M-1 Challenge Returns to U.S. on 3/25, Showtime Debut Expected

February 17, 2011

Sherdog reports that the on March 25, M-1 Global will hold their first stateside M-1 Challenge event of 2011 in Norfolk, Virginia at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. MMAPayout was able to verify that Showtime has tentatively scheduled the event to be televised on the network.

Showtime is scheduling the event to air on the network on March 25, placing it in the 11:00PM – 1:30AM time slot. The deal was said to be a multiple event deal, 4 events, which would broadcast M-1 Challenge events on the network throughout the year, as MMAPayout reported back in September of 2010.

The M-1 Challenge event will be headlined by Lightweight champ Artiom Damkovsky, as he takes on 2010 M-1 Selection Americas tournament winner Jose Figueroa.

Payout Perspective

Back in September when MMAPayout broke the news regarding the negotiations between M-1 Global and Showtime, it was speculated that this was part of the deal in order for Fedor to re-sign with Strikeforce and keep him on board, which was a key piece since Strikeforce and Showtime were already working on putting the Heavyweight Grand Prix together.  Since that time, sources close to the negotiations have informed MMAPayout that this TV deal between Showtime and M-1 Global was seperate to the Fedor deal, and has been ongoing since September of 2010.

M-1 took a big blow with Fedor’s loss in the first round of the HW GP this past Saturday, as he almost announced his retirement on the network, but with Showtime TV set to air the M-1 Challenge events and Fedor’s most recent comments that he will continue to fight, the blow has at least softened a bit.

13 Responses to “M-1 Challenge Returns to U.S. on 3/25, Showtime Debut Expected”

  1. Cool2010 on February 17th, 2011 5:46 PM

    Why would showtime sign a TV deal with these criminals?

  2. jv on February 17th, 2011 5:53 PM

    Any word on the length of or number of events in the TV deal?

  3. Ed on February 17th, 2011 5:58 PM

    This is probably why Coker seemed so sure in interviews earlier this week that Fedor wouldn’t retire. I imagine that Fedor’s retirement would have killed the Showtime deal for M-1.

  4. Jose Mendoza on February 17th, 2011 6:04 PM


    It will cover M-1 Challenge events in the US, I believe the number was 4. Let me update to specify.

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  6. Diego on February 18th, 2011 5:13 AM

    The M-1 Challenge introduced me to Gegard Mousasi, a fighter I’ve enjoyed watching, so I thank them for that. But frankly, what have you done for me lately? I’ll let the cards speak for themselves, but I’m 20x more excited to catch Bellator on MTV2 than M-1 on Showtime.

  7. Machiel Van on February 18th, 2011 8:01 AM

    The problem with M-1 Challenge is that it is obviously low-level MMA when compared to UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, MFC, etc. After seeing quite a few on Comcast Sportsnet (not sure why they were always on but it was interesting), I can safely say I will not be watching any in the future. It’s like a watered down version of the old IFL, in terms of both talent and production. Have to agree with Cool2010, Showtime should cut the cord now that Fedor has lost twice. Oh well though this is really a non-issue, I’m confident the ratings will tell the tale.

  8. Nick on February 18th, 2011 8:06 AM

    When the challenger’s events don’t always break 200k viewers with fighters they have promoted for quite some time, what will a show headlined by 2 middle of the road lightweights nobody has ever heard of?

  9. mmaguru on February 18th, 2011 4:44 PM

    I don’t believe Showtime is paying these guys much for the rights to show the events. On top of that, it’s on a late timeslot.

  10. Jose Mendoza on February 18th, 2011 5:05 PM

    mmaguru, Nick:

    It’s a trade-off between securing a true HW draw for Showtime and Strikeforce and getting national exposure on a well known US network for M-1 Global. It will be interesting to see the ratings and how it all plays out once the end of the year hits and the 4 shows are over.

    No worries, we’ll keep a close eye on it. 🙂

  11. Nick on February 19th, 2011 9:59 AM

    I’m sure the slot they are giving them is borderline worthless, but it’s still a lot to give up for Fedor. He has never sold over 100k ppv’s as main event on 3 really stacked US cards, and I bet most mid-carders in the UFC could pull similar ratings. When they negotiated this deal, he was coming off of a loss as well. As much as I despise M-1, it’s amazing how well they have done squeezing cash/concessions out of promotions over the years on Fedor’s back.

  12. bigfan on February 20th, 2011 2:12 AM

    i hope this means i get to see Zavurov and Vasilvesky,Guram on showtime plus more co-promotion with sf or lending fighters

  13. Jose Mendoza on February 22nd, 2011 5:20 PM


    It will be interesting if we see any M-1 fighters make their way to Strikeforce cards, as of now, it has not happened, although it was in talks for the June co-promoted event last year.

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