HDNet to be Rebranded as AXS TV

January 18, 2012

Beginning Summer of 2012, HDNet will be rebranded as AXS TV, a joint venture between HDNet, AEG, Ryean Seacrest Media, and CAA Establish.

HDNet, AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media, and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) today announced a joint venture that will rebrand HDNet/HDNet Canada to launch AXS TV (pronounced: access). Scheduled to debut this summer, AXS TV will leverage the global reach and portfolio of content opportunities of its partners to create live entertainment and lifestyle programming. Capitalizing on AEG’s unrivaled presence in live events and affiliation with more than 100 of the industry’s pre-eminent venues worldwide, AXS TV will provide viewers with exclusive behind-the-scenes access to live concerts and music festivals, red carpet premieres, award shows, parties, pop culture events, and in-depth interviews with the people and artists who make live entertainment so uniquely fascinating.

HDNet’s signature programming including HDNet Fights, Inside MMA, award-winning Dan Rather Reports, Sunday concert series, and select non-scripted series will continue on AXS TV.

As part of their agreement with the joint venture, DISH will offer a variety of unique music services to their subscribers.

“I’m incredibly excited to be in business with AEG, Ryan Seacrest, and CAA,” said Mark Cuban, Co-Founder and Chairman, HDNet. “This is a major step on our way to offering more live programming than any other entertainment and lifestyle network. And our partnership with DISH to offer unique subscriber services will allow AXS TV to change the value proposition between networks, distributors, and subscribers. AXS TV will unquestionably be able to leverage our unique assets to do things no other network will be able to replicate.”

With production facilities at AEG’s owned and operated L.A. LIVE (which includes venues such as STAPLES Center, Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, Club Nokia and The GRAMMY Museum’s Clive Davis Theater), as well as their access to their worldwide network of the busiest venues of all sizes, AXS TV will have the inside track to programming that will connect audiences with the complete live experience. From show creation and development to rehearsals, sound-check and performance and right thru the after-party, viewers will get an immersive look into their favorite acts touring today, AXS TV will span the globe to bring viewers the best live entertainment events.

AEG is very pleased to be involved with Mark Cuban and HDNet and equally as proud to have partners like Ryan Seacrest Media and CAA,” said Timothy J. Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG. “The live business continues to grow and expand and the ability to give fans the opportunity to experience live in a different way is something we have been looking for a way to do for years.”

“As part of a point of emanation for content, we are excited to provide the resources of L.A. LIVE, the O2 and our London campus among the many assets we are bringing into the partnership. In addition, we are excited that AXS TV will have a host studio at L.A. LIVE. This is a natural tie-in for our ticketing platform, axs Ticketing, as well as our facilities around the world.

This is a platform for all agents, all promoters and all managers. It is not the creation of an AEG channel. It is about the fans and bringing the live experience to them,” Leiweke added.

Representatives of the joint venture also announced that DISH, the nation’s third largest pay-TV provider, has agreed to expand its carriage of the rebranded HDNet by offering it in the America’s Top 120 programming package, bringing millions more DISH customers access to the rebranded channel and resulting in AXS TV reaching well over 35 million North American households.

In addition to the increased distribution of the re-branded network, DISH will begin offering a large selection of AXS-branded Video On Demand concerts starting on March 15, 2012. Capitalizing on AEG’s unrivaled presence in the promotion of live events and nationwide network of clubs, DISH will work with AEG to offer unique ticketing opportunities for DISH viewers of AXS TV. Amenities include special ticketing opportunities, premium seating, private viewing areas and food & beverage specials. Starting August 1, 2012, DISH and AXS TV will launch AXS Headliner Club, an online audition site providing local bands and musicians the opportunity to audition to perform at an AEG-affiliated club or theater.

“AXS TV brings DISH subscribers a premier TV destination for concert-goers to watch the most popular concert acts and provide opportunities for unique ticket sales at venues near them,” said Joe Clayton, CEO, DISH. “The new DISH is all about ‘more music, more movies, and more magic.’ So, we’re pleased to provide a majority of our subscribers front row seats to this innovative channel.”

