HDNet to Televise FEG’s “Dynamite!! 2010” NYE Event Live

November 20, 2010

HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon that the Japanese MMA blockbuster NYE event, “Dynamite!! 2010” will air live in the U.S. on HDNet.

MMAJunkie and HDNet report:

HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon confirmed the plans with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com)… The event takes place Dec. 31 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Currently, officials have announced only one fight for the card: a featherweight title bout and grand-prix-finale rematch between champion Bibiano Fernandes and Hiroyuki Takaya. However, as MMAjunkie.com recently reported, the show could feature an MMA-rules bout between DREAM champ Gegard Mousasi and K-1 kickboxing legend Jerome Le Banner, and many other notables are rumored for the show.


Payout Perspective:

HDNet subscribers will once again be treated to another NYE combat extravaganza as the network will continue to televise the Japanese end-of-the-year combat festivities this year.

FEG’s rival promotion, Sengoku Raiden Championship who also has a U.S. TV deal with HDNet, is also expected to host their own NYE event, “Soul of Fight” they day before FEG’s Dynamite event, which is part of a end-of-the-year martial-arts festival which will also host fights ranging from kickboxing, MMA, grappling, and other martial arts and combat disciplines. Arrangements to air the MMA portion of the event in some form on HDNet is currently in discussion.

Bell Satellite TV Planning to Drop HDNet

November 8, 2010

Canadian MMA fans received some disappointing news last week from Bell Satellite TV, a subsidiary of Bell Canada which provides satellite television service across Canada, when it posted on its Electronic Program Guide that HDNet would no longer be carried as of December 7th by the provider.


MMAPayout has learned that the decision to drop the network by Bell TV came after Bell told HDNet that the network would be moving from their current theme pack arrangement to what the station considers less desirable theme packages.  Mark Cuban, CEO of HDNet, has described the move as an example of a provider pushing around a small network, and is urging all Canadian HDNet fans to contact Bell TV directly. To ease some of the customer frustration, HDNet is currently ironing out the details on deals with Rogers Cable and Shaw Direct (Bell TV competitors) to give the Bell TV customers incentives to switch over their services to either provider according to availability.

Bell TV told MMAPayout.com that the two parties were not able to come to mutually beneficial terms and that alternative MMA content is still available for their customers.

Bell and HDNet were unable to arrive at mutually beneficial terms for the packaging of HDNet. That means Bell will no longer provide HDNet service beginning December 7, 2010. Bell will continue featuring key MMA events on Pay-Per-View – including of course UFC 124 George St-Pierre vs. Koscheck II on December 11 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

MMA content is also available on Spike and the many sports stations carried by Bell including RDS, Sportsnet and The Score.

Payout Perspective:

The news to Canadian MMA fans who have Bell TV is disappointing, considering that HDNet just completed a deal with the UFC to give the network access to UFC events, which has cemented the network as the best MMA and combat sports network in North America.  HDNet showcased the new UFC access material during the UFC 121 Lesnar vs Velasquez event, where Mike Straka was on scene from the Honda Center and gave Inside MMA exclusive interviews, footage, and content.  Along with access to cover UFC events on scene, HDNet also gained UFC content such as the Primetime series along with other exclusive content currently under development.

The network’s involvement in MMA dates back to the pre-Zuffa days of the WEC.  In recent years HDNet has aired more live MMA events than any other network.

Bell customers can contact the company at 888-759-3474 or http://support.bell.ca/en-ON/contactus_tv

Mark Cuban Announces HDNet’s “Inside MMA” to Get UFC Access

September 14, 2010

During Friday’s Inside MMA show, which was celebrating their three year anniversary on HDNet, Mark Cuban was live on set to announce the new HDNet-UFC deal which grants Inside MMA with full access to UFC events, which includes credentials to their events and highlights for preview and recap segments.

