In a groundbreaking development, the PRIDE Fighting Championships promotion has landed a television deal with Fox Sports Network, according to a report from the website MMA Weekly Monday.
The deal, which has been in the works for several weeks, will give PRIDE television exposure in the United States that it hasn’t had to promote its PPV shows. The show will air Sundays at 9 pm.
Mixed-martial arts has largely been on the upswing lately and much of this deal rested on the recent television success of the Ultimate Fighting Championships. UFC specials have aired on FSN to relatively high ratings in the past and a more recent special and reality show have been successful on Spike TV.
The UFC season resumes July 25, with a 1-hour taped special after RAW at 11:05 pm. These specials will air weekly through August 22, when the second season of Ultimate Fighter begins. A live special airs on August 6.
The PRIDE debut on FSN has no official start date.
For a company whose DVD sales and PPV sales have rested entirely on a hardcore base of fans who have sought the programs out, a venue to promote the shows further nationally is seen as a positive move.
*The new MMA group that has run two successful shows, Hero’s, will run again on September 7. The show will feature the first round of a 154-pound tournament. On the drawing power of new star Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto and Bob Sapp, the second show drew a sellout of 10,697 and a 16.6 rating on TBS, beating baseball competitively.
*Results from Bushido volume 8 in Nagoya, Japan on 7/17: (audience claimed of 9,784) Josh Thomson d Daisuke “Amazon” Sugie in 2:35 of the first round; Dennis Kang d Andrei Semenov by unanimous decision; Marcus Aurelia d Jutaro Nakao by unanimous decision; Kazuki Okubo d Ryuichi Murata in 9:30 of the first round; James Thompson d Henry “Sentoryu” Miller in 1:31 of the first round by knockout; Joachim Hansen d Masakazu Imanari in 2:34 of the first round by knockout; Daniel Acacio d Kazuo Misaki by unanimous decision; Tatsuya Kawajiri d Luiz Buscape by unanimous decision; Ikuhisa Minowa d Kimo in 3:11 of the first round by submission; Phil Baroni d Ryo Chonan in 1:40 of the first round by knockout; Takanori Gomi b Jean “White Bear” Silva by unanimous decision. This show airs next Friday on tape delay in the US.