AXS TV will continue to be available on HDNet’s existing distributors including DIRECTV, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Charter, NCTC-member systems, Suddenlink and Shaw (in Canada).

Ryan Seacrest Media holds an ownership stake in AXS TV, and will provide access to multi-media platforms, and celebrity and brand relationships, as well as assist in the corporate brand development for AXS TV. As part of the deal, Ryan Seacrest Productions, an independent entertainment production company, will also develop and produce programming for AXS TV.

“Over the last year, we’ve been diligently working with our partners AEG and CAA to strategize and explore how we could deliver quality live entertainment and lifestyle programming to a large audience. HDNet is the perfect partner to help us translate our vision into a reality, giving us an instant reach into 35 million homes when we rebrand the channel and launch AXS TV,” said Ryan Seacrest. “Mark Cuban and Tim Leiweke bring a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial experience and spirit to this venture, and I’m confident our collective collaboration will make AXS a success,” he added.

CAA will access its extensive experience, expertise, and relationships in entertainment to help create valuable content relationships for the network and provide strategic advisory services in the areas of corporate development, marketing, technology, and brand integration and sponsorship, among others. Seacrest is represented by CAA.

“We have worked closely with AEG and Ryan Seacrest to conceptualize a new network that could benefit from our combined resources and create a new distribution opportunity for artists and content creators and their high-quality entertainment and lifestyle programming,” said David O’Connor, Managing Partner, CAA. “Mark Cuban and his HDNet make a terrific partner for this venture, and we look forward to joining forces to help build AXS into a premier cable destination for entertainment enthusiasts.”

Financial terms of the new venture were not disclosed.


Payout Perspective:

According to the press release, HDNet’s current signature programming – which includes MMA content such as HDNet Fights and Inside MMA – will continue to air on AXS TV.  The rebranded channel will leverage the global reach and portfolio of content of its partners to focus on live entertainment and lifestyle programming. The the initial plan for AXS TV is to focus on live entertainment and event programming, which include MMA, concerts, and movies.

A key to this deal appears to be DISH’s agreement to expand it’s carriage of AXS TV (HDNet) by offering it in the America’s Top 120 programming package and On Demand capabilities, giving more access to millions of DISH customers, which will increase the reach of the channel to 35 million by the Summer.  AXS TV will be available to DirecTV, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Charter, NCTC-member systems, Suddenlink and Shaw (in Canada), which are the current HDNet carriers.

ProElite Signs Multi-Year TV Deal With HDNet

October 18, 2011

ProElite announced a new multi-fight, multi-year TV deal with HDNet last night during Inside MMA’s live broadcast debut on the network. The first ProElite televised event on HDNet will be “HDNet Fights: ProElite – Big Guns”, taking place at the iWireless Center in Moline, IL on November 5th.

“After watching their first event in Hawaii, I could see ProElite was a great fit for HDNet,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “This upcoming card has the perfect mix of marquee names and an innovative Heavyweight tournament that fight fans won’t want to miss!”

Former UFC Heavyweight Champions Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski will headline the event in separate bouts in addition to an 8-man Heavyweight tournament to identify the up-and-coming talent among MMA’s heavy hitters.

“Our multi-fight agreement with HDNet elevates the ProElite brand to a national MMA audience with a preeminent broadcast partner,” said Paul Feller, President and CEO of Stratus Media Group and Chairman of ProElite. “This strategic partnership offers new opportunities for corporate sponsors and advertisers looking to reach this passionate and rapidly growing audience of ProElite fans.”

ProElite will soon announce its full fight card, which will include some of Quad Cities favorite fighters and emerging MMA talent. Tickets are now on sale at the iWireless Center box office and on ticketmaster.com.


Payout Perspective:

It had been long speculated that ProElite was in heavy talks with HDNet to televise their second event after reviving the ProElite brand earlier this year.  After all, it made complete sense considering that Head of Fight Operations T.J. Thompson has been adamant about signing a TV deal which corresponded to the current stage of the reborn MMA promotion.

If you recall, Strikeforce also signed a similar TV deal with HDNet back in 2008, just before signing their monumental TV deal with Showtime and CBS just a few months later. The deal proved to be key to Strikeforce’s growth, as it catapulted them to the #2 MMA promotion in the U.S. and maintaining that title until being purchased by UFC’s parent company – Zuffa – earlier this year.

