Versus Network Adds Martial Arts To Lineup

Comcast-owned Versus network is the latest to add martial arts battles to its programming menu. The network, formerly OLN, will offer World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) this summer.

Versus will televise three live fights and six one-hour highlight shows. WEC has been around since 2001.

WEC is owned by the same company that operates the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Is mixed martial arts fighting the new reality TV--in other words, a genre that networks are rushing to offer?

Last week, the struggling MyNetworkTV said it would offer the fledgling International Fight League. Spike already carries UFC. Showtime is set to begin offering Elite Xtreme Combat on Feb. 10. And gambling site Bodog.com says it has a deal to bring martial arts competition to an unnamed broadcast network.

Mixed martial arts can be brutal, as it includes moves from boxing, wrestling, kickboxing and other fighting all at once. Hands, feet, knees and elbows can all be used, depending on the league.

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