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Thursday, March 4, 2010
Strikeforce's criminal behavior

By Jake Rossen/Sherdog.com

Strikeforce's most valuable trump card in their bid to eat away at some of the UFC's market share is their relationship with a major network: If CBS is on board, there is unlimited opportunity to infiltrate television culture with fight attractions. If they are not on board -- if the fight franchise is just a way to fill up some dead air a few times a year and give a sporadic boost to their demographics -- then they have problems. Spike quickly realized the UFC could be a broadcast partner for a fledging cable station seeking an identity. They see each other as equals in business. CBS is CBS. They're not necessarily looking for someone to co-opt their brand.

So while Fedor Emelianenko has yet to make his debut on David Letterman's "Late Show," someone over there is finally paying the concept of synergy some mind: several Strikeforce-affiliated fighters will be on the April 6 episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles," the network's highly rated procedural drama. (The plot has something to do with series star LL Cool J going undercover as a cage fighter. The less said about the plot, the better.)

Because so many fighters are involved, I would imagine the episode will be content to have them on as background noise. A better solution would be taking Cung Le or Frank Shamrock and have them appear in a heavier supporting role closer to the airdate of a fight. Maybe CBS isn't ready to invest that kind of attention, and maybe "NCIS" producers have better things to do than cater to the fringe interests of their network. But if you want to have a shot at success in an industry dominated by one promotion, you need to think about getting these guys out of the margins. Josh Thomson's shoulder in a frame is a start.