The November 5th event will host a prospect HW GP along with Arlovski vs Fulton and Sylvia vs Kraniotakes as the main events.


ProElite: Big Guns Card on HDNet:
Tim Sylvia (29-7) vs Andreas Kraniotakes (12-4)
Andrei Arlovski (16-9) vs Travis Fulton (247-48)

HW Grand Prix Portion:
Mark Ellis (1-0) vs Ryan Martinez (5-1)
Richard Odoms (5-0) vs Jason Bosler (3-1)
Jake Heun (1-1) vs Chris Birchler (1-0)
Walt Harris (3-1) vs Esteves Jones (7-2)


HDNet Announces Multi-Year Deal with Kickboxing Promotion “It’s Showtime”

May 13, 2011

After months of speculation from kickboxing fans, HDNet announced today they have signed a multi-year deal with European Kickboxing promotion, “It’s Showtime”.

Today, HDNet announces a long term deal with “It’s Showtime,” Europe’s leading kickboxing promotion provided by Fighting Spirit, the international fight sport programming distributor. “It’s Showtime” will make its HDNet debut with “HDNet Fights: It’s Showtime Lyon” on Friday, May 20 at 11:00 p.m. ET – immediately following the network’s broadcast of “The Voice vs. Hulk Hogan.”

In the main event of the evening, Badr Hari makes his much anticipated return to the ring against Tony Gregory. Plus, Tyrone Spong and K-1 MAX Champion Giorgio Petrosyan will also be in action.

Founded in 1998, “It’s Showtime” is known for attracting the biggest names in kickboxing and drawing some of the largest crowds in combat sports – regularly packing over 20,000 fans inside the Amsterdam Arena.

In 2011, the promotion will present ten events for HDNet from venues across Europe including the recently announced, “It’s Showtime- Fast & Furious 70 Max” grand prix on September 24 in the Forest National in Brussels, Belgium. Elite 70kg fighters participating in this prestigious one night tournament include Giorgio Petrosyan, Andy Souwer, Artur Kyshenko, Gago Drago, Murat Direkçi, Chris Ngimbi, Harut Grigorian and Pajunsuk Superpro Samui.

Fighting Spirit is an international media rights agency based in France and is the only worldwide company that specializes in the management, brand development, and distribution of combat sport TV programs. Its portfolio includes a full range of combat sport programs from wrestling with CMLL Lucha Libre, to MMA with TKO Major League and Cage Rage, going through documentaries, Reality TV shows such as Enfusion, and live events of It’s Showtime – The World Championships of Kickboxing.

“I am excited to announce that ‘It’s Showtime’ is coming to HDNet,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “The addition of ‘It’s Showtime’ solidifies HDNet’s position as THE PLACE to watch the best strikers and stand-up action in combat sports today.”

“It is a real privilege to collaborate with HDNet. ‘It’s Showtime’ is now the number one kickboxing promotion and one of the top brands in the universe of Fighting. With this program, HDNet shows its willingness to delight American martial arts fans with top fight shows,” said Simon Rutz, CEO of “It’s Showtime.”


Payout Perspective:

The It’s Showtime event will make it’s HDNet debut next week, with one of the most popular figures in the sport, Badr Hari, making his highly anticipated return in the main event as he takes on challenger Tony Gregory.

The deal is one that many combat sports and kickboxing fans have been clamoring and anticipating since the financial uncertainty of the #1 kickboxing promotion in the world from Japan, K-1, was reported.  HDNet still has a TV deal with K-1, and will continue to air more of their programming when it is available.

Dave Walsh over at LiverKick.com said the following regarding the deal:

Simon Rutz is no fool, as can be seen with the gradual growth of It’s Showtime over the past 12 years. It’s Showtime was not simply looking for a television deal for the United States, they were looking for promotional partners. Like we’ve seen with all of It’s Showtime’s recent events, they partner up with another company for all of their shows; BFN Group, Fight Group, Fighting Stars, Oktagon and even individuals like Yiannis Evgenikos and Kader Marouf. They wanted nothing different when it came to the United States and would not even think about promoting shows here without strong support from another promotion or entity, the same goes with television. They simply did not want to be on television, they wanted a working partnership that would expand the company.


