Buried in Dave Meltzer's column today on officiating controversy is a very important bit of news:
Shaw said the date of the next CBS card is expected to be finalized this week in a joint decision with CBS. Due to the success of the first show, CBS wants to have a return date in late July to capitalize on the momentum. Shaw feels Lawler and Smith wouldn’t be ready for a July date, nor would Slice.
Of course, "joint decision" means CBS decides while Shaw tries to persuade them otherwise. I don't have the deal in front of me, but I have no doubt this will be CBS's call. Running again is a gigantic risk: If the show flops, it will be derided as the new XFL. If it is a success, they will have a second batch of stars, and they will be able to confidently run shows without Kimbo on top in the future.
If the show is in July, you can add that to a packed MMA month with Jackson/Griffin on July 5th and Affliction on July 19th.
In figuring out the card, it's probably safe to say that Gina Carano also will be unavailable for a late July card, given 6-7 weeks notice. This means the three attractions that lead to the biggest ratings increases on the first show will not be available for this one.
Drew Fickett v. Jake Shields would probably headline this card for the Welterweight Championship. Filling out the rest of the card isn't as easy. They need a name fight to draw casual fans, and as gross as it sounds, something along the lines of Shamrock/Abbott would not shock me as a special attraction. Antonio Silva could fight on this card as well. I think a good strategy would be to try to use this card to build up winners to fight Carano and Slice in October, and I think they can definitely do that given their roster capabilities. It just seems utterly stupid to have KJ Noons and Nick Diaz fighting for a Showtime special when this show may be on just a month later.
What kind of speaking fees does Tito Ortiz charge anyway?