(Props: AXS TV)
You may know Casey Oxendine as the MMA: Inside the Cage co-host with the most hated-on goatee in sports media. (If that doesn’t ring a bell, maybe you remember the “referee KO’s cornerman after fight” video we posted a while back. Yep, that was him too.) A longtime crusader for MMA regulation and awareness both locally and globally, Casey has signed on as co-host and American promoter for Hip Show: Arena Combat, the Russian 2-on-2 fight league that will make its North American broadcast debut on AXS TV this Friday, March 14th.
Although Hip Show has been building a strong fanbase in Russia since 2012, not everybody is on board with team-based MMA on an obstacle course. When we first announced our sponsorship of the 3/14 broadcast, we were hit with numerous negative comments from readers who called Hip Show a “spectacle,” “freak-show crap,” and ”absolutely unacceptable to anyone who respects combat sports.” We called up Casey last week to discuss why team-fighting isn’t as crazy as it seems, the irony of MMA fans calling it a novelty act, and his current efforts to hold Hip Show events in the U.S.
Whether you think Hip Show looks badass or you think it’s a sign of the end-times, please tune in to AXS TV this Friday night at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT and give it a chance. (You can also follow the league on Twitter and Facebook.) Now on to the interview…
CAGEPOTATO: How did you and Cyrus Fees get this gig in the first place? Did you approach Hip Show to work on an English-language broadcast, or did they approach you?
CASEY OXENDINE: We saw Hip Show about a year ago, and we were like, “Wow, this is the craziest thing we’ve ever witnessed in our lives.” We started to get in contact with them because of our show MMA: Inside the Cage — we wanted to cover it, and to talk with them about exactly what we were seeing. They wanted to take this thing bigger than just Russia, where it’s been extremely popular. So through that course of action, we began repackaging a lot of their first-season footage into episodes and so forth to get it aired here in America, so that the English-speaking [market] could understand what was going on. From there, it evolved into what it is now.
We got in touch with [AXS TV Fights CEO] Andrew Simon — Cyrus had worked as a ring announcer for XFC on AXS TV — Andrew took a look at it and he’s like, “Man, this is really cool.” Then Andrew cleared it through Mark Cuban himself, which was really neat, and they said, “Go for it. We’re going to give you a two-hour special, let’s show the world what this is all about.”
What made you think that Hip Show had the potential to be more than just a novelty act?