(Photo courtesy Lion Fight/ Bennie Palmore)
It was 14 year ago when the fledgling HDNet decided it wanted in the MMA game. In 2018 as AXS TV Fights, it has proven to be an outlet to build stars.
AXS TV will be featuring the history of fighting on the network in “Cageside 400” Friday night at 6 p.m. pst/9 p.m. est. The special will feature commentators, analysts, and others who worked on events over the past 11 years.
The network did its part to grow both the Muay Thai and MMA women’s MMA divisions right from the beginning.
Their very first MMA broadcast saw their first foray into the women’s divisions, with a bout between Adrienna Jenkins and Keri Scarr at WEC 9 in 2004.
Only four years later, a rookie by the name of Miesha Tate fought Elaina Maxwell on a Strikeforce event broadcast on the network. Tate would be the first of several future UFC champions to grace the network, which include Holly Holm, and Cris “Cyborg” Justino.
Other UFC stars also made their presence know on the network include:
- Valentina Shevchenko
- Carla Esparza
- Felice Herrig
- Cynthia Calvillo
- Cortney Casey
- Mackenzie Dern
- Heather Clark
- Pearl Gonzalez (now in Invicta)
- Andrea Lee – who is making her UFC debut this weekend.
LFA champion Sabina Mazo maybe joining them as she will take part of the Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series this summer.
The network was also home to two of the bigger upsets in female fighting history.
The first saw now UFC star Ashlee Evans-Smith hand transgender fight Fallon Fox her first and only loss to win the CFA featherweight title. The match was controversial as Fox, who was born a man, had gender realignment surgery and competed as a female. Smith dominated a god portion of the fight, finally getting a third round TKO to the delight of a very partisan crowd.
In what was one of the very few times she lostmin a combat sport, current UFC champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino was defeated by the best female Muay Thai specialist on the planet Jorina Baars. Cyborg, who dominate over Jennifer Colomb in her second Muay Thai fight, had in hands full in the undefeated Baars, who knocked down Cyborg twice – the only woman to do so.
Speaking of Muay Thai, Tiffany van Soest also made her star shine on the network for the Lion Fights promotion, and went on to fight in Invicta and Bellator.
One of the staples of the network at one time was XFC, which saw a tournament to crown a flyweight champion. In the end, it was Pearl Gonzalez getting her hand raised for her professional first title.
In two of her final bouts, the legend Megumi Fujii also graced her presence on the network in fights broadcast live from Japan in 2010 and 2011.
After so many historical moments, the future is still bright for AXS TV fights, who looks to continue building stars under the LFA and CES promotions in MMA and Lion fights for Muay Thai.
Here is to another 400 events and plenty of stars to come.