Today's New York Times has a big feature on Kimbo in today's edition. This is a big deal. The New York Times sets the agenda for virtually every other media outlet in the country. It's even handed and somewhat sympathetic.
...when the Elite XC fight league and CBS broadcast the sport’s live network television debut from Newark on Saturday, the two companies are largely hinging their success on Ferguson, a 34-year-old native of the Bahamas and former street fighter who may become the mixed martial arts equivalent of Mike Tyson in his prime — or a major bust if he is ultimately outclassed by the sport’s elite fighters.
Ferguson is no ordinary mixed martial arts upstart: he is a YouTube sensation, a knockout artist who has attracted Internet fame for bare-knuckle brawling and for a video of a man who was paid $100 to take a punch in the stomach from him.
A former college student turned strip-club bouncer turned pornography-company bodyguard, Ferguson found his calling five years ago when he earned several thousand dollars in a backyard boxing match in Miami. A friend put a video of the fight on a pornographic Web site, and millions of people watched it.
They also cover the business aspects of the CBS/EliteXC deal:
For CBS, betting on Ferguson’s success offers little risk. It has a one-year deal to broadcast four cards and what analysts say is probably a small investment in ProElite, the parent company of Elite XC. CBS would not disclose the exact amount.
Mixed martial arts attracts a demographic that CBS has struggled to court: men ages 18-34.
“What CBS is trying to get out of this is some low-cost programming that will attract a younger demographic,” said Alan Gould, a media analyst for Natixis Bleichroeder, a research firm based in New York.
ProElite, meanwhile, may be desperate for a big payoff. The company lost $27 million in 2007, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Gary Shaw, president of Elite XC, said the bulk of ProElite’s debt stemmed from its acquisitions of several mixed martial arts promotions around the world, as well as the cost of starting a social networking site. He said they were long-term investments that he expected would pay off.