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Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Mark Burnett 'Kings' himself

You remember the noise about producer Mark Burnett wanting to get into mixed martial arts in a big way: There were talks of an MMA reality series featuring Jose Canseco and Herschel Walker as opponents in the cage. (Reality be damned, they both actually fought, which will continue to fold my brain into odd shapes. If I let it.)

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That show idea fizzled, but Burnett is now taking some kind of responsibility for California-based promotion King of the Cage: HDNet announced that a monthly series of live fight cards under the "Mark Burnett Presents: King of the Cage" banner will begin Feb. 12.

"King of the Cage and Mark Burnett are pioneers in their respective fields, and we are excited to feature 'Mark Burnett Presents: King of the Cage' on HDNet as part of our commitment to being the home of MMA," HDNet chairman and co-founder Mark Cuban said in a news release. "The award-winning storytelling of Mark Burnett will bring the personalities of MMA to life in a way that has never been seen before."

Ignoring the narcissism of the "Mark Burnett Presents" qualifier -- useless to anyone who doesn't read "TV Guide" with a highlighter -- the idea of a regular series of live fight cards is intriguing. And if Burnett can help shape personalities out of the unmolded clay athletes the promotion normally relies on, it'll be a welcome change. But is anyone really that invested in the "Cage" brand, which has come to represent overstuffed fight cards of highly dubious quality? And didn't Burnett get singed with his "Contender" reality series that turned boxing into a weepfest?