Payout Perspective:

HDNet Fights and the UFC have had their differences in the past, which resulted in HDNet not having any access to UFC content or events.  Amazingly, HDNet Fights  (headed by Mark Cuban, Andrew Simon, and Guy Mezger) and Inside MMA (hosted by Kenny Rice, Bas Rutten, and Ron Kruk) have been able to keep their shows and contents running since 2007 without any UFC access, and have been able to build a nice hardcore combat sport fanbase over to their channel.  Their decision to air events from all around the world as well as learning and giving what their fanbase wants, which have led to airing events from Japan (DREAM, Sengoku, K-1) and hiring combat sport announcer great Mike “The Voice” Schiavello have really paid off dividends for the company.

The deal announced on Friday’s Inside MMA episode is really another great move on their part, which will now give HDNet and Inside MMA all-access to UFC events, which include press credentials, on site access (weigh-ins,  workouts, events) and video clips and highlights which will all provide great content for preview and recap shows starting with the upcoming events.

HDNet and MFC Renew Contract

July 28, 2010

Yesterday, HDNet and the Maximum Fighting Championship officially renewed their partnership with a six-event television distribution contract that will take both companies through to the end of 2011.

The Maximum Fighting Championship will remain a frontrunner in showcasing live mixed martial arts to a massive international audience with a new six-event contract teamed with broadcast partner HDNet.

Since partnering with HDNet in 2008, nine MFC events have been featured live on HDNet Fights, beginning with MFC 15: Rags to Riches and through to the most recent MFC 25: Vindication. During the partnership, viewers from the United States , Canada , and Mexico have tuned in live on HDNet to see the Maximum Fighting Championship and its power-packed lineup of talented fighters.

The newly signed deal, which runs through the end of 2011, includes the fast-approaching MFC 26: Retribution to be held in Westman Place at the Keystone Centre in Brandon , Manitoba , Canada , on Friday, Sept. 10.

“I am even more excited about this new agreement between the Maximum Fighting Championship and HDNet than when we signed our initial partnership,” said MFC Owner/President Mark Pavelich, who personally welcomed HDNet Owner and renowned entrepreneur Mark Cuban to the Maximum Fighting Championship at MFC 17.

“We have learned so much since then thanks to our business relationship. We have gone very far in improving our product and we are ready to take things to the next level to become real players on the worldwide stage.”

Strikeforce Fedor vs Werdum Buildup: Xbox 360, HDNet, MLB

June 25, 2010

The build up to Saturday’s Strikeforce event featuring the HW match-up between Fedor Emelianenko and Fabricio Werdum has had a strong late push.  We will explore some of the new ventures Strikeforce and Showtime took to promote this event.

Xbox 360 Advertisement:

Advertisements for the upcoming June 26 Strikeforce event could be found on the main dash board of Xbox Live.  Showtime  purchased this ad space to not only give Xbox Live users the ability to download a free Xbox Theme and Gamer Pics to use with their avatars, but also to watch the Fedor vs Rogers CBS bout from late last year to build some buzz for the fight on Saturday..

Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum Advertisement on Xbox 360

HDNet Airing Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum Weigh-Ins & Re-play of “The Last Emperor: Fedor”

HDNet is airing a great night of MMA on Friday night which consists of the weigh-ins, which will be a special edition of Inside MMA at 8 ET, HDNet Fights Vault featuring Fedor at 9ET, The Last Emperor: Fedor at 9:30 ET, and capping off the night with Sengoku 13 at 10 ET, which includes the much talked about Sandro vs Kanehara main event.

HDNet Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum Weigh-Ins

HDNet

ESPN MMA Live Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum Preview:

Scott Smith Throws Out First Pitch of Oakland A’s vs Cincinnati Reds Game:

Scott Smith threw out the first pitch of the Oakland A’s vs. Cincinnati Reds game at the Coliseum Stadium in Oakland.

