“COUNTDOWN TO SHAMROCK vs. BARONI” PREMIERES
TUESDAY, JUNE 12 ON SHOWTIME
Six-Time Emmy Award Winning Producers—Planet Grande—Take Viewers Inside
The Lives of MMA Legends and Champions in Preview of Spectacular Fight Card
Friday, June 22, in San Jose, Calif.
HP Pavilion Will Host Mega-Fight Card Live on Pay-Per-View
With Undercard Bouts To Be Streamed Live at ProElite.com
(LOS ANGELES) June 11, 2007 – Exclusive access, never-before-seen footage and explosive rivalries all define “Countdown To Shamrock vs. Baroni,” a 30-minute magazine show set to premier on SHOWTIME on Tuesday, June 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. “Countdown” explores the highly anticipated world championship mixed martial arts showdown between former UFC middleweight king, Frank Shamrock, and UFC and Pride Fighting Championship veteran, “The New York Bad Ass” Phil Baroni. (For complete schedule of airings go to www.sho.com/schedule)
The 14-match mega fight card will take place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on Friday, June 22, and will feature Shamrock vs. Baroni in the main event with up to five other matches airing live on SHOWTIME® PPV (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT). As many as five undercard bouts will be streamed live at ProElite.com while a few bouts will be reserved for those in attendance at the “Shark Tank.”
“Countdown” will take you inside the training camps for an exclusive look at the first-degree grudge match between the crafty and versatile legend Shamrock (frankshamrock.proelite.com, strikeforceusa.net) and the power-punching and edgy New Yorker with a bad attitude Baroni (strikeforceusa.net, philbaroni.proelite.com). At stake for both fighters are the coveted Strikeforce Middleweight World Title and their respective reputations. The pair has engaged in a veritable war of words since long before this match had been officially announced.
Also featured on “Countdown” will be in-depth interviews and exclusive training camp sessions previewing the EliteXC/Strikeforce fight between Joey “Dreamsmasher” Villasenor (joeyvillasenor.proelite.com, strikeforceusa.net) and Murilo “Ninja” Rua (strikeforceusa.net, murilorua.proelite.com), and the long awaited rematch between Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett (krazyhorse.proelite.com, strikeforceusa.net) and Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela (joeboxer.proelite.com, strikeforceusa.net).
“Their last fight was a barn-burner,” said John Watkin, executive producer for Planet Grande Pictures, of the “Krazy Horse” – “Joe Boxer” fight. “It ended in a draw despite the fact that Krazy Horse was unconscious on his back at the end of the fight.”
Other bouts profiles include Cung Le (strikeforceusa.net, cungle.proelite.com) versus Tony “The Freak” Fryklund (strikeforceusa.net, tonyfryklund.proelite.com) and Paul “Head Hunter” Buentello (strikeforceusa.net, paulbuentello.proelite.com) versus Carter “The Beast” Williams (strikeforceusa.net, carterwilliams.proelite.com).
“Planet Grande has taken the collective vision of EliteXC, Strikeforce and SHOWTIME and put together a compelling and revealing show. They were able to convey the power and the tangibility of these athletes in a first-rate television production. We couldn’t be happier,” said Doug DeLuca, CEO of ProElite, Inc., the parent company of EliteXC.
EliteXC president Gary Shaw said, “This is a long-anticipated fight that the world of Mixed Martial Arts has been looking forward to with great anticipation and EliteXC is very excited to have an award-winning production company telling the story.”
”Countdown to Shamrock vs. Baroni” is produced by Eamon Harrington and John Watkin at Planet Grande Pictures, and presented by EliteXC and Strikeforce. Planet Grande’s Emmy Award-winning work has been seen on programs such as “Shades of a Single Protein,” a documentary on racism, hosted by Oprah Winfrey. Other shows include “World Series of Blackjack,” “Sex Bytes” for HBO, VH1’s “Crazy World of Juliette Lewis” and doc/concert series, “Two Hour Tour.” They are also responsible for some of television’s most highly rated shows like “Oprah Talks to Michael Jackson.” John Watkin describes the “Countdown” show as an “explosive barrage of punches, kicks, and curses, from two headliners who truly hate each other.”
”Behind the scenes footage, explosive action and serious trash talk: ‘Countdown to Shamrock vs. Baroni has it all,’” said Ken Hershman, senior vice president and general manager of Sports Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Ever since the fight card was announced, the MMA community has responded with excitement and anticipation for this event. This countdown show will fan the flames as we prepare for a great night of television on Friday, June 22.”
ProElite is based in Los Angeles, California; Strikeforce is based in San Jose, Calif., and Planet Grande is based in Malibu.
Inc. [PELE.PK] delivers the most exciting entertainment experience in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) with live arena-based entertainment events, cable television programming on Showtime Networks and community-driven interactive broadband entertainment via the Internet. ProElite embraces MMA with the highest levels of honor, integrity, discipline and self-esteem all the while remaining inclusive for fighters, fans and schools. ProElite’s live fight division, EliteXC, delivers spectacular live MMA fight events that showcase the world’s top fighters. ProElite’s interactive business, ProElite.com (www.proelite.com), capitalizes on the growing popularity of the sport of mixed martial arts by building a community of mixed martial arts enthusiasts. In addition to streaming the most exciting live fights to the web, ProElite expands the fan base of the sport by providing a comprehensive set of online social networking tools for fans, fighters and organizations. ProElite.com – Empowering the Fight Community TM
is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. The rapidly growing organization recently re-launched its website, www.strikeforceusa.net, which boasts a bold new look and all-new features, including video streaming capability. Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.”
About Showtime Networks Inc.
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME® TOO™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE® and TMC XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD™, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND™ and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND™. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI is also an owner and manager of SUNDANCE CHANNEL, a venture of NBC Universal, Robert Redford and SNI. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME® PPV.
About Planet Grande
Planet Grande is a television production company based in Malibu, California, specializing in high profile documentary series, celebrity and entertainment specials. Over the years, Planet Grande has been honored with numerous industry awards including 6 Emmys. Regular clients include CBS, NBC, HBO, ABC, Bravo, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, VH1, CMT and American Movie Classics.