HDNet’s Inside MMA Extensive Coverage of UFC-Strikeforce Purchase, Shamrock Comments on Sale

March 22, 2011

Inside MMA worked around the clock to provide extensive coverage regarding Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce, which was featured Friday night on HDNet. The coverage included interviews with Dana White, Scott Coker, and the perspective of various fighters affected by the transaction.

Here are a few clips HDNet has released from the coverage, though I would highly recommend viewing the full episode on HDNet to see the great work done.


Frank Shamrock also commented on the deal to MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, and had very good insight on the situation:

“I can’t say I saw it coming but I know the demands of Strikeforce were high and I knew the financial partners were strained and weren’t interested in the big risks,” Shamrock said. “I knew change was coming, I didn’t know we were going to change that much.”

According to Shamrock, Coker spent a lot of money to compete in the marketplace. For SVSE, Strikeforce became too much of a risk.

“They got tired of writing big checks and not seeing the big return,” he said. “For them [the older established sports model is] the kind of business they wanted to be in. They didn’t want to be in the visionary, high-risk startup kind of MMA business.”


Shamrock also commented on Coker’s feelings towards selling the promotion he built from the ground up for years:

Shamrock doesn’t think Coker wanted Strikeforce sold. Shamrock described Strikeforce as Coker’s “baby” and it was Coker’s dream to promote the biggest fights in the world and to turn Strikeforce into a billion dollar company.

“I think it was too early for Scott. I don’t think he wanted to get out this early,” Shamrock said. “Scott was in it for the long haul. He probably had another five years, but time and business is everything. This was the UFC’s time to make a move and they did.”


Payout Perspective:

Inside MMA did a great job covering the Strikeforce purchase, getting exclusive interviews with Dana White, Scott Coker, and several fighter who were affected by the move.  Here are some key notes from the interviews:

– Coker mentions that Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment wanted to focus on bringing another sports franchise to San Jose, so he had to look for other business partners because he wanted to stay in MMA…  Payout Perspective: It is said that SVSE is bidding to bring an NBA team to San Jose and the HP Pavilion in addition to growing the San Jose Sharks NHL franchise.

– Coker believes that Zuffa will continue the Strikeforce brand because the brand is “worthy of continuing forward and growing”, believes it has value.

– Coker tells a story about bringing his 1 marketing person to a meeting with UFC’s marketing team of about 25.

– Coker addressed the issue of M-1 and Fedor, saying that Fedor was definitely an expensive item but added value to Strikeforce and the brand.  Expects Fedor to be back fighting for Strikeforce in late July or mid August.

– Believes that getting back on CBS is still a possibility and that he will do what he can to get the UFC in Japan with his connections and help bridge the gap.

– When asked about how Scott felt about the sale of Strikeforce, he said “It’s a reality that’s real.”

Shark Fights Signs TV Deal With HDNet, Set To Debut With March 11 Event

February 25, 2011

MMAPayout has learned that budding promotion, Shark Fights, has signed a TV deal with HDNet and is set to debut on the network with their next scheduled event on March 11th, headlined by Matt Horwich vs Danillo Villefort.

Here is the rumored card for Shark Fights 14, set to debut on HDNet:

Shark Fights 14: Horwich vs Villefort
March 11, 2011
Fair Park City Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas

– Matt Horwich (26-17) vs. Danillo Villefort (12-3)
– Houston Alexander (11-6) vs. James Irvin (15-8)
– Mike Bronzoulis (11-2) vs. Todd Moore (13-4)
– Alex Cisne (5-1) vs. Eric Davila (18-10)
– Sean Shakour (3-0) vs. Joseph Sandoval (4-0)

Payout Perspective:

The budding promotion based out of Texas is coming off it’s PPV debut back in September of last year, where the event was headlined by Keith Jardine, as he took on MMA and Strikeforce veteran Trevor Prangley. The PPV event also featured Houston Alexander vs Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Danillo Villefort vs Joey Villasenor, and Paul Daley vs Jorge Masvidal (both signed by Strikeforce after the event).

