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Strikeforce ‘Nashville’ Fallout: Overnight Ratings A ‘Disaster’

Following last night’s nationally televised in-cage mayhem everyone was asking how it would affect Strikeforce’s relationship with CBS? Would CBS give MMA another shot on their network?

Well, the good news is CBS VP Kelly Kahl doesn’t think the brawl will be an issue.

“I don’t think [the brawl is] going to be an issue because I don’t think it’s going to happen again, or at least I hope it’s not,” said CBS programming vice president Kelly Kahl. “It’s not what the sport needs. Things get out of control at times in every sport.”

The bad news is the Strikeforce “Nashville” overnight ratings are nearly identical to the overnights for EliteXC’s second CBS show. While those numbers weren’t necessarily a “disaster” then, The Wrestling Observer (Dave Meltzer) is calling them a “disaster” now. From Marc Berman via TVByTheNumbers:

Over at CBS, a repeat of NCIS: Los Angeles (Viewers: #2, 3.58 million; A18-49: #3, 0.6/ 2 at 8 p.m.) led into the latest edition of ongoing sports special CBS Strike Force Saturday Night Fights, which had no punch at a mere 2.63 million viewers and a 1.0/ 3 among adults 18-49 from 9-11 p.m. Take a look at the half-hour breakdown:

CBS Strike Force Saturday Night Fights
9:00 p.m. – Viewers: 2.57 million (#4), A18-49: 0.8/ 3 (#4)
9:30 p.m. – Viewers: 2.55 million (#4), A18-49: 1.0/ 3 (#4)
10:00 p.m. – Viewers: 2.89 million (#3), A18-49: 1.2/ 4 (#2)
10:30 p.m. – Viewers: 2.52 million (#3), A18-49: 1.0/ 3 (#2)

The final numbers which will include the 45-minute overrun will be out later this week.

Besides the performances Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez and King Mo turned in, there really isn’t anything good to say about last night’s event. For the most part the fights were pretty boring, or at least tedious to watch in the championship rounds, the brawl was embarrassing and the ratings blew. In other words, unless Strikeforce gets Fedor Emelianenko and/or Gina Carano back there’s no good reason to feel optimistic about Strikeforce’s future on CBS.

No final decision has been made one way or the other yet. As Kahl told Sherdog, “We do the same thing we do after every show. We review it. We have a discussion. We look at the ratings and we assess.”

Image via courtesy of Keith Mills

Other Post-Fight Notes

— Scott Coker is still trying to figure out what exactly transpired between Mayhem Miller, Jake Shields and the rest of the Cesar Gracie camp, but made it clear this is not something Strikeforce condones or will tolerate.

“There’s no room in Strikeforce for that type of behavior. I will not condone and reward that type of behavior. If you’re a fighter fighting at the highest level, and you’re fighting on CBS, you’re fighting on Showtime, you’re fighting for Strikeforce – or any other mixed martial arts league – there’s no room for that type of behavior…This is not something that we’ll support or reward in the future…I didn’t see it. I don’t know how [Miller] got in there. But when you have the cornermen that Jake has, and something like that happens, you know there’s going to be an issue. I don’t know why he couldn’t have thought that out because I could have told you that prior to them (brawling) that we should have kept them apart…I had no idea that [Miller] was going to do that. … I can say this: no one from my staff brought him there…I’m going to look at the video and see what happened. I don’t have enough information right now, but it’s not good for our sport. Our sport is in its infant stages. It’s a great sport. These guys are amazing athletes.”

— Herschel Walker says he has one more fight left in him.

“I’m going to fight one more. Right now, I’m getting ready to get back into [American Kickboxing Academy] and do one more fight…I’d definitely like to do it before the end of the year. It’s not like I’m a young, spring chicken here.”

Neither Strikeforce nor Jake Shields is saying much about his contract situation. Although Shields has one more fight on his contract, it expires soon which will make him a free agent. Jake says he’s going to take a week, leave the country, hit the beach and relax. When he returns he’ll worry about what’s next.

“I just want to take some time off, leave the country, and enjoy myself. We’ll talk about that next week. My management team will talk to Strikeforce. We’ll see what happens.”

Coker plans to sit down with Jake’s management next week, but did throw Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza out there as a potential opponent if Jake re-signs.

— Jake Shields thinks he could be competitive against some of the guys at light heavyweight.

“I feel stronger, I feel like I’m good at 185. But I feel I can do both still. Why pick one? Maybe I’ll fight 205, too. I’m not saying I’d be the best at 205, but I think I can beat some of these guys that are there. Maybe Tito Ortiz would want to fight me.”

I see no good reason to find out. Stick with 170 and 185, Jake.

— New Strikeforce light heavyweight champion King Mo may compete alongside the man he just took the belt from, Gegard Mousasi, in the DREAM Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Nothing is set, but Scott Coker was at least open to the possibility.

“That’s really up to Mo. I think it was offered to Mo, and that’s definitely something we’ll have a conversation about later. I know the DREAM tournament starts in May, and we’ll talk about it.”

King Mo seems open to it as well, but only if DREAM pays him on time.

MMA Fighting is reporting that Strikeforce is leaning towards booking Scott Smith vs. Cung Le II for their June 26 show in San Jose.

— All post-fight brawl reactions from those involved can be seen here. To make a long story short, Mayhem says he had no intention of starting a riot in the cage, he was just trying to show his face and hype up a rematch. Meanwhile, the Cesar Gracie boys claim they were merely trying to get Shields’ back. He just fought 25 minutes in the cage, it was his spotlight, and if anyone was going to fight at that point it would be them. Everyone involved apologized.

— One final note: Holy shit, Hendo lost! While everyone around the internet is bagging on Dan Henderson for looking old and tired last night, Fightlinker would like to point out that Hendo only missed another Bisping moment by one inch. What would everyone be saying about him today if he connected?

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