CBS SPORTS' GUS JOHNSON TO SERVE AS PLAY-BY-PLAY ANNOUNCER FOR THE NEWLY ANNOUNCED BROADCAST TEAM FOR "CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS"
Johnson Will Be Joined Cageside by Analysts Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo, and Reporter Karyn Bryant
Inaugural Broadcast Live Saturday, May 31 on the CBS Television Network
LOS ANGELES, May 19 - CBS and ProElite, the parent company of EliteXC today announced that play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson, analysts Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo and cageside reporter Karyn Bryant will serve as the broadcast team for "CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS" on the CBS Television Network.
The CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS broadcast team will have the call for the inaugural primetime Network event to be broadcast live from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Saturday, May 31 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS.
"Gus Johnson delivers great energy and storytelling to every sports event he calls," said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime. "He along with Mauro, Frank and Karyn form a talented and experienced lineup of broadcasters, providing great personality, perspective and insight to the audience for the first MMA event on Network television."
"The expertise and knowledge of this diverse cast of announcers will not only excite and inform the hardcore fan, but will educate and entertain people tuning in to watch mixed martial arts for the very first time," said Douglas DeLuca, Executive Chairman of ProElite.
Gus Johnson, a practicing martial artist, has studied Kung Fu and boxing, and recently began studying Jiu-Jitsu. Johnson joined CBS Sports in 1995 as a play-by-play announcer for the CBS Television Network's coverage of college basketball, including the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. He called CBS Sports' HDTV broadcast of the 2000, 2001 and 2002 Final Four and Championship games. He also has provided play-by-play for the Network's NFL coverage since 1998. Johnson's credits at CBS Sports include play-by-play for college football, track and field, boxing, the Hambletonian, and bobsled and luge at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games. He serves as host of AT THE HALF�, CBS Sports' college basketball halftime studio show, and SPORTSDESK, CBS Sports' wraparound studio show. Johnson is also the radio voice of the NBA's New York Knicks and provides play-by-play for the Madison Square Garden Network's coverage of the WNBA's New York Liberty. He is an anchor and reporter for MSGN's "SportsDesk" and has provided commentary for that network's coverage of the New York City Golden Gloves Tournament. He also has served as host of "AT&T Yankees Scorecard" and New York Rangers and Knicks "GameNight." In addition, Johnson has called play-by-play for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, Big East Basketball on the Big East Network, college basketball on ESPN and the Canadian Football League on ESPN2. Prior to joining MSGN, he hosted "Black College Sports Today" on ESPN and was the weekend anchor for WTTG-TV Washington, D.C. (1991-92). Johnson graduated from Howard University with a degree in political science.
At 35, Frank Shamrock has cemented his place as a legend in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). After becoming the first UFC Middleweight Champion in history in 1997 by submitting 1992 Olympic Games wrestling gold medalist Kevin Jackson with an armbar in a then-record 16 seconds, Shamrock reached the pinnacle of his career by stopping "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Tito Ortiz in what is celebrated as one of the greatest martial arts battles of all-time. Other notable wins have come against some of the world's best MMA fighters including Bas Rutten, Enson Inoue, Jeremy Horn and Phil Baroni. Shamrock is widely recognized as the father of modern-day mixed martial arts, a pioneer who successfully blended the disciplines of wrestling, submissions and striking. Shamrock continues to compete regularly and boasts a dangerous versatility. He is a devout follower of traditional martial arts and grew up idolizing Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. He also grew up as a fan of Muhammad Ali. His favorite television show of all-time is "The Simpsons" and his taste in music is as eclectic as his fighting style, with Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Bach and Metallica listed as his favorites. Shamrock has appeared on television shows "Oz" and "Walker, Texas Ranger."
At the age of 16, colorful on-air personality Mauro Ranallo was discovered at high school by a pro-wrestling promoter and for the next three years, he became a weekly staple as a color commentator on All-Star Wrestling seen across Canada. At 17, he broke into radio and for the next 10 years he was a disc jockey while also calling hockey, football and basketball games on television. He has been the voice of Muay Thai on TSN, host of the legendary Stampede Wrestling television show in Calgary, and the play-by-play voice of "Pride Fighting Championships" pay-per-view telecasts from Japan. He currently serves as host and play-by-play announcer of EliteXC telecasts on SHOWTIME and Hardcore Championship Fighting on "The Score." Ranallo also hosts a radio show on Hardcore Sports Radio Sirius called "Fight Network Radio."
Karyn Bryant has been a part of the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING announce team of Steve Albert, Al Bernstein and Jim Gray since 2006. She began her television career as an MTV V.J. after graduating from Brown University with a double major in political science and sociology. Her additional television hosting credits include CNN's "Showbiz Tonight," "For The Love of Money: Reunion Special," "A Wedding Story Live," "Junkyard Wars," "Talk Back Live," "Name That Video," "Movies for Guys Who Like Movies," "Sliders," "Rough Cut," "Inside the Academy Awards," "Sound FX," "FX News," "Daily Video Programming," "Like We Care," "Awake on the Wild Side," "Superbowl Tailgate Party" and "Buzzcut." Bryant grew up in the suburbs of Boston and is a diehard Patriots and Red Sox fan. One of only a few women in history to be part of a regularly televised boxing series, Bryant credits her late father for cultivating her love of the fight game.
The following five primetime matchups are confirmed for the CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS on May 31.
�� Kimbo Slice vs. James "Colossus" Thompson (Heavyweights)
�� "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler vs. Scott "Hands of Steel" Smith (for EliteXC Middleweight
�� Gina "Conviction" Carano vs. Kaitlin Young (140 lb. weight class)
�� Phil Baroni vs. Joey Villasenor (Middleweights)
�� Brett "The Grim" Rogers vs. Jon Murphy (Heavyweights)
CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS will be produced by SHOWTIME Sports. The executive producer is David Dinkins, Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.
For more information on the first CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS, visit cbssports.com or ProElite.com
Five non-televised preliminary bouts for CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY
NIGHT FIGHTS will be streamed on the internet live and free at ProElite.com.