for a while, Viacom owns that as well, and even odder with today's news that Gus Johnson will be doing play by play for the partnership's May 31st debut.

Calling the NFL and, especially, NCAA basketball for CBS has made Johnson one of the most popular sports announcers in the country. His excitability and professionalism will add a lot to the broadcast and, as the company's press release notes, he's studied martial arts himself. One potential problem with the move of MMA into a more mainstream spotlight was the scoffing that usually comes when they pay attention. Johnson will help them avoid that fate.

He'll be joined on the broadcast by veteran fighter Frank Shamrock and Showtime's normal broadcasting team of Mauro Ranallo and Karen Bryant. The group, in total, gives the event its best chance for success. A half-baked announcing team would have problems selling it and would justify Redstone and other detractors who don't think MMA has a place on network television.

Now they just need eyes on the television, always a tough sell on a summer Saturday night, to make a real go of it.