AXS TV Fights
|AXS TV Fights|
|Running time||150 minutes or until fight card ends|
|Original run||2007– present|
AXS TV Fights is the brand name of AXS TV's live mixed martial arts (MMA), Muay Thai and kickboxing broadcasts. Fight coverage is usually preceded by the live MMA-themed talk show Inside MMA. Formerly known as HDNet Fights, the program's name was changed to AXS TV Fights in July 2012, following the network's rebrand from HDNet to AXS TV. The current CEO is Andrew Simon.
Origins as HDNet Fights
HDNet Fights was founded in 2007 by billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, owner and founder of HDNet, as a programming cornerstone to build the new network on. Cuban's goal was to present MMA in a manner more in line with other professional sports, while eliminating ancillary details such as ring card girls. Taking a hands-on approach in the business and promotion of MMA, Cuban became one of the sport’s most vocal defenders in his blogs and interviews. HDNet Fights hosted its first self-promoted event on October 13, 2007, featuring a light-heavyweight main event contest between Erik Paulson and Jeff Ford. The program’s second and final event, Reckless Abandon, was held two months later. Realizing that the company’s strength did not lie in hosting fight cards, Cuban re-vamped the HDNet Fights concept, as HDNet began broadcasting live weekly events from other organizations, including many top regional fight promotions.
After acquiring the rights to air Japanese Fighting and Entertainment Group's MMA promotion Dream in the United States for the first time ever, HDNet premiered a repeat of the Dream 1 event on May 2, 2008. A repeat of Dream 2 aired the following day, and Dream 3 aired live on May 11. On February 6, 2009, HDNet announced they had reached an agreement with another Japanese MMA promotion, and competitor to Dream, World Victory Road. The promotion made its United States debut with a broadcast of its "Sengoku" events, opening with World Victory Road's first event of 2009 on March 20.
Under the HDNet Fights banner, the network’s broadcast lineup included DREAM, Sengoku, K-1 and K-1 Max, Strikeforce, Adrenaline MMA, SportFight, Ring of Fire, Ring of Combat, M-1 Global, Ring of Honor, Maximum Fighting Championship, Affliction Entertainment, Urban Conflict Championship and the now-defunct IFL, among others.
As AXS TV Fights
Since its regeneration as AXS TV Fights, the program has become a major fixture in AXS TV's Friday night programming line-up, with the network airing over 40 live events per year. The AXS TV Fights broadcast lineup has featured events from promotions including BAMMA (USA), Legacy Fighting Championship, Lion Fight Muay Thai, Maximum Fighting Championship, Resurrection Fighting Alliance, Titan Fighting Championships, and Xtreme Fighting Championships. In August 2014, the network announced a multi-year deal with CES MMA. The following January, the network joined forces with Legacy Fighting Championship, airing the promotion’s first-ever kickboxing event on January 16, 2015.
On March 14, 2014 AXS TV Fights aired the North American premiere of the Russian Hip Show: Arena Combat. A two-on-two, points-based fighting event on a padded obstacle course instead of a traditional ring or cage. The pilot episode was a two-hour "best of" special, featuring lightweight and middleweight tournaments from 2012. English commentary was provided by Cyrus Fees and Casey Oxendine.
AXS TV Fights' presentation of LION FIGHT 16 on July 4, 2014 was the network's historic 250th fight broadcast.
New Japan Pro Wrestling
In November 2014, AXS TV announced it had acquired the rights to re-broadcast a series of thirteen episodes of New Japan Pro Wrestling, originally produced by TV Asahi. The series premiered on Friday, January 16, 2015 and features play-by-play and color commentary by Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett.
UFC Hall of Famer, and founder of Miletich Fighting Systems, Pat Miletich and award-winning sports journalist, writer, commentator and television personality "The Voice" Michael Schiavello provide live play-by-play commentary for AXS TV Fights' broadcast coverage. Since 2010, Schiavello also conducts one-on-one interviews with combat sports stars on The Voice Versus, which airs intermittently in primetime.
List of AXS TV Promotions
AXS TV Fights currently broadcasts events from the following promotions:
- CES MMA
- Legacy Fighting Championship
- Legacy Kickboxing
- Lion Fight Muay Thai
- Maximum Fighting Championship
- Resurrection Fighting Alliance
- AXS TV Fights
AXS TV Fights has previously broadcast events from the following promotions:
- HDNet Fights
Under the HDNet Fights banner, the network broadcast fights from the following promotions:
- Adrenaline MMA
- Affliction Entertainment
- DREAM (Mixed Martial Arts)
- International Fight League
- K1 Max
- M-1 Global
- Maximum Fighting Championship
- Ring of Combat
- Ring of Fire MMA
- Ring of Honor
- Sengoku (MMA)
- Strikeforce (mixed martial arts)
- Urban Conflict Championship
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