Opinion: Showtime Not Throwing In The Towel On MMA
By Michael Hatamoto
Premium subscription channel Showtime might not be done with MMA quite yet, but company executives will be careful on which promotion is selected in the future.
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza said broadcasting Invicta Fighting Championship could be a possibility in the future. Whatever MMA promotion is selected, expect it to be a US-based promotion, as there are difficulties with co-branding, language issues, and additional costs.
Showtime, which helped usher Strikeforce to a new level before being purchased by Zuffa, was expected to throw in the towel on MMA. I thought the focus would be shift back to boxing – and that still seems like the most obvious option – but embracing MMA, especially a promotion like Invicta FC, could provide a new influx of subscribers.
If Showtime Sports execs are able to actually support MMA and help the sport develop, any effort outside of Zuffa only helps. I am not entirely sure if Invicta FC, a solely WMMA promotion, would help Showtime attract a large number of viewers – but it’s clear there aren’t very many options for stable MMA regional promotions without a broadcast partner.
With Showtime still exploring options, and not in active negotiations with a specific MMA promotion, I doubt anything will happen before the end of the year. It makes no sense to try and promote a hybrid approach of boxing and MMA if the right partner isn’t selected.