Strikeforce

International Markets:

Brazil:  HBO Plus will air Strikeforce Fedor vs. Werdum live this Saturday, 10pm Brazilian time.  There is good buzz in Brasil as one of their own in Fabricio Werdum will try to defeat arguably the best Heavyweight in all of MMA.  Also on this card is another hometown hero in Cris Cyborg, who will try to retain her belt against Jan Finney.  Talking to Brazilian MMA fans, not many know any other promotion in the US outside of the UFC, so it will be their second time (Fedor vs Rogers) experiencing Strikeforce this Saturday.

Russia: NTV-Plus will be airing Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum as a PPV.  This is different than the last time M-1 c0-promoted the event with Strikeforce and CBS, which aired on one of Russias most popular channels, Channel One.

Japan: Strikeforce and M-1 announced the creation of “MMA Channel” to air MMA video via the internet for the Japanese market. Tele Planning International Inc (TPI) has been contracted as the marketing company. Last year Fedor vs Rogers was streamed live free of charge. Despite the lack of advertising, the stream attracted over 50,000 viewers. TPI announced that they will stream the Fedor vs Werdum card live, and it will be the world’s first true HD internet stream. The cost will be 1,000 yen (~US$10.90).

Strikeforce vs Werdum Japanese MMA Channel

New Sponsors:

Blowout Cards is looking to make a splash on Saturday night, promoting their Topps UFC Tradingcards and other card collectible items.  They will be sponsoring Jan Finney in her title match against Cris Cyborg.  You can also see other sponsors that Finney was able to get for her fight on Saturday below:

BlowoutCards Sponsor of Strikeforce Fedor vs Werdum

MMAterial Facts (03/24/10): ESPN Boosts MMA Coverage, DirecTV/Versus Settlement Details

March 24, 2010

  • ESPN ‘MMA Live’ graduates to television on ESPN2
  • Dana White looking to build a giant family entertainment complex in Vegas
  • UFC on Versus 1: Vera vs. Jones” draws 1.24 million viewers for live broadcast
  • Monte Cox Joins KOTC, HDNet, and Lake of the Torches Casino Partnership
  • The Launch of M-1 Global Japan, Evgeni Kogan Interview

ESPN ‘MMA Live’ graduates to television on ESPN2

MMAmania.com has learned that host Jon Anik along with analysts Franklin McNeil and Kenny Florian will soon bring their mixed martial arts news, highlights and analysis to the world’s biggest sports network on ESPN2.  (MMAMania)

***

Georges St. Pierre, Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar scheduled for ESPN SportsCenter

UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre and heavyweight contender Frank Mir will be appearing live on SportsCenter this Thursday (March 25) on ESPN. “Rush” is expected at 10:15 a.m. ET while Mir will be stopping by a little later at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Later in the week, UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar will return to SportsCenter on Friday (March 26) at 10:15 a.m. to discuss his pending return to MMA. (MMAMania)

Dana White looking to build a giant family entertainment complex in Vegas

“I’m gonna build a bad-ass, nice, clean place up in Summerlin where people can take their kids and have a blast on the weekends,” he told me.

White’s complex would offer entertainment diversity on the level of a chain called Dave & Buster’s, which some Las Vegans know for its California locations. Dave & Buster’s combines a restaurant with scores of interactive games, from boxing to NASCAR simulators, video games, Skee-Ball, billiards and other indoor activities.  (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

UFC on Versus draws 1.24 million viewers, Details On Versus/DirecTV Settlement

The UFC’s first-ever event on Versus, “UFC on Versus 1: Vera vs. Jones,” held this past Sunday in Broomfield, Colo., drew 1.24 million viewers, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed.

UFC on Versus 1 marked the first event on the cable channel available to the 18 million homes serviced by DirecTV after a six-and-a-half-month service interruption due to a dispute over carrier fees.

The ratings included a 1.66 rating in the males 18-34 demographic, as well as a 1.21 figure in the persons 18-49 category. (MMAJunkie)

***

Mixed martial arts fans helped to get Versus back in DirecTV’s lineup

“I know the fans were upset about WEC fights not being on the air, and I can only imagine that the volume multiplied by a number I can’t even guess with the fans knowing this UFC fight [with Jones] wasn’t going to be on, either,” UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta said.

