One of the longtime homes of regional MMA is undergoing a major structural change.
Earlier this week, Canadian based company Anthem Sports & Entertainment acquired a majority stake in AXS TV and its subsidiary HDNet Movies. AXS TV, founded by billionaire businessman Mark Cuban, has aired regional MMA events for more than a decade, but Legacy Fighting Alliance is the only promotion they’ve televised in 2019, and this week could be the network’s final event.
AXS TV reporter Phoenix Carnevale revealed the news on Twitter, with LFA 76 airing this Friday night from Wichita, Kansas.
This is our last MMA show. I hope you guys are watching. https://t.co/rWBdTRvObj— phoenix carnevale (@microphonephoen) September 11, 2019
According to an official statement from AXS TV, “Anthem hasn’t made any decisions regarding current programming.”
Dating back to when AXS TV was originally branded as HDNet, the cable channel has been the home for promotions such as Strikeforce, DREAM, Sengoku, Titan FC, Lion Fight, CES MMA, Resurrection Fighting Alliance, and Legacy Fighting Championships (before Legacy FC and RFA merged together to form Legacy Fighting Alliance in 2016). From 2007-2016, Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten hosted Inside MMA, a popular program covering the sport through interviews, news segments, and analysis and highlights from MMA events around the world.
Immediately following Anthem Sports’ purchase, more than 40 AXS TV employees were laid off, with one source telling The Wrap that these firings “disproportionately impacted the fight and concert teams.” Adam Swift, producer of its New Japan Pro Wrestling broadcasts, announced his departure on Twitter. It should be noted that Anthem Sports is the majority owner of Impact Wrestling (which will now move to AXS TV), as well as Fight Channel in Canada.
There’s no word yet on what this potentially means for future LFA cards, but if AXS TV does fold up its MMA division, it would not be surprising if they end up joining CES MMA on UFC Fight Pass, which is slated to have a major relaunch in October.
So mark your calendar for September 13th, because this might be the last time you ever see an MMA card on AXS TV.