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EliteXC on CBS: "Not Socially Responsible"

That's the characterization of the CBS deal to air EliteXC on May 31st by Sumner Redstone, the chairman of CBS and Viacom. But wait, there's more from others within the television executive world:

"Les usually asks my opinion," Sumner Redstone said Wednesday when asked about the four mixed-martial arts fights that will begin airing soon on CBS. This time, the Viacom and CBS chairman said, Moonves did not.

Redstone said the deal, struck with Elite Xtreme Combat, probably was a mistake, not because CBS won't turn a profit from it but because it is not "socially responsible" to air the typically bloody bouts on free, broadcast TV.

"I'm a lover not a fighter," Redstone said. "I don't like the sport."

Redstone said he doesn't like to "intrude" on Moonves and added that, "Most of the time, he does the right thing."

But Ed Goren, president of Fox Sports, was more direct, telling an audience of 200 that he didn't pursue a relationship with ultimate fighting because, "We don't need money that badly."

Let me just say that I hope someone takes the time to save these comments in a safe place so that in 5 years we can present them back to these folks in an attempt to fully embarrass them for their shortsightedness and apocalyptic ravings. Television executives fancy themselves as people possessive of omnicompetence: they know what's good, bad, funny, smart, sellable, interesting, original, etc. Yet these are the same folks who will trot out shows about the hidden talent of washed up actors in the same breath that they'll proclaim their greatness. Color me underwhelmed.

But I'd be lying if I didn't think there was a little something to their apprehensiveness. The way in which MMA is marketed and packaged by the UFC and EliteXC is still based in the visceral quality of MMA fighting. Obviously that is a component that appeals to virtually every MMA fan, but the extent to which the UFC and EliteXC go turns me off as well. If I'm a fan and I'm bombarded with over the top emphasis on savagery, I can only imagine how the aforementioned beta males must have their hearts palpitate at the sight of Kimbo Slice. I suppose that on some level, I sympathize with their hesitation and revulsion. I feel it a little, too.

HT: MMA Payout