Fertitta admitted that he got into the ear of the DirecTV officials, and his company has given millions of dollars to DirecTV via monthly UFC pay-per-view cards. Fertitta said he told the DirecTV officials “it’d be nice” to have Versus accessible to the 25 million satellite customers in the U.S. and Latin America.  (LA Times)

***

MMAPayout Note: Though DirecTV and Versus reached on a settlement and Versus was able to stay in its previous tier (non-premium), the deal wasn’t all favorable for Versus.  The new agreement reached placed Versus in the Channel 600 range, instead of its former Channel 300 range.  It may not seem like much, but the prime channels for DirecTV are in the 200’s, so the 600’s are quite a distance away and may detract future channel surfers from ever stumbling on to MMA on Versus.  Not to mention the confusion this ordeal created by taking away the channel from DirecTV customers for months and then placing it back on a different channel.

Monte Cox Joins KOTC, HDNet, and Lake of the Torches Casino Partnership

Lac du Flambeau’s Lake of the Torches Resort Casino just added more star power to its already successful mixed martial arts events. The casino, along with host promotion King of the Cage, has announced the affiliation of KOTC and high-profile promoter and fighter manager, Monte Cox, for the casino’s events.

Monte Cox is regarded as “The Godfather” of MMA and is considered to be one of the most influential figures in the sport today and in the sport’s history. Over the past 14 years no one has promoted more MMA events (nearly 600) or managed more UFC champions (seven) than Cox.

“King of the Cage has done a great job promoting events in the Midwest and at Lake of the Torches specifically,” Cox said. “I think it is, without a doubt, the top event in the state. Now, we will use our contacts, fighters and promotional team to bring the current and future stars of the sport to the area.”

King of the Cage President Terry Trebilcock and Cox have been long-time friends and have often looked for opportunities to join forces. “Terry and I started in MMA about the same time and we’ve known each other for a long time. There’s a lot of mutual respect and we’ve often talked about working together on projects,” Cox said. “I’m excited about this and I know with the two of us behind it great things will follow.”  (PRESS RELEASE)

The Launch of M-1 Global Japan, Evgeni Kogan Interview

A press conference was held today in Tokyo. The theme of the event was “aiming at the globalization of MMA.” The press conference was to announce a small show on 4/16 at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo called “M-1 Selection ASIA EDITION 2010 Japan.” Heading up M-1 Global Japan is former AtoZ Japanese pro-wrestling women’s wrestling ring announcer Mr. Tsuruga (he’s in the middle of the photo linked above). There will be M-1 events throughout Asia (including South Korea). (FightOpinion)

***

MMA Nation Interview Recap: Evgeni Kogan Talks Fedor Emelianenko and M-1 Global’s Goals

Kogan made it clear that M-1 does not currently have the level of brand recognition in America that they would like but that they do plan on continuing to attempt to make the connection with the sport’s fanbase.  Also important to M-1 is developing an understanding that they are not simply a “management company” but are a full fledged fight promotion putting on events in multiple continents this year.  Kogan also admitted that in part the lack of narrative control by M-1 during the Fedor/UFC negotiations led to the issues with understanding the company and that they plan to work more with the media and fans going forward.  (BloodyElbow)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I want to take The Ultimate Fighter all over the world. We’re working on the Middle East right now. That will probably happen the soonest. I want one in the UK and then one for all of Europe. …That has been in the works for a while and that isn’t an easy one to pull off.”  (Dana White on Globalizing TUF, MMACanada)