Back in September, MMAPayout featured Shark Fights CEO Brent Medley, as he talked about PPV expectations, their strong fan-base in Texas, and their financing to put up a big PPV event so early in their development.  Shark Fights has taken their second big step in the last 12 months by signing a TV deal with HDNet, who has helped promotions like MFC, Titan Fighting Championship and XFC gain great exposure on the platform. You have to like what HDNet is doing as well, signing promotions with strong regional support who have signed marketable fighters to headline their events along with strong regional prospects.  The uncertainty in Japan has brought a halt of Japanese MMA stateside, but HDNet is doing a great job a mitigating the issue with the recent pickups.


February 10, 2011

“Inside MMA” LIVE at Friday’s Weigh-in beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET; LIVE Undercard Broadcast Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET

DALLAS (February 10, 2011) This weekend, HDNet will present two and a half hours of LIVE coverage  of the “Strikeforce ™ World Grand Prix – Heavyweight Tournament” as it kicks off this Friday in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Coverage begins Friday at 5:00 p.m. ET as “Inside MMA” broadcasts LIVE from the “Strikeforce™ and M-1 Global: Fedor vs Silva” weigh-ins at the Izod Center. Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Andre Arlovski, and Sergei Kharitonov will step on the scales in anticipation of their respective grand prix showdowns.

Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten will get a first hand perspective on the tournament from its remaining participants including Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett, and Brett Rogers. Plus, Ron Kruck will interview the combatants themselves as they step off the scale.

Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET, HDNet will present exclusive LIVE coverage of “HDNet Fights: Strikeforce™ World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament Undercards.” History will be made as “The Voice” Michael Schiavello and Bas Rutten will call the action together for the first time as Josh Cholish (5-1) meets Marc Stevens (12-5) in the main event.

In other action, Igor Gracie (2-2) meets John Salgado (4-4-1), Sam Oropeza (4-1) takes on Don Carlo Clauss (6-3), and Anthony Leone (8-2) faces Josh Laberge (7-4).


February 4, 2011

HDNet takes MMA fans inside “UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort” with LIVE on location coverage- Tomorrow Night at 7:00 p.m. ET

DALLAS (February 3, 2011) “Inside MMA” is on the road this week with LIVE coverage of the “UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort” weigh-ins from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten will be joined by Urijah Faber, Anthony Pettis, and Mike Goldberg to break down the fights and Ron Kruck will interview Saturday’s combatants as they step off the scale. Joe Rogan will emcee the event.

“HDNet is committed to taking our viewers inside the sport like no other network,” said Mark Cuban, Chairman of HDNet. “LIVE on-site coverage of MMA’s biggest events is a cornerstone of that commitment and we are excited to present ‘Inside MMA’ LIVE at the UFC weigh-ins for the very first time.”

The Super Bowl™ Saturday event in Las Vegas is a UFC tradition, annually featuring one of the best fight cards of the year. “UFC 126” is no exception with one of the deepest cards in recent memory. In the main event of the evening, Anderson Silva defends his UFC Middleweight Title against Vitor Belfort, plus Forest Griffin meets Rich Franklin and Jon Jones takes on Ryan Bader.

“Inside MMA – UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort Weigh-ins” airs LIVE this Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET on HDNet. The program will replay in its regular time slot later that night at 9:00 p.m. ET.

About HDNet

HDNet (www.hd.net) is the independent network with unique and thought-provoking content that appeals to men of all ages and is delivered in true high definition.

HDNet is the exclusive, high definition home for popular, original programming, including the network’s Emmy Award winning HD news feature programs, “HDNet World Report,” and “Dan Rather Reports,” featuring legendary journalist Dan Rather.  Only HDNet goes beyond the headlines to deliver real news that is redefining the way we look at our world.  HDNet News is provocative, sometimes controversial and always relevant – telling the important stories of our time in-depth, with attitude and with independence. HDNet is also the exclusive high definition home to critically acclaimed and award winning documentaries, airing as part of the “HDNet ‘Round The World” series.  “NASA on HDNet” presents all live shuttle launches through 2011.

