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CBS Keeping 'Options Open' In Light of Potential UFC Competition on April 17

With reports indicating that the UFC is looking to put on a show on the same night as the upcoming Strikeforce: Nashville event on April 17, Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President of CBS Television Primetime, told SiriusXM Fight Club Friday that the network will be monitoring the situation before even thinking about changing the date of their show.

"Well, we're certainly announced for that date but we'll keep our options open," Kahl said. "We don't know anything definite yet about any counter-programming, so I'd say it's premature to do anything until we know definite plans."

Some have speculated that if the UFC decides to air a Spike TV Fight Night on April 17, CBS will move it's Strikeforce show to April 24, which just so happens to be the same night as the WEC 48 pay-per-view. However, one must remember that the Mikkel Kessler vs. Carl Froch World Boxing Classic fight, which airs on Showtime and is produced by the same crew that works on Strikeforce on CBS shows, is scheduled for April 24 in Denmark, as well.

"Again, we haven't sat down and we haven't really made a decision yet," Kahl said when asked if the boxing match might force CBS to keep the Strikeforce event on April 17. "We've kicked around a lot of ideas and it's just premature to speculate."

In the end, though, Kahl said the network will do what is in the best interest of their viewers.

"In choosing a date, you do what you think is best for your show. And that was the original thought on the 17th and really for any show we do. A lot of factors go into a decision, not just for a fight, for instance, but any show we put on CBS. We always try to put our product in kind of the most favorable light and try to give it the best chance to succeed

The long-time television executive, who is in charge of overseeing all of the CBS Primetime lineup, said he isn't surprised to hear that the UFC might be putting on a show on the same night as theirs.

"There hasn't been a show that we've done, back in the Elite days or even Affliction, that has gone unchallenged, so I don't think anybody is surprised here and, again, they're going to do what they're going to do and the chips fall where they may. It's a big boy sport, and again, these are the kinds of decisions we face every day," he said.

"At the end of the day, we're trying to put some really high quality MMA fights on free television for people to see and we want to help grow the sport. CBS isn't in this just to help grow the sport, we're trying to make a business out of it, but as the sport grows, the business grows for us."

The Strikeforce: Nashville card features Dan Henderson's organizational debut against Jake Shields for the 185-pound title on the line, as well as Gegard Mousasi vs. Muhammed Lawal for the light heavyweight title and Shinya Aoki vs. Gilbert Melendez for the lightweight title.

"No matter what happens with counter-programming or competition, we have one hell of a card here. Three championship fights, which I don't think any promotion has done for a long, long time and we've got, I think, five top-10 fighters in the world. This is the type of card that I think you would typically see on a pay-per-view."

(Editor's note:'s Ariel Helwani is a co-host on SiriusXM Fight Club. The show airs every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 2-4 PM ET on Sirius 126, XM 243.)

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