QUICK HITS

  • Wanderlei Silva vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama set for UFC 116 in Las Vegas (MMAJunkie)
  • Showtime offers free preview weekend, Strikeforce Challengers VII included (MMAJunkie)
  • Dana White promises UFC return to Dublin in 2010 (MMAJunkie)
  • Bellator adds “TUF 7” alum Luke Zachrich for season-two middleweight tourney (MMAJunkie)
  • Four amateur contests round-out Strikeforce Challengers VII’s 11-bout fight card (MMAJunkie)
  • Dana White expects UFC’s return to German TV, not ruling out live event in interim (MMAJunkie)
  • UFC Makes Big Splash in New York City (MMAFighting)
  • White Unsure of Direction, Purpose for Toney (MMAFighting)
  • UFC 111 Presser Notes: White on Toney Deal, Upcoming Shows & More (Sherdog)
  • Hendo Grades Early Strikeforce, CBS Efforts; Calls Counter-Programming ‘Childish’ (Sherdog)
  • K.J. NOONS HAD BROKEN FOOT DURING TO DIDA WIN (MMAWeekly)
  • FEDOR CONFIRMED FOR JUNE RETURN AGAINST WERDUM (MMAWeekly)
  • White vlog: Trapped in Toronto (Cage Writer)
  • ADCC champ Braulio Estima set for MMA debut against Rick Hawn at Shine Fights (FiveOuncesOfPain)
  • News Roundup: Marshall, Gugerty, Another Bellator Signing (Heavy)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Vault (Eddie Alvarez) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • InsideMMA (Wanderlei Silva, Joe Soto, Shane Carwin) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • HDNet Fights: King of the Cage “Legacy” at 10 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs Mahe at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (03/26/10)
  • UFC 111: GSP vs Hardy at 10 PM ET on PPV (03/27/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents DREAM.13 at 11 PM ET on HDNet (03/27/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • HDNet Fights: King of the Cage – Legacy at 10 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs Mahe at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (03/26/10)
  • UFC 111: GSP vs Hardy at 10 PM ET on PPV (03/27/10)
  • UFN 21 : Florian vs Gomi at 10 PM ET on Spike (03/31/10)
  • The Ultimate Fighter 11 Debut after UFN 21 on Spike (03/31/10)

"Celebrity Apprentice" Star and Former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis to Join HDNet's MMA Broadcast Team

March 15, 2010

DALLAS (March 15, 2010) – Last week on HDNet’s Inside MMA, we broke the news that Maria Kanellis will become the newest member of the network’s MMA broadcast team. Kanellis was WWE’s 2009 “Diva of the Year,” a Playboy Cover Girl, recording artist and a contestant on this season’s  “Celebrity Apprentice.” She will debut as the backstage correspondent on HDNet’s LIVE broadcast of “Mark Burnett Presents: King of the Cage: Legacy” on March 26 from the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno, Nev.

“Maria is an amazing talent with a devoted fan base and we are excited to have her as part of our MMA broadcast team,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “Maria loves MMA and is a superstar on LIVE television – the MMA community will welcome the passion she will bring to covering the sport.”

“My mantra is ‘passion is my motivation’ and I am definitely passionate about MMA!” said Kanellis.  “I am excited for the opportunity to be part of the HDNet family.  I love their commitment to the sport.”

Kanellis began her career in 2004 as a WWE Diva and appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine in April 2008. Her television credits include appearances on “Family Feud,” “Project Runway,” ” VH1’s Top 20 Video Countdown,” “The Insider,” “Best Damn Sports Show Period,” “Red Eye” and “The Today Show.”

She will be featured as a contestant on this season’s  “The Celebrity Apprentice” which premiered on March 14 on NBC. Her debut album “Seven Sins” will be available on iTunes on April 13 and a preview of the first single can be heard at http://mariakanellis.net.

About HDNet

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

HDNet Announces "Fighting Words with Mike Straka"

March 9, 2010

HDNet has announced the debut of a brand new MMA series entitled “Fighting Words with Mike Straka” that will air on Friday nights for the network.

