(Partnering with the WWE for MMA events is not something to cheer about, Dude.)
In an e-mail exchange with Mark Cuban on Thursday, The Edmonton Sun posed some questions regarding the 49-year-old gazillionaire’s involvement in MMA and where HDNet’s participation in the sport was headed. Cuban’s HDNet most recently broadcast MFC 15: Rags to Riches last Friday, where Pete Spratt was choked out by Ryan Ford. The channel has been partnering with several organizations this year to become the MMA broadcast king – including showing their own HDNet Fights.
Q: Why did you decide to carry so much MMA content on HDNet? (The channel has created the HDNet Fights brand.)
A: “We think MMA is just starting to take off. It’s a great sport that combines athleticism and strategy and of course toughness that is just starting to go mainstream.
“It’s a great opportunity for HDNet to gain viewers in the U.S. and Canada.”
Cuban goes on to speak of his love for MMA and his plans to attend scores of live events in the near future. And he plans on keeping HDNet on track to get MMA in every house.
Q: Where will MMA be in five years on the North American sports map?
A: “If we can put the focus on the athletes rather than the promoter, the sky is the limit.”
Q: In a crowded TV universe, where will HDNet be in five years?
A: “We are growing by leaps and bounds. In Canada alone, we are increasing our (subscribers) by as much as 10% per month. We are excited about our future.”
Q: Are you trying to form an MMA company to rival the UFC? Are you thinking of involving the McMahon family from the WWE?
A: “Absolutely. We are looking to partner where we can, do our own promotions where it makes sense. We think the future is built around the fighters and their personalities. No one else has this focus and partnership approach. We think it’s a winner.”
Uh-Oh. That’s what we were afraid of. It’s been rumored that the WWE heads were eyeing MMA, but we remembered the monstrosity that was the money-losing XFL and were hopeful they’d be scared away from a new sport venture. However, when Cuban starts talking, action generally follows. There’s no doubt that the McMahons go where the money is and they’ve seen what HDNet has done with MMA. They certainly recognize the vast potential of MMA and the cross-over possibilities with pro wrestling stars like Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle – resulting in more shitty movies that still make loads of cash, double the sponsorships, etc. Unfortunately, we all know where McMahon-backed MMA promotions would go.
Damn you, Mark Cuban. Just when you were doing so much good – aside from that “Dancing with the Stars” thing – you decide to sell your MMA soul. Please come back to us.