You either loved the show or you hated it. And the heads of the UFC and IFL are no different.
Following the EliteXC "Saturday Night Fights" event on CBS, ESPN invited UFC President Dana White to "SportsCenter" to answer the question: Is mixed martial arts appropriate for broadcast television?
Of course White defended the sport citing the high intelligence and athleticism of the average MMA competitor, but also pointed out that "last night what happened on CBS was horrendous."
On the other hand, IFL CEO Jay Larkin, a longtime executive with Showtime, had nothing but good things to say about Saturday's big event. Larkin released a statement Monday, which was probably partially to reassure investors of the MMA league:
"Saturday's ratings success of ProElite's show on CBS again shows that the market for the sport in the mainstream is growing, and we at the the International Fight League are very excited to be one of the industry leaders that can help grow the sport of Mixed Martial Arts collectively.
"We look forward to continuing our work both independently with our great roster of young, marketable athletes, and with other promotions, to help make exciting fights and encourage further growth of the sport to a larger audience."
EliteXC's "Saturday Night Fights" was a ratings success for CBS. Preliminary Nielsen live plus same-day ratings, which doesn't even include the Kimbo Slice-James Thompson main event (the fight went past the two-hour timeslot), put CBS first place in adults ages 25-54, 18-49 and 18-34.