HDNET TO DEBUT NEW ORIGINAL MMA SERIES “FIGHTING WORDS WITH MIKE STRAKA”

 

Network to launch this first-of-its-kind MMA series with Dana White as the premiere guest – Friday, March 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET

 

DALLAS (March 9, 2010) HDNet announced today that it will add the new, original series “Fighting Words with Mike Straka,” to its Friday night lineup. The 30-minute one-on-one weekly interview program will feature revealing conversations with the top stars in mixed martial arts. “Fighting Words with Mike Straka” is scheduled to debut on Friday, March 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The premiere episode will feature a rare, 30-minute interview with one of the most influential people in Mixed Martial Arts – UFC President Dana White.

 

In the following weeks, host Mike Straka will present unique insights into the sport’s most interesting personalities including King Mo, Gegard Mousasi, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, Matt Hughes, Frank Shamrock and Bobby Lashley.

 

“This show has been years in the making – I wanted MMA fans to get an unprecedented view, from the biggest names, of what it takes to be in this business,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “The MMA world produces the most intriguing personalities in professional sports and this program is designed to give Mike a full half- hour to ask the tough questions – the real questions fight fans want to know.”

 

“I am proud to join HDNet as the newest piece of the network’s already impressive MMA lineup,” said Mike Straka. “I am excited about the opportunity to present a side of these amazing athletes that the fans haven’t seen before.”

 

Mike Straka was previously the host of “FOX Fight Game.” He has covered MMA since UFC 30 in February 2001 and is widely recognized as one of the first mainstream journalists to begin reporting on the sport.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC and HDNet haven’t worked together much in the past, but perhaps this interview with Dana White is a sign of change in the relationship between the two organizations.

Also, note the timing of White’s appearance on the show is one day prior to UFC 111: GSP vs. Hardy. It wouldn’t surprise me if the UFC bought a few commercial slots during the segment to help pump the PPV card (even the April show in Abu Dhabi).

HDNet to Air "Mark Burnett Presents: King of the Cage-Vengeance"

February 12, 2010

WHAT: HDNet announces the fight card to be featured in the first “Mark Burnett Presents:  King of the Cage” event entitled “Vengeance.”  The event will feature three title fights in one night!  In the heavyweight division, champion Tony “Kryptonite” Lopez (17-2) puts his 15-fight win streak on the line against Tyler East (4-2).  KOTC Bantamweight champion and DREAM veteran Abel Cullum (16-3) faces a rising star in undefeated Joe Coca (7-0).  Wrapping up the championship bouts, Lightweight champion Donald Sanchez (18-10) who’s on a 3-fight win streak, takes on Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela (9-4-2).

The Main Event features a clash of Heavyweights, as cage veteran Travis Wiuff (58-13), who is on a 4-fight winning streak, faces Mike Kyle (13-7) who won four of his last five fights.  HDNet rounds out this stacked card with Rich Clementi (35-15) vs. submission specialist Quinn Mulhern (8-1).

HDNet Fights CEO, Andrew Simon said, “This event marks the beginning of great relationship between HDNet and Mark Burnett Presents: King of the Cage.  Everyone is excited about showcasing great fights while highlighting the long journey that these fighters endure to make it to national television.”

The HDNet announce team will pair “The Voice” Michael Schiavello with MMA fighter and MTV Bully Beatdown star Jason “Mayhem” Miller.  HDNet will also introduce Andrea Feczko to MMA fans as backstage reporter.

WHEN: LIVE, Friday,February 12 at 10:00 p.m. ET only on HDNet.

MMAterial Facts (02/02/10)

February 2, 2010

  • Strikeforce, UFC draw big TV numbers
  • UFC 2009 Undisputed Reaches “Platinum Hits” Status
  • Countdown to UFC 109: 881,000 Viewers
  • Ratings Soar For Ring Sports, Despite Steroids, Violence, Unknowns
  • Flock Is Now a Fight Team in Some Ministries
  • Next Fight Promoter University Session Announced

Strikeforce, UFC draw big TV numbers

The television head-to-head battle on Saturday night between UFC and Strikeforce turned out to be a win on both sides.

