SHOWTIME to Televise Mixed Martial Arts Events
New MMA Organization Pro Elite, Inc. Goes Head-to-Head With Ultimate
NEW YORK, Nov. 13 -- In a landmark deal for premium
television, Showtime Networks Inc. has partnered with Pro Elite, Inc. to
televise live mixed martial arts (MMA) events on SHOWTIME beginning in
2007, it was announced today by Ken Hershman, Senior Vice President and
General Manager of Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks.
The first event will air live on SHOWTIME on February 10, 2007, with
additional events airing on the premium television network through 2009.
All MMA events on SHOWTIME will be televised in high-definition.
Pro Elite, Inc. is headed by an impressive team of successful
entertainment producers, event promoters and new media/internet
visionaries. CEO and entertainment executive, Douglas DeLuca (Jimmy Kimmel
Live, The Man Show), and the President of the live event division, Gary
Shaw, will promote the televised events with Rumble World Entertainment's
President and CEO Jay Dee Penn , a black-belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a
veteran promoter in the field of mixed martial arts.
Mixed martial arts is a sport evolved from a number of ancient combat
disciplines including Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Wrestling and Kickboxing. A
competition unlike any other, world-class athletes engage in hand-to-hand
combat in a ring-both caged and traditional-and must adapt their fighting
style to fit their opponent. The wide variety of styles and techniques make
every event an unpredictable and exciting spectacle.
The intense nature of the contests and the theatrical elements that
accompany the live experience have made MMA one of the fastest growing
spectator sports in the U.S. In the past three years, the genre has seen
exponential growth in popularity, particularly from the coveted male 18-34
demographic. MMA is sanctioned as a sport in more than 20 states with
others expected to soon follow.
"Having seen the great success of Ultimate Fighting Championship on
basic cable and pay-per-view, we knew that this programming held great
potential for Showtime," said Hershman. "MMA is a global phenomenon that is
impossible to ignore. This will be the perfect complement to our boxing
franchise and we are proud to be the first premium network to embrace it.
We can't wait to deliver these action-packed events to our subscribers."
"I've been in and around the boxing business for a long time," said
Shaw, who will oversee Pro Elite's live event promotions. "The energy and
the excitement that mixed martial arts events generate throughout the
country and on television are astounding. Personally, and on behalf of Pro
Elite, I am thrilled to be entering this sport with the exceptional team of
professionals at Showtime."
DeLuca has an extremely diverse background encompassing over sixteen
years of experience producing feature films, television series and special
events around the world including ABC's hit late night program Jimmy Kimmel
Live and hit reality show The Mole. Shaw, in addition to his role at Pro
Elite, is also the president and CEO of Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, one of
the country's leading boxing promotion companies. Formerly, Shaw was the
Chief Inspector for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Commission and a
member of the commission's board, and the Chief Operating Officer of Main
Events, another boxing promotional company.
"MMA is the sport for a new generation," added DeLuca. "The
participants in MMA are some of the most dedicated and skilled athletes in
the world. Our aim is to shape and nurture the core values of extreme
martial arts and deliver it on multiple platforms to the fans and the
athletes alike. Partnering with Showtime, a true leader in televised
boxing, is an ideal situation for Pro Elite and all of MMA. Together, we
will help this sport flourish and grow."
"Rumble World Entertainment is a family owned and operated business,"
said Penn, a lifelong martial artist. "And we've seen our events and MMA in
general grow like wildfire over the past few years. Our team has been
committed to identifying and partnering with the right company and
television network to turn our dream into a reality. Today, we have truly
realized that dream."
Chairman of the Board for Pro Elite, David Marshall, who is also
Founder and Vice Chairman of Youbet.com (Nasdaq: UBET), one of the largest
providers of technology and pari-mutuel horse racing content for sports
enthusiasts through Internet and telephone wagering platforms, and also one
of the largest broadcasters of live audio and video on the Internet,
stated: "Mixed martial arts is not only the fastest growing spectator sport
in the world, but also has perhaps the most passionate fans. This unique
partnership with Showtime will revolutionize the sport by providing fans
with enormous interactive benefits while creating the leading destination
for Mixed Martial Arts on television."
Showtime Networks Inc.
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS
Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME(R),
THE MOVIE CHANNEL(TM) and FLIX(R), as well as the multiplex channels
SHOWTIME(R) TOO(TM), SHOWTIME(R) SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME(R), SHOWTIME
BEYOND(R), SHOWTIME NEXT(R), SHOWTIME WOMEN(R), SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE(R) and
TMC XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD(TM),
SHOWTIME ON DEMAND(TM) and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND(TM). SNI is also an
owner and manager of SUNDANCE CHANNEL, a venture of NBC Universal, Robert
Redford and SNI. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture
between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. All SNI feeds provide enhanced
sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and
entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis
through SHOWTIME(R) PPV.
Pro Elite, Inc. (http://www.proeliteinc.com)
Pro Elite, Inc. is an entertainment and media company dedicated to
producing world-class sports events and specialized Internet content. Pro
Elite Inc. is creating a leading Internet destination for sports fans,
athletes, and dojos to foster the growth of the core principles of
competition -- Pride, Spirit, and Sportsmanship.
Rumble World Entertainment
Rumble World Entertainment (RWE), a Hawaii-based entertainment company,
has a long history of staging MMA events. With a committed staff of
MMA-industry insiders, RWE has taken its live MMA series, Rumble on the
Rock, from a small Hilo-based show to a globally recognized brand in just
three years. RWE, which premiered Rumble on the Rock in Dec. 2002, has
distributed events in 90 countries including Japan and U.S. pay-per-view as
well as released a number of events on DVD.
SOURCE Showtime Networks Inc.