The night’s action features headliners Kevin Ross and Michael Thompson battling for LION FIGHT’s inaugural super lightweight championship, former LION FIGHT featherweight champion Tiffany “Timebomb” Van Soest taking on Italy’s Sindy Huyer in the co-main event, and Thailand’s Rungravee Sasiprapa making his LION FIGHT debut versus Adrian Morilla. For the first time ever, LION FIGHT’s event is presented as part of the UFC’s “International Fight Week.”
Lending their iconic voices and adding in-depth analysis to the AXS TV FIGHTS broadcast, five-time MMA world champion Pat Miletich and award-winning sports journalist and renowned commentator Michael “The Voice” Schiavello are ringside, providing live play-by-play and color commentary throughout the night. In-between the action, the broadcast features special segments highlighting the network’s remarkable history, including footage from Miletich’s 2008 retirement fight and highlights from past international event coverage.
Leading up to the broadcast, AXS TV FIGHTS presents a special edition of INSIDE MMA, which airs live, on site in Las Vegas. Series hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten alongside correspondent Ron Kruck are joined by Miletich and Schiavello as they welcome AXS TV FIGHTS alumni and relive some of the most memorable moments from AXS TV FIGHTS.
“When I started AXS TV (formerly HDNET), both high-definition TV and MMA were in their infancy. I saw a huge opportunity for AXS TV to be a leader in what later became the fastest growing sport in America,” said Mark Cuban, AXS TV Founder. “Some 10 years and 250 fights later, this event on July 4 is a testament to the power of the sport and the unwavering support of its fans.”
“Thanks to our broadcast partnerships with some of the finest promotions in combat sports, AXS TV Fights has been able to accomplish this unprecedented achievement broadcasting 250 fights,” said AXS TV FIGHTS CEO Andrew Simon. “For over a decade, we have scanned the globe to bring our viewers the best MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing. I want to say thank you to all the promotions, fighters and fans that have contributed to our long-term success.”
“We are excited to present Lion Fight 16 on the Fourth of July and to be the 250th fight broadcast on AXS TV,” said Scott Kent, Lion Fight Founder and CEO. “I give my congratulations and appreciation to Mark Cuban and Andrew Simon for recognizing the potential of Lion Fight. I also want to thank UFC owners Dana White and Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta for making us the first-ever professional combat sports organization to take part in their International Fight Week extravaganza. Fight fans are fired up for Lion Fight 16 and the historic nature of this world class Muay Thai event.”
From the beginning at World Extreme Cagefighting’s “WEC 9: Cold Blooded” on January 16, 2004 to the premiere of AXS TV FIGHTS: LION FIGHT 16 on July 4, 2014, AXS TV FIGHTS—formerly HDNET FIGHTS—has broadcast 250 mixed martial arts and kickboxing events, the most of any television network. Originally broadcasting each event under its given promotional title, HDNET adopted the name HDNET FIGHTS to all of its combat sports coverage in 2007 after broadcasting two MMA events promoted by Cuban with the same title: “HDNET FIGHTS: Initiation Night” and “HDNET FIGHTS: Reckless Abandon.” Five years later, in conjunction with the 2012 partnership between Cuban, AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media, Creative Arts Agency (CAA) and CBS, HDNET FIGHTS was renamed AXS TV FIGHTS to align with the channel’s rebrand from HDNET to AXS TV.
In 10 years of combat sports broadcasting, AXS TV FIGHTS has traveled to 20 different countries covering over 1,500 individual matches with 41 different fight promotions. From past partnerships with top promotions such as Affliction, DREAM, GLORY, the International Fight League (IFL), K-1, ProElite, Strikeforce and WEC to current deals with world-class organizations like Legacy Fighting Championship (Legacy FC), LION FIGHT, Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC) and Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA); AXS TV FIGHTS has continued its dedication to high-level MMA and kickboxing event broadcasting.
Over the years, AXS TV FIGHTS has amassed an extensive list of notable alumni who have risen to stardom through their exposure on the network. Well-known examples include Benson Henderson, who climbed the ranks during AXS TV FIGHTS’ coverage of the MFC; Urijah Faber, who made his WEC debut at “WEC 19 – Undisputed” in 2006; and Muhammed Lawal, whose popularity in the U.S. began with his MMA television debut while headlining the Japan-based “HDNET FIGHTS: Sengoku 7” in 2009. AXS TV FIGHTS also boasts a strong connection with one of the most decorated fighters in combat sports history, Fedor Emelianenko, whose multiple appearances on the network include his first ever live free TV fight on North American cable television at Yarrenoka on New Year’s Eve 2007 to “Affliction – Day of Reckoning” and his final fight in Japan at “DREAM – Fight for Japan: Genki Desu Ka! New Year! 2011.”
Claiming its place in MMA history, AXS TV FIGHTS has brought some of the sport’s most exciting matchups to a national audience. From 2007 to 2008, the network’s coverage of the IFL featured the dominance of Roy Nelson as he won and twice defended the heavyweight title. In June 2008, the nation experienced the beginning of what has become one of the greatest MMA rivalries over the last decade when Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez faced off for the first time on HDNET’s exclusive coverage of “Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson.”
In recent years, AXS TV FIGHTS has continued to showcase the next generation of MMA and kickboxing stars, such as headline-grabbing women’s MMA phenom Holly Holm and her rise to the spotlight fighting for Legacy FC. Other celebrated fighters include LION FIGHT’s home-grown Muay Thai superstars Kevin Ross and Tiffany Van Soest; current MFC champions Anthony Hamilton and Sam Alvey, who have each won and defended their titles in electrifying manner; and RFA’s recent flyweight champion Matt Manzanares and middleweight championship contender Andrew Sanchez.
Looking toward the future, AXS TV FIGHTS is on pace to produce 36 live events in 2014. Preceding the July 4 event, AXS TV FIGHTS presents RFA 15 (June 6), Legacy FC 31 (June 13) and Legacy FC 32 (June 20) and rounding out the month of July are Legacy FC 33 (July 18) and RFA 16 (July 25).
ABOUT AXS TV FIGHTS
AXS TV Fights presents more LIVE mixed martial arts and kickboxing events than any other television network with 36+ LIVE world-class fight cards each year. Michael “The Voice” Schiavello and five-time MMA world champion Pat Miletich call all the action as champions, challengers, and top prospects take center stage every Friday night at 10pE/7pP. AXS TV Fights can be found online, on Facebook and on Twitter. AXS TV is widely distributed in the U.S. via AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH, Suddenlink, Verizon FiOS, and other cable, satellite and telco providers. The network is also carried in Canada and the Caribbean.