Strikeforce’s live event on Saturday night from Sunrise, Fla., largely built around the mixed martial arts debut of football legend Herschel Walker, drew 517,000 viewers. It is the second-most viewers for an MMA event on Showtime, trailing only the 571,000 viewers on Aug. 15 for the Gina Carano vs. Cris “Cyborg” Santos fight.

As is usually the case when Strikeforce has a major event, UFC countered on Spike TV with the cable debut of a taped major event, in this case airing the Dec. 12 UFC 107 show, headlined by B.J. Penn vs. Diego Sanchez and Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo.

That show had a 1.64 rating and 2.2 million viewers. It would be the second-highest rated for a replay of a UFC PPV event in history. Most UFC PPV replays put against a Showtime event are in the 1.2 rating range.  (Yahoo! Sports)

UFC 2009 Undisputed Reaches “Platinum Hits” Status

THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) and Zuffa, LLC today announced that UFC® 2009 Undisputed™, the critically and commercially acclaimed debut videogame based on the Ultimate Fighting Championship®, has achieved “Platinum Hits” status in North America for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, as well as joined Sony’s “Greatest Hits” collection in North America for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. Having shipped more than 3.5 million units worldwide to date, both versions of the videogame originally launched on May 19, 2009 and are now available for the suggested retail price of $29.99.

“Reaching ‘Platinum Hits’ and ‘Greatest Hits’ status is an honor that speaks to the strength of our software and the power of the UFC brand,” said Vice President of Global Brand Management Brian Coleman. “With a reduced price point, more players can now step into the Octagon™ and take part in the ultimate virtual UFC experience.” (MMA Payout’s Perspective)

Countdown to UFC 109: 881,000 Viewers

MMAPayout.com has learned that Countdown to UFC 109 enjoyed a tremendous lead-in from the Brock Lesnar: UFC Unleased and UFC 107 replay to draw 881,000 viewers with its debut on Saturday night. That’s the highest Countdown to UFC program debut since UFC 100, which garnered 1.1 million viewers.   (MMA Payout’s Perspective)

Ratings Soar For Ring Sports, Despite Steroids, Violence, Unknowns

These days, the ring sports aren’t just pinning down record viewership numbers. For some networks, they’re helping to identify and build brand recognition among viewers. In 2009, USA Network’s WWE Monday Night Raw franchise averaged 5.8 million viewers, its best showing since 2001. It performed better than two of the network’s popular original series, Psych and In Plain Sight.

Spike TV’s Ultimate Fighter reality competition series has become the face of the men’s-targeted network and its most-popular show, averaging a series record 3.4 million viewers in its 10th season.

Mixed martial arts is also throwing punches on several networks. The genre’s leader, Ultimate Fighting Championship, is airing three to four live events on Spike TV in 2010 while producing the 11th season of its popular Ultimate Fighter reality series. Versus will also air two live UFC shows as well as content from UFC-owned MMA franchise World Extreme Cagefighting.

On the premium side, Showtime will offer as many as eight events this year from StrikeForce, an upstart mixed-martial-arts franchise.

For these cable networks, ring-sports programming delivers strong ratings, particularly within the hard-to-reach demographic of men 18 to 49. “Young guys love what goes on in those two rings, whether it’s the octagon or the wrestling ring — that’s our bread and butter and it’s a place where we’ve been really successful,” said Spike TV president Kevin Kay.

Indeed, The Ultimate Fighter averaged 3.4 million viewers in its 10th season on Spike last year — nearly double the reality competition show’s average of 2 million for its previous nine seasons. The series finale, which featured YouTube MMA sensation Kimbo Slice, peaked at 6 million viewers, according to the network.  (Multi Channel)

Flock Is Now a Fight Team in Some Ministries

Mr. Renken’s ministry is one of a small but growing number of evangelical churches that have embraced mixed martial arts — a sport with a reputation for violence and blood that combines kickboxing, wrestling and other fighting styles — to reach and convert young men, whose church attendance has been persistently low. Mixed martial arts events have drawn millions of television viewers, and one was the top pay-per-view event in 2009.

