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Strikeforce MMA promotion in talks to air shows on NBC

On the heels of the landmark agreement between EliteXC and CBS to air mixed martial arts programming on a major national network for the first time ever, Strikeforce and NBC are now apparently set to also ink a deal that will get the San Jose Calif.-based promotion airtime in the near future.

Dave Meltzer at Yahoo! reports that the agreement calls for a "52-week commitment for a Saturday night weekly program that is tentatively slated to start on April 12."

These 30-minute broadcasts will air at 2 a.m., following the "Saturday Night Live" episodes and feature stars such as Frank Shamrock, Cung Le, Gilbert Melendez and others.

It's important to note that these will not be live events. Instead it will be something similar to the "UFC Unleashed" series, which airs on the SpikeTV network.

This is great news for the sport even if it's not as sexy as a primetime slot such as the agreement EliteXC recently landed. And as Meltzer notes, Strikeforce and NBC will not be under pressure to deliver monster ratings with the current arrangement.

However, if it prospers it can certainly lead to bigger and better things.

An official announcement is expected sometime soon that will reveal all the details of the partnership. For now this latest news means that two networks -- for the time being -- have passed on working with the most popular promotion in North America, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

UFC President Dana White has been quoted recently as saying that the company is not about to "sign a bad deal."

Certainly a 2 a.m. time slot for the organization does not make sense. But with the competition beating them to the punch on the network television front, one would imagine that it's only a matter of time before the UFC realizes that a deal needs to be struck sooner rather than later.

Strikeforce has a show slated for March 29 at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, featuring a middleweight title fight between it's two biggest stars, Shamrock and Le.

Don't be surprised if this is showcased in the debut episode on NBC -- it's going to be a good one.

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