The CBS broadcast of last night's Strikeforce card did a 1.0 rating and 2.63 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic, which is the group CBS is measuring the show's success (or lack thereof) in. The rating available at the moment only covers the "official" timeslot of the first two hours of the broadcast, so it remains to be seen if the long overrun would alter the numbers much. They lost viewers throughout most of the first 2 hours (the third half hour of the broadcast was the peak, but it was the only period where the audience grew instead of decreasing), so it could make things even worse. Between the rating and the brawl, it wouldn't exactly shock anyone of the Fall CBS special doesn't materialize.
CBS programming vice president Kelly Kahl told Dave Meltzer that the he didn't see the brawl as a major issue, but that was before the rating came in:
I don’t think [the brawl is] going to be an issue because I don’t think it’s going to happen again, or at least I hope it’s not. It’s not what the sport needs. Things get out of control at times in every sport.
Bleacher Report is the first to use the pun "Strikefarce" in a headline about the brawl, and I'm not sure if they should be lauded or raked over the coals for it. In addition to going over the potential problems that the brawl could cause for the whole MMA industry, the story itself argues that UFC's greater control of its broadcasts would've prevented this from happening. I'm not necessarily sure if I'd agree with that, but it's worth reading.
CBS Sports' MMA blog chimed in with this:
It's hard to tell who threw the first punch (people in the venue don't seem to know for sure, and on TV the first strikes were obscured first by a cut-away shot, and later by bodies in the line of sight). But Mayhem was shoved away by Melendez, then lunged forward. He (and seemingly dozens of others) ended up in a street fight, on national television, with the Diaz-Melendez-Shields crew.
UFC lightweight Nate Diaz could be seen on the replay soccer-kicking a downed man (presumably Mayhem, but it's hard to tell since he was already covered and being beaten by two or three other guys).
When people call MMA fighters a bunch of thugs, usually, they're wrong and misinformed. But as an MMA fan of about 15 years now, I have to say, what you saw in the cage at the end of this show was thuggery.
Mixed martial arts is supposed to be about respect and honor. I know a lot of the sport's critics have never bought that for a second, but it's true. When stuff like this happens, it becomes impossible to defend the sport.
And it's not the sport's fault, nor is that type of thing customary. This was a few idiots making an extremely poor judgment call, and rest assured they will be punished for it.
Strikeforce president Scott Coker (who at the time, apparently had not actually seen the brawl) gave his thoughts in a video interview with Ariel Helwani:
UFC's Shane Carwin chimed in with these thoughts on Twitter:
from what I read those guys should be ashamed of themselves. This is not a barn yard brawl. These actions are not needed in this sport!
On the MMA Underground forum, he added:
just no room for this kind of stuff in the sport. We are just feeding the ignorant critics, and on live TV no less
More video content, this time featuring Diaz and Miller, is coming up after the jump.
Diaz and Mayhem both commented backstage, with Diaz still hot and Mayhem generally explaining his feelings of "WTF?!?!":
Later, Diaz (sounding stoned out of his mind and not looking like someone who just staged a group beatdown on a one man) also talked to Ariel Helwani, closing the interview with "I apologize, but it wasn't my fault!":