EliteXC’s second outing on primetime network television is coming together. Jake Shields had already been confirmed to fight on “Unfinished Business” for the EliteXC Welterweight Championship, but his opponent was still up in the air, at least until now. According to Dave Meltzer of Yahoo Sports, Nick Thompson has been brought in from the now defunct BodogFIGHT promotion to fight Shields in EliteXC’s thin welterweight division.
After months of trying, Elite XC once again attempts to crown a welterweight champion in a match featuring Jake Shields, who may be the best fighter on the company’s roster. He’ll face Nick “The Goat” Thompson on the July 26 combined CBS and Showtime card.
This title fight will be contested alongside the Scott Smith vs Robbie Lawler rematch for the middleweight title. There’s a possibility that EliteXC will hold a third title fight on the card, with a Nick Diaz and KJ Noons rematch for the lightweight belt or a heavyweight championship bout involving Antonio Silva as potential matches.
“Unfinished Business” is set to air on July 26 on CBS, with the first half of the card airing on Showtime prior to the CBS broadcast.
The show will air live from 9-11 p.m. Eastern on CBS with four or five fights, including either two or three five-round championship matches. The CBS show will directly follow either a 60 or 90 minute Showtime card. No venue has been finalized for the event, but with time of the essence, it is likely to be announced later this week.
While the card should be enough to satisfy the hardcore fan base, the card noticeably lacks any of the promotion’s top drawing stars, primarily Gina Carano and Kimbo Slice. CBS apparently recognizes this and doesn’t expect “Primetime” like numbers. In fact, it’s believed that the third show, expected to take place in October, will truly answer the questions of MMA’s growth and popularity independent of the UFC and EliteXC’s staying power.
“This is a test of how the sport of MMA can do on network TV,” said Elite XC matchmaker Jared Shaw. “It’s going to be the kind of show that will satisfy the hardcore fans.”
But with the pressure of drawing network ratings, CBS and Elite XC will have to be able to market the sport of MMA as the draw without any proven money players on the show. It’s a risky proposition in a business that has always been carried by main event star power.
Shaw believes the true make-or-break show that will answer the question of MMA long-term on CBS would likely be the third show in October when the company’s two big draws, Slice and Gina Carano, would likely return.
With Smith vs Lawler II, Shields vs Thompson, and possibly Diaz vs Noons II, EliteXC has done a tremendous job in putting together a quality card on short notice with limited resources. It’s definitely an event I’m beginning to get excited about.
The latest EliteXC on CBS “Unfinished Business” fight card and event info can be found in our fight cards section.