EliteXC gets tapped out

CBS, Showtime lose mixed martial arts programming

NEW YORK -- It's the end of the road for CBS and Showtime's forays into mixed martial arts, at least for now.

ProElite, which produces the EliteXC mixed martial arts competitions, will be going out of business. That means that a planned Nov. 8 Showtime event as well as an unscheduled primetime Saturday program on CBS won't happen.

Showtime, which owns 20% of EliteXC, and CBS, which aired three cards in primetime -- most recently Oct. 4 -- were told that there would be no more bouts.

"In view of Showtime's leadership role in sports programming, including boxing and mixed martial arts, we intend to explore other opportunities," the premium network said.

The Oct. 4 card on CBS averaged 4.6 million viewers and a 2.0 rating/6 share in adults 18-49. It was the top show in broadcast and cable in adults 18-34, men 18-34 and men 18-49 amid college football games and the baseball playoffs.

EliteXC looked to compete in a business sense with the UFC, the leader in mixed martial arts. It received a big boost from the commitment from Showtime and CBS, the first time mixed-martial arts had ever been on primetime broadcast network TV.

It would not affect FSN, which had run four EliteXC specials that concluded earlier this year. There were no others planned.