Showtime wants to get back into MMA.
The premium cable network was a fixture for nearly seven years as the home of Strikeforce. But with Strikeforce bidding adieu, Showtime is looking for new players in the game.
Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza was a guest on Monday’s The MMA hour and he predicted that the network will have something up and going by the end of the year or early 2014.
“I definitely want it back. I think we, as a company, want it back,” Espinoza said. “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.”
Espinoza mentioned a potential partnership with Invicta FC but at this stage in the game that would be mere speculation.
“If there was an obvious choice or a clear choice about getting back into MMA, we would’ve done it already,” he said. “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.”
Espinoza said that Showtime has looked at some international promotions as well and mentioned that his biggest goal is, “figuring a way back into MMA.”