HDNet presents championship sports coverage featuring the best of Mixed Martial Arts with its Friday night series, “HDNet Fights” (www.hdnetfights.com).  “HDNet Fights” works with leading MMA promoters including DREAM, Sengoku, XFC, K-1, K-1 Max, MFC and more.  HDNet produces more live Mixed Martial Arts events than any other network and HDNet’s “Inside MMA” is the hottest Mixed Martial Arts program on television, giving fans their weekly fix for everything MMA, while “Fighting Words with Mike Straka,” goes one-on-one with some of the biggest names in the sport. HDNet also features live coverage of regular season games from the United Football League.

HDNet also delivers the world’s largest and most diverse concert line-up through the HDNet Concert Series.  The HDNet Concert Series features leading artists and bands including Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey, John Mayer, Nickelback and more.  HDNet also features revealing lifestyle programming featuring “Art Mann Presents,” “Girls Gone Wild®,” “Deadline” and “Get Out!”

Only HDNet Movies (www.hdnetmovies.com) delivers exclusive Sneak Previews of new movies before they hit theaters.  The HDNet Movies Sneak Preview series features top Hollywood stars in critically acclaimed performances including Gwyneth Paltrow, Joaquin Phoenix, Demi Moore, Michael Caine, Tom Hanks, Vera Farmiga, Parker Posey, Brian Cox, Matthew Broderick, Kirsten Dunst, Ryan Gosling, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Robin Williams, Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger.

In addition to being the exclusive home of Sneak Previews, HDNet Movies viewers enjoy the best films from the classics of the 1950s-1970s, to favorite films from the 1980s and 1990s, to recently released theatrical films.

HDNet Movies offers subscribers a premium movie viewing experience in true HD, and more original movies shot entirely in HD than any other network.

Launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban and General Manager Philip Garvin, the HDNet networks are available in the U.S. via AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, and Verizon FiOS and in Canada via Access Communications, Cogeco, Rogers, Shaw Cable and Shaw Direct.

The HDNet networks can be followed via Facebook at facebook.com/HDNet, facebook.com/HDNetFights and facebook.com/HDNetMovies and via Twitter at twitter.com/hdnet, twitter.com/hdnetfights and twitter.com/hdnetmovies.

HDNet Set to Broadcast Strikeforce Fedor vs Silva Prelim Fights, 8-Man LW GP From Japan

January 27, 2011

HDNet has long been the home to MMA promotions all over the world, and it looks like they will continue to be so in 2011 as Strikeforce will call it their home once again to air non-televised bouts on Showtime, starting with the first leg of the HW Grand Prix on February 12, from New Jersey.

LIVE! Sat, Feb 12th8:00 PMHDNet Fights – Strikeforce™ World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament UndercardsTop prospects take center stage as John Cholish meets Marc Stevens. Plus, Igor Gracie and Sam Oropeza are in action.

Along with televising the undercards, HDNet Fights’ Inside MMA will also be on site the day before the event, and will televise their weekly program focusing on the monumental event at 9PM ET Live from New Jersey.

UPDATE: Mike Schiavello and Bas Rutten will be doing the Strikeforce Prelim commentating.

UPDATE 2: According to ESPN’s Josh Gross, Strikeforce is in talks with Real Entertainment to host an 8-man LW GP consisting of Strikeforce and DREAM LW’s in Japan, which would be televised on HDNet starting in May. Japanese fighters Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Katsunori Kikuno are expected to participate.

Payout Perspective:

In the past few years, there have been on-and-off again discussions for Strikeforce to televise their non-aired prelim fights through different outlets.  In the past, Strikeforce, EA Sports, and recently, Sherdog have all hosted prelim fights on their website via online streaming, and conversations between Strikeforce and HDNet had taken place in the past but nothing ever materialized.  It’s great to see Strikeforce use HDNet as a platform to get more fights out to its fans, and more importantly, getting more of its fighters experience and on television to grow them and groom them for the bigger shows.  Strikeforce has only so many shows they can do in a year and with an ever growing roster, televising undercard fights will do wonders for the company. Along with growing their own brand, this platform gives exposure to fighters in order to grow their own individual brans. It also gives them the opportunity to benefit from sponsorship dollars.

