Gina Carano: Before the show, I noted Carano would be an interested observer in the ratings on CBS. Now that the numbers have come in and CBS took last place in its timeslot, it's clear that they need Gina to do a big number on broadcast television. Instead of gaining 1.5 million viewers on the undercard with Gina and building toward the main event, the show lost a ton of steam with the Jake Shields fight, which turned viewers off. To break the 3.0 barrier they need Gina.
Fedor Emelianenko: Fedor is a big winner coming out of the first Strikeforce CBS show. His previous largest audience in the United States was at just about 100,000 viewers for Affliction. Close to 5 million viewers watched him knock Brett Rogers out in spectacular fashion in a show built entirely around him.
Brett Rogers: Rogers did well for himself. I expected him to get blown out, but he put up a hell of a fight and actually had Fedor in trouble. If he can put together a few wins he could have a legitimate claim on a rematch.
MMA Fans: When CBS first presented MMA, they built around Kimbo Slice, who is a celebrity that can't fight. Fedor is the exact opposite. He's the best fighter in MMA history, but he's not a celebrity. At least not yet. I have a feeling his days of anonymity are coming to an end. Those of us who are fans of the sport should be thankful a network like CBS was willing to dedicate a Saturday night to a foreign icon with no name value in the United States just because he is the best in the world.
Jake Shields: Shields is the only guy that undisputedly came out of this show in a worse place than he was at before. The crowd hated him more and more as the fight went on, and the ratings demonstrate that he drove viewers away in droves. He "won" the fight but lost the war. He's not going to be on CBS again any time soon.
Mark Miller and Deray Davis: These guys didn't get a chance to fight despite training to fight for weeks. It's nice they were paid their "show" money, but at that level it is more about the opportunity to fight than the peanuts they make to fight. They gave up other fight dates to train for this one, and it's a shame they didn't get the opportunity to fight.
Somewhere in the middle:
Strikeforce: The name of the company was rarely mentioned on the telecast. This was clearly "Saturday Night Fights" and not "Strikeforce." Maybe that's for the best, but I don't think they gained much in terms of name value from the CBS opportunity. They did a decent rating and put on a nice card, and I do think they'll get another opportunity, so from that perspective it was a success. It's worth noting they only got into the national television business in early 2009, and in less than a year they've signed Fedor, promoted Carano vs. Cyborg, and secured a spot on CBS. Not bad at all.
CBS: The broadcast was a mixed bag. Gus Johnson was better than he's been in the past, Mauro was informative at times and way too jokey at others, and Frank was insightful even though he constantly mispronounced Sokoudjou's name. The pacing of the show was very good, but the cutaways between rounds and before decisions to interviews really rubbed me the wrong way, especially for non-interviews with Fedor's people and translators. At least they didn't have any skeleton segments.