In a perfect world, Fedor Emelianenko would be the most popular MMA fighter alive and Kimbo Slice would be just another guy trying to make a name for himself.
But the fact of the matter is that Kimbo is probably a bigger draw than the guy most consider to be the best mixed martial artist of all-time, not to mention a guy who still happens to be in his prime.
That’s the prevailing thought in the MMA world considering that Fedor doesn’t put himself out there like Kimbo Slice does, doesn’t speak English well, and isn’t featured on Youtube beating down helpless townsfolk. But there’s still plenty of hope that Fedor’s network debut will be a big hit on America’s most watched network.
On November 7, CBS will broadcast in MMA’s (hopefully) triumphant return to television, and the network has already begun running ads during NFL games that tout “the best fighter in the world” coming to the network.
While the conservative estimate is that it won’t match Kimbo’s fight with James “The Colossus” Thompson’s May 31 TV record of 7.28 million viewers, exactly how well the Fedor fight card with Strikeforce will draw is up in the air. It should do fairly well if it continues to be promoted the right way, and there’s even a chance it could beat the record because MMA’s bigger post-UFC 100 overall fan base.
The official card has been announced with a four-pack of fights guaranteed to bring more quality MMA talent to network TV than ever before, with a Mayhem Miller-Jake Shields middleweight title bout, a showcase Gegard Mousasi-Sokoudjou light heavyweight bout, and an intriguing Antonio “Big Foot” Silva vs. Fabricio Werdum heavyweight fight all recently announced.
The hardcore MMA fans will obviously come out in droves to watch this one, and the casual fans could be hooked by Mayhem’s fight based on the success of his MTV show “Bully Beatdown.”
Mousasi is a phenomenal talent, but the truth is that not too many American fans know about him right now. He could become popular in a hurry if he dispatches Sokoudjou with the ease he did Babalu Sobral, however.
Brett Rogers also has marketing potential to the growing African American MMA fan base, and CBS would do well to market him in a commercial along with the Mayhem fight instead of to just keep working the Fedor ankle every time around.
The reality of the situation is that Strikeforce needs this to be a successful card, because they’ve made a huge investment in Fedor and they don’t enough depth to put on another card of this magnitude for at least another two to three months. And so do MMA fans, because more MMA is always a good thing and there’s too much talent out there for the UFC to remain the only stable league.
America seems ready for prime time MMA based on the stunning success of less than two weeks ago, and Strikeforce could take that momentum and run with it if they continue to market their product the right way.
After all, most men in America probably already watch a little too much football on the weekends.
Switching it up and watching a few guys pummel each other with no bothersome unnecessary roughness penalties or redundant sideline reporters makes for a nice change of pace if nothing else.
Don’t forget to check back with BetUS.com for odds as one of the most exciting nights in MMA draws near.