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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

STRIKEFORCE Women To Fight 5-Minute Rounds

-- Showtime Networks Inc.

Kaufman vs. Baszler, Friday's Strikeforce Challengers: Three, 5-minute Rounds; August 15 Main Event, Carano vs. Cyborg, Set For Five, 5-minute Rounds For First STRIKEFORCE Women's Championship

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 16 -- Late last week, leading mixed martial arts promoter STRIKEFORCE received approval from the state athletic commissions supervising its upcoming events -- Washington (Friday, June 19); and California (Aug. 15) -- to have its female professional mixed martial arts bouts contested at the professional standard of five-minute rounds.

Until now, three-minute rounds were the norm for most female fights in the United States.

"We are proud to be leading this movement in Mixed Martial Arts," said Scott Coker, Founder and CEO of STRIKEFORCE. "This will allow the women competing at the elite professional level ample time to set up and fully execute a particular fight strategy. This is another great day for all of us in MMA."

An internal statement from STRIKEFORCE Rules Director Cory Schafer, announcing the news to the company, read in part: "...limiting each round to three minutes in duration was designed (by state athletic commissions) as a safety measure for the protection of less experienced fighters, with no designation for gender. It was never intended as a gender bias against female professionals..."

Schafer's statement continued, "Use of this standard will level the playing field for (the) female athletes in providing them with the time necessary to develop and execute their striking and grappling strategies in each round."

"It is great that the largest stage females have in MMA is setting a solid foundation in implementing five-minute rounds," said Gina Carano, who is set to face Cris Cyborg in the first women's main event, a championship fight (five, 5-minute rounds) on August 15 on SHOWTIME. "I feel STRIKEFORCE is taking female fighters seriously, which means we will be seeing some amazing fights in the future and I am honored to be a part of it."

"This is a great opportunity for Shayna (Baszler) and me to have this happen before our fight," said Sarah Kaufman (9-0 of Victoria, B.C.) who will face Baszler on Friday night's Strikeforce Challengers card in Kent, Wash. (SHOWTIME, 11 p.m. ET/PT). "I am always ready to go five-minute rounds and I know Shayna will also be ready. More importantly, this is long-awaited recognition that we are competing at the highest level of the sport."

For more information on this and upcoming events from STRIKEFORCE, including this Friday's Strikeforce Challengers event (June 19, live on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT); and the August 15, STRIKEFORCE: Carano vs. Cyborg Championship event, please contact:


Mike Afromowitz
(917) 566-8754

Showtime Networks Inc.
Chris DeBlasio
(212) 708-1633
Annie Van Tornhout
(212) 708-1663

Brener Zwikel & Associates, Inc.
Steve Pratt
(818) 462-5602
John Beyrooty
(562) 233-7477


STRIKEFORCE 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. 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." In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of STRIKEFORCE, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.

About Showtime Networks Inc.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL(R) and FLIX(R), as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2(TM), SHOWTIME(R) SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME(R), SHOWTIME BEYOND(R), SHOWTIME NEXT(R), SHOWTIME WOMEN(R), SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE(R) and THE MOVIE CHANNEL(TM) XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL(TM) HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND(R) and THE MOVIE CHANNEL(TM) ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV(R).