Jason High Added to Titan FC 16 on January 28, Televised on HDNET

January 3, 2011

Coming off a huge win over Japanese MMA legend Mach Sakurai on NYE’s Dynamite show, Jason High looks to keep his momentum going in 2011 as he will take on former Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Rudy Bears on the Titan FC 16 event, which will be televised on HDNet.

The Titan Fighting Championship (www.TitanFighting.com) officially announced today that standout welterweight Jason High has been added to its scheduled Titan Fighting Championship 16 event on January 28. The show, which will be televised live on HDNet (www.HD.net) and is set to emanate from the historic Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, will be headlined by two-time UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia facing Abe Wagner, a veteran from the tenth season of the Spike TV hit reality show, The Ultimate Fighter.

The addition of High to the card comes off the heels of his impressive win on New Year’s Eve in Japan during DREAM’s “Dynamite!!” event over Japanese MMA legend Hayato “Mach” Sakurai. High entered the bout as the underdog but walked away with a decision victory over Sakurai despite the fact that he was fighting in Sakurai’s home country.

A veteran of the UFC and Affliction, High returns home to his native Kansas City to take on Bellator Fighting Championships and Strikeforce veteran Rudy Bears. Bears, a former world champion kickboxer, lives and trains in the Kansas City area and the High vs. Bears matchup could determine who is arguably the city’s best welterweight.

“On paper, High vs. Bears has a chance to be the fight of the night,” commented Titan Fighting CEO Joe Kelly. “Jason is coming off the biggest win of his career and Rudy’s last fight was a brilliant TKO victory over UFC veteran Chad Reiner during a Bellator show. Both Jason and Rudy are going to tear the roof off of Memorial Hall.”

HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon added, “It’s great to feature Jason in two high profile televised fights within 30 days on HDNet. Jason deserves the exposure as he fought an intelligent fight on New Year’s Eve at Dynamite!! on Sakurai’s home turf and still found a way to come out with a decision. I am looking forward to seeing the two hometown guys fight for bragging rights in Kansas City.”

In addition to his recent win over Reiner, Bears, 12-6, also holds notable victories in his career over Brendan Seguin, Brian Green, and Ted Worthington. Nicknamed “Bad News,” Bears is an instructor at the Caveman Crew fight gym and competes regularly in marathons.

With the win over Sakurai on Friday, High improved to 12-3. He has now won three consecutive fights following a decision loss to Charlie Brenneman in his one and only UFC appearance. High also holds notable wins over Strikeforce veteran Andre Galvao and UFC veterans Kevin Burns and James Giboo. An impressive win over Bears could earn him the designation of being the highest profile unsigned fighter in the welterweight division.

High vs. Bears will be featured during the national televised broadcast of Titan Fighting Championships 16 on Jan. 28 starting at 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. CT with the local undercard starting at 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event, which will emanate from the historic Memorial Hall ( www.MemorialHallKC.com), are currently on-sale at Ticketmaster.com and the Memorial Hall box office.

Payout Perspective:

Titan FC 16 will be headlined by former UFC HW champion Tim Sylvia, as he takes on former TUF participant Abe Wagner. Todd Duffee taking on Abe Wagner was the planned main event for the telecast, but Duffee accepted the last second invite to the Japanese NYE Dynamite event to take on Strikeforce HW champion Alistair Overeem for the Interim DREAM HW championship belt.

It’s great to see HDNet provide a platform for young promising fighters such as Duffee and High to increase their value as fighters, and hopefully catch the attention of promotions that are willing to use them as main events or to attract offers from other promotions to keep developing their careers as mixed martial artists.

Titan FC 16 Card:
Date: January 28, 2011
Venue: Memorial Hall
Location: Kansas City, Missouri

– Tim Sylvia (28-6) vs Abe Wagner (8-2)
– Jason High (10-3) vs Rudy Bears (12-6)
– Drew McFedries (8-6) vs. Gary Tapasua (6-1)
– L.C. Davis (15-4) vs Jared Downing (5-0)
– Aaron Derrow (8-2) vs Alonzo Martinez (28-12)

HDNet and Titan Fighting Championship Announce 1/28 Event Headlined By Todd Duffee

December 13, 2010

In a press release today, HDNet and Titan Fighting Championship announced a January 28, 2011 event taking place at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, which will air live on HDNet and features ex-UFC HW prospect Todd Duffee as he takes on former TUF alumni Abe Wagner in the main event.

