Elite XC could be back on CBS in July

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While not finalized, Elite XC promoter Gary Shaw said that CBS is requesting his company's next two live specials for late July (believed to be July 26) and October.

Timing is of the essence in getting an arena booked and beginning local publicity for a show that is now only six weeks away.

That isn't the only obstacle to a potential July show, as neither of the big draws from the first card, Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano, will be available for this date. Slice suffered injuries to both thumbs in his match with James Thompson on May 31 and Carano asked for a fall date for her next match. Both are expected to be the headliners for an October show.

As things stand, plans are to build the show around the creation of both heavyweight and welterweight championships, as well as creating an October opponent for Carano in a fight where the promotion will create a woman's championship.

Shaw said they will be talking with Scott Smith over the weekend to see if he feels he can be ready for a late July date. If so, a rematch of the Robbie Lawler vs. Smith middleweight title match, which went to a no-contest when Smith was ruled unable to continue after an accidental eye poke, would be the main event.

A July show seems a major risk because so much of the mainstream talk leading into and coming out of the MMA debut on CBS, which drew a 3.0 rating and 4.85 million viewers on average, regarded Slice, real name Kevin Ferguson, who became a celebrity from backyard brawls on YouTube.

Without that hook, there is a major question of what kind of ratings drawing power the show will have, particularly in July when viewership levels are down, although pressure to draw a big number would also be down.

But without the name stars on a July card in a star-driven industry, one would expect the ratings to go down, which would make the October card the real barometer of where things look long-term.

Besides creating championships, the company's big goal is to tighten up the production and fit it into a two-hour block. The May 31 card ran two hours and 50 minutes.

But the current ideas, which if Lawler vs. Smith headlines would include three championship matches which could all go five rounds, means there is certainly a risk of going overtime.

Antonio "Junior" Silva, 10-1, will be one of the participants in the heavyweight title fight. Among the names being looked at as potential opponents are Brett Rogers, who knocked out Jon Murphy on the last CBS show in 1:01; the winner of the Dave "Pee Wee" Herman vs. Ron Waterman match Saturday night in Honolulu on Showtime; and Roy "Big Country"

Nelson, the International Fight League heavyweight champion. No deal has been made between Elite XC and the IFL.

IFL CEO Jay Larkin, at a news conference earlier in the week when announcing the company wouldn't be running any more shows for the time being, talked about trying to make deals for its fighters to fight with other organizations. The league is trying to stay afloat as long as possible for a potential sale or deal since the company has lost $32 million and has been unable to raise new operating capital, in hopes of a possible sale, merger or company-saving deal.

Nelson, 13-2, on CBS creates an interesting dichotomy. On the upside, Nelson is a unique, marketable character. He's a big puncher and usually has exciting fights and connects well with live audiences.

Part of his appeal is also his downside. Bluntly, he has a terrible physique with a gigantic belly. Even though he actually has great stamina, can wrestle, and hits like a mule, there will be a large segment of the audience dismissing him on the old "judging a book by its cover" philosophy.

Nelson has no problems going the distance at 260 pounds, but he simply looks like a bar fighter who would be winded in 40 seconds. It's a character that will appeal to a segment of the population, like a modern-day Tank Abbott, and be memorable. But critics of the sport seeing him on CBS in a title match may be quick to dismiss the entire sport as a glorified Tough Man competition, just based on his physique.

Jake Shields, 20-4-1, is slotted to compete for the welterweight title.

Names being looked at as possible opponents include Drew Fickett, England's Paul Daley and IFL champion Jay Hieron.

They are also looking at a women's match, featuring Shayna Baszler (9-4). The winner of that match would most likely face Carano in October to create the company's first women's champion, in a 145-pound weight class.

"I don't believe Gina Carano can make 140 pounds," said Gary Shaw, after Carano came in at 144.5 pounds on May 31 for her 140-pound weight class win over Kaitlin Young. Carano had to forfeit 12.5 percent of her purse to Young as a result of not making weight.

If the July date falls through, these matches would be moved to what would likely be the October CBS special, or, to a planned September event on Showtime.