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HDNet signs up some more combat sports

HDNet used to be THE PLACE for Japanese MMA, right up until Japanese MMA collapsed and is in the process of wheezing out a final death rattle. The two major promotions HDNet worked with, DREAM and Sengoku, went from holding 5 and 6 events respectively in 2010 to a grand total of zero so far in 2011. Even DREAM’s solo event at the end of the month may not be televised:

No broadcast plans have been announced for North America, but HDNet is “optimistic” they’ll have a deal in place for the show, a source told (

So what’s a channel like HDNet to do, other than schedule in more Girls Gone Wild and Bikini Destinations? (I wonder if Dan Rather is proud of his new home?) I’d say jettison those sketchy organizations and pick up promotions like Pancrase, Shooto, and DEEP. HDNet hasn’t done that yet, but at least it sounds like they’re still on the prowl for more combat sports content:

We’ve dug pretty deep and found out that It’s Showtime and HDnet finalized a deal earlier this week that will change the kickboxing world as we know it. It’s Showtime has been added to HDnet’s fight library, starting as soon as the May 14th Lyon, France show. That event will be aired on the following Friday at 11pm Eastern time. It is not airing live because of the short notice for the deal working itself out. We do know that Michael Schiavello is in Lyon, France right now most likely to commentate live on the event. To say that HDnet is going to give It’s Showtime the “K-1 treatment” is an understatement.

With FEG basically broke and owing half the Dutch kickboxing community money, it’s a safe bet that It’s Showtime will be stepping in and taking over as top dog. I’ve heard rumors of a K-1 WGP still happening, but good luck with that when FEG may not even be able to afford filming their latest event.