Recruitment efforts at the churches, which are predominantly white, involve fight night television viewing parties and lecture series that use ultimate fighting to explain how Christ fought for what he believed in. Other ministers go further, hosting or participating in live events.

The goal, these pastors say, is to inject some machismo into their ministries — and into the image of Jesus — in the hope of making Christianity more appealing. “Compassion and love — we agree with all that stuff, too,” said Brandon Beals, 37, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church outside of Seattle. “But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.”

The outreach is part of a larger and more longstanding effort on the part of some ministers who fear that their churches have become too feminized, promoting kindness and compassion at the expense of strength and responsibility. (NY Times)

Next Fight Promoter University Session Announced

With the next Fight Promoter University less than two months away, FPU founder Roy Englebrecht announced the date for FPU VII. It is set to begin Tuesday, March 30th and run thru Friday, April 2nd at the Irvine Marriott Hotel in Irvine, California.  Englebrecht also announced that the entire four day FPU VII session will be made available live on the internet with the first ever FPU Netcast. FPU VII will be held in conjunction with the April 1st Battle In The Ballroom boxing and mixed martial arts show, now in its 26th year at the Irvine Marriott.

“We have a great line up of guest speakers for FPU VII headlined by Bruce Trampler of Top Rank, Scott Coker of Strikeforce, Richard Schafer of Golden Boy Promotions,  and Loretta Hunt of Sherdog.com,” said Englebrecht. “And now to be able to make all FPU sessions available to anyone in the world thru our live streaming netcast, will open up a future as a fight promoter to an unlimited audience. We are partnering with Pathfinder Digital TV to insure the most state-of-the-art production and quality netcast possible. (Fight Promoter University)

QUICK HITS

  • “Strikeforce: Miami” ratings: 517,000 Showtime viewers deliver 52 percent ratings increase (MMAJunkie)
  • Mailbag: Talking Herschel (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Herschel Walker’s MMA Debut (Sports Illustrated)
  • Miletich: If Shamrock won’t sign, bring me someone willing to fight (MMAJunkie)
  • Heavyweights Todd Duffee and Mike Russow agree to meet at UFC 114 in May  (MMAJunkie)
  • New York Jets fine coach Rex Ryan $50K for Strikeforce middle-finger fiasco  (MMAJunkie)
  • Canseco Issues Challenge to Herschel Walker (MMAFighting)
  • ‘Ninja’ Rua Targeting DREAM, Shine Fights (MMAFighting)
  • Bellator Fighters Hector Lombard, Jorge Masvidal Set for G-Force Fights 3 (MMAFighting)
  • Sanchez-Hathaway On Deck for UFC 114 (Sherdog)
  • Beltran Replaces Al-Turk at UFC 109 (Sherdog)
  • Strikeforce Lands Broadcast Deals in UK, Latin America (Sherdog)
  • ROY NELSON DRAWS STEFAN STRUVE FOR MARCH 31 (MMAWeekly)
  • TYSON GRIFFIN VS. EVAN DUNHAM AT UFC 115 (MMAWeekly)
  • Evans Has Answers (ESPN)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Fedor Emelianenko - Cover Of Russian Men's Health Magazine

Fedor Emelianenko - Russian Men's Health

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (2005 World GP Finals)  at 8 PM ET on HDNet (02/05/10)
  • InsideMMA (Brendan Schaub, Matt Mitrione, & Dermontti Dawson) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (02/05/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents “Furious Finishes III” at 10 PM ET on HDNet (02/05/10)
  • Best of Pride FC at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (02/05/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • UFC 109: Couture vs Coleman at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)
  • HDNet Fights: King of the Cage – Vengeance at 10 PM ET on HDNet (02/12/10)
  • UFC 110: Nogueira vs Velazquez at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/20/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Prangley vs  Amoussou at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (02/26/10)
  • WEC 47: Bowles vs Cruz on at 10 PM ET on Versus (03/06/10)

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