The Titan Fighting Championships (www.TitanEntertainment.com) announced today that it is scheduled to return on Friday, January 28, 2011. The event, which will be headlined by UFC veteran Todd Duffee, will emanate from its home base of Kansas City at the historic Memorial Hall and will be televised live nationally on HDNet (www.HDNetFights.com).

HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon first revealed that Titan Fighting Championships 16 will be airing LIVE on HDNet during an interview on MMAjunkie.com Radio this past Friday. News of Duffee’s return to action on HDNet quickly spread throughout the MMA community.

“MMA fans around the world know that HDNet is everyone’s home for MMA. We’re excited that the Titan Fighting Championships will look to build a home of its own with HDNet and HDNet Fights starting on Jan. 28,” said Titan Fighting Championships President and CEO Joe Kelly.”

Duffee, 6-1, will face Nebraska native Abe Wagner, 6-3, a veteran from the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter.

The Titan Fighting Championships first began promoting MMA events in 2006. It has served as a launching pad for nationally recognized competitors such as current UFC fighters Mike Johnson, Rob Kimmons and Alan Belcher; former WEC veterans L.C. Davis and James Krause; current Strikeforce fighters Bobby Voelker and Rudy Bears; former Strikeforce veterans Zak Cummings and Lee Gibson; and current Bellator Fighting Championships fighters Jay Hieron, Danny Tims, Jose Vega, Eric Marriott and Tyler Stinson.

“Titan has worked with some of the best up and coming talent over the years and we are excited to continue that tradition with HDNet,” said Kelly. “Being able to feature Todd Duffee on our first televised event of 2011 is very exciting but I think fight fans will be surprised with some of the other names that have committed to this event. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be announcing some very exciting matchups.”

The live national televised broadcast of Titan Fighting Championships 16 on January 28 will begin at 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. CT with the local undercard starting at 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event will go on sale today (Dec. 13) at 10 a.m. CT on Ticketmaster.com and the Memorial Hall box office.

ABOUT THE TITAN FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS (www.TitanEntertainment.com): The Titan Fighting Championships is a Kansas City-based full-time Mixed Martial Arts promotion headquartered out of the historic Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. Owned and operated by veteran fight promoter Joe Kelly, the Titan Fighting Championships has promoted events since 2006. The goal of TFC is to promote and develop the top up-and-coming fighters in the world and provide a platform allowing them to take their respective careers to the next level. Fighters who have gotten their start with Titan include Mike Johnson, Jay Hieron, L.C. Davis, Rob Kimmons, Lee Gibson, Alan Belcher, Bobby Voelker, Zak Cummings, Rudy Bears, and James Krause.

ABOUT TITAN ENTERTAINMENT: Titan Entertainment is a full-service entertainment company that holds an exclusive lease on the historic Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. The company promotes and produces events such as rock concerts, professional boxing, professional wrestling, and mixed martial arts. Titan has promoted sporting events that have been featured on ESPN, Fox Sports Net, SHOWTIME, and HDNet.

Payout Perspective:

Last we heard from Todd Duffee, after the UFC decided to cut one of its more promising HW’s on its roster, he was offered fights from both Strikeforce and Bellator, but turned them both down.  Titan Fighting Championship has since signed Duffee to headline their January 28th event which will air on HDNet against former TUF participant Abe Wagner, which oddly enough is the fighter that current UFC HW Travis Browne defeated to get a contract from the UFC.

It’s a great move by HDNet to televise the event.  Duffee  gained quite a few fans while in the UFC and many are curious to see how he will bounce back from his loss, a fight he was dominating until he got KO’d against Mike Russow at UFC 114.  You have to figure that a good showing here would draw a ton of interest from both Strikeforce and Bellator, who could use a fighter like Duffee to draw attention and intrigue to future HW tournaments.

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