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ProElite, Inc., an entertainment and media company dedicated to producing world-class mixed martial arts (MMA) events, announced it has partnered with top television producer Mark Burnett to develop exclusive, multi-program MMA content for network TV.
The currently untitled initial series centers on former football and baseball stars, Herschel Walker and Jose Canseco, respectively, who together with a group of other former pros, train as a team to cross over into the sport of mixed martial arts. These athletes will fight with select EliteXC fighters in each episode with the series finale featuring a famous celebrity athlete match up. Additionally, episode highlights and interactive features for the shows produced will reside on ProElite.com. The show is co-created by Herschel Walker and Prem Akkaraju, who will also serve as a co-executive producer.
"We are really excited to partner with legendary reality television producer, Mark Burnett," said Douglas DeLuca, chief executive officer of Los Angeles, Calif.-based ProElite and co-executive producer of the show. "Mark's vision for the sport of mixed martial arts, coupled with his invaluable experience producing a stable of successful primetime reality series, plays a critical role in developing this first of many projects that we will do together."
"I am thrilled to collaborate with ProElite, and look forward to working with an organization that is dedicated to the growth of a sport that is sure to become among the biggest in the world," said Mark Burnett, who produces CBS's Survivor and ESPN's The Contender. "I believe a primetime reality series involving world-class athletes from all sports competing in MMA will resonate with audiences far and wide as the sport garners popularity around the world."
Walker and Canseco, who will both start recruiting teammates, are no strangers to hitting or MMA.
Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and versatile, multi-faceted former pro football star, brings a diversity of athletic achievement that is at the core of the sport of MMA.
A 25-year martial artist who holds three black belts in three disciplines and a devoted teacher of physical and mental health, Walker was one of the first NFL players to take to the idea of heavy exercise training and physical fitness. He was noted for doing at least 2,500 crunches (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crunches) and 1,000 push ups (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_ups) every day in the off season as part of his training regiment.
Canseco, the 1986 American League Rookie of the Year and six-time Major League All-Star, became the first player in Major League history to hit at least 40 homers and steal at least 40 bases (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/40-40_club) in the same year by smacking 42 home runs and stealing 40 bases in 1988. Known for clubbing monstrous, long-distance four-baggers, the colorful and controversial Canseco is an 18-year veteran of martial arts and also holds black belts in three categories.
"Attracting star professional athletes at the level of Herschel and Jose into a mixed martial arts competition is truly monumental and will certainly attract a broader audience to MMA," said co-executive producer and co-creator Prem Akkaraju. "I am thrilled to work with executive producer Mark Burnett and co-executive producer Douglas DeLuca, and look forward to expanding our programming in short order."
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