Showtime wants back in MMA, eyeing Invicta

 

Showtime lost all MMA programming with the demise of Strikeforce, but wants to get back into the cage, potentially with Invicta FC.

Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza recently appeared on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour and said that the biggest goal left on his checklist would be "figuring a way back into MMA."

"I definitely want it back," said Espinoza. "I think we, as a company, want it back."

"We're going to be very careful because, being completely candid, there's a lot of MMA programming out there already. And the real question for us is, if we're going to get back into it on the programming side, what is going to be the compelling reason for us to do so? What's going to be different about the organization that we're involved in, as the way we present the sport? Because if we're just going out there to put more hours of MMA television on the air, I don't think it makes sense."

"If there was an obvious choice or a clear choice about getting back into MMA, we would've done it already. But I agree that, probably the highest visibility, probably the most noteworthy promotion that's distinguished itself out there, other than the ones aligned with TV networks, is probably Invicta.

"The UFC relationship (with Invicta FC) is absolutely not a problem, whatsoever. I still run into those guys, from the Fertitta's, to part of their management, from Lawrence Epstein to Peter Dropick, and it's friendly. It was a situation that didn't work out, but bygones are bygones. It was a strange situation that no one really created in and of themselves, so you move on and look for the next opportunity."

"We have looked at some of the international promotions, and there's a lot of talent there. It would be something new and different. But there's challenges with marketing non-English speakers, in particular. There's additional costs with doing non-U.S. events. So there's a lot to consider, but we still want in and we're still looking around very carefully."

"Look, there's always new talent. We always keep an eye out for amassing more boxing talent, but I liked having a well-rounded combat sports program. I think there's a lot to be said about being able to market, promote both audiences at the same time, with both types of combat sports.

"Certainly the summer is out of the question. That doesn't give anyone sufficient time to really ramp up. So it would either be late this year or in 2014, unless lightning struck and a deal fell into our laps that made sense immediately. I think more likely it's late 2013 or 2014."

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Recent Comments »

HeHitsMeBecauseHeLovesMe site profile image  

5/14/13 8:23 PM by HeHitsMeBecauseHeLovesMe

It maybe selfish, but I don't want this to happen. I feel like it would be the end of Invicta's great working relationship with the UFC. Which is something that I've found very refreshing.

Kings21 site profile image  

5/14/13 7:50 PM by Kings21

Glad I'm not the only one who thought Strikeforce's production was overrated. I never understood the notion that it was better than the UFC's production. I wouldnt say it was complete ass but it wasnt as good as the UFC's or even Pride/Dream. That said, I also agree with MMALogic. Theres some slim pickins for top flight MMA competition and I dont see all-WMMA providing that ratings boost they would want out of it. Beyond Invicta, I dont believe there is much out there. I know theres a few on Axs Tv but I assume they're locked into a contract of sorts. I'm for more MMA everywhere but I just dont see Showtime making any big splashes with MMA anytime soon.

PeaceThroughStrength site profile image  

5/14/13 7:45 PM by PeaceThroughStrength

To each his own,but most of the fighters that went from strikeforce to the UFC said one of the biggest difference was the production and how well things run during a UFC event.I like the idea of Invicta FC and the UFC working together,so I would prefer show time stay away form Invicta.

xsrg95 site profile image  

5/14/13 7:14 PM by xsrg95

i thought it hit the million mark?

smoogy site profile image  

5/14/13 7:07 PM by smoogy

UFC relationship with Invicta IS a problem for Showtime because there's no security in a promotion that swears contract fealty to Zuffa. It's the same deal for RFA too. Showtime won't waste their resources building talent for them if UFC can effectively exercise an option and acquire the rights to any fighter at any time. It's too bad because without these restrictions I think Invicta and RFA would be attractive choices for Showtime. And if there was a male MMA equivalent to Invicta out there it'd probably be on Showtime right now

Sid22 site profile image  

5/14/13 7:03 PM by Sid22

I bet they are after the Mayweather fight Bombed last weekend LOL

Chromium site profile image  

5/14/13 6:48 PM by Chromium

Invicta is a great fit for Showtime, but I think they'd just like to have some decent Men's MMA to go with it. OneFC seems like the best choice among what's left. DREAM too whenever Glory decides to hold an event with that name (seems like they're looking to do that twice a year or so).

DanTheWolfman site profile image  

5/14/13 6:29 PM by DanTheWolfman

I'd be happy if Invicta ends up there

crumbs site profile image  

5/14/13 5:54 PM by crumbs

What's better is subjective in relation to who's judging it, but I felt SF production pre Zuffa was complete ass, prolonged awkward close ups of fighters while they wait to make the walk, odd cuts and transitions from live action to prefilmedatetial, constant dead air due to the terrible chemistry with the commentating team( miletich was the best of the bunch but he had to answer stupid hypothetical scenarios made by mauro, and frank was brutal is multiple areas).I don't think they had the budget to even be close to the execution level of Zuffa, or ESPN, fox sports, as far as production, and to me it showed.

Big Pun site profile image  

5/14/13 4:54 PM by Big Pun

Espinoza is a complete tool. He's a huge part of why they lost Strikeforce. I seriously doubt Dana sees it as bygones are bygones.