HDNet and MMA = Happy Customers

if you dont follow Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), you could not possibly understand how loyal and rabid fans of the sport are.  When people talk about fans that take supporting their favorites to extremes they usually use Nascar fans as examples.  Well write it down. MMA fans blow Nascar fans away. Thats not a knock on Nascar fans, its a tribute to MMA fans.

  Unlike the NBA, NHL and NFL,  the only athletes getting paid a lot of money to wear T Shirts are MMA fighters.There is a reason that fighters get paid a lot of money by sponsors to wear their apparel. It works.   Walk down any crowded street or through any mall and you are going to see guys wearing shirts and gear from TapOut, Affliction and others.  These are not discount brands. They are brands that MMA fans happily pay a premium for.

That loyalty extends far beyond clothing and fighters. We have been very fortunate at HDNet to experience that loyalty.  HDNet offers more live MMA events than every other network combined.  While everyone else wants to make you pay extra on PPV for their fights.  All of ours are free. And we continue to expand our offerings to feature the best fighters and fights from around the world. In all weight classes.  And we hope to have significant additions to our events roster to announce in the near future. 

Beyond live events, we have the only weekly news show dedicated to Mixed Martial Arts on television.  Our show, Inside MMA has been called the Sportscenter of MMA.  Featuring incomparable Bas Ruten and Kenny Rice, it brings the latest news and interviews and every week features a guest panel with the biggest names in the sport, Fedor, Couture, St. Pierre, Rashad Evans, Mayhem Miller  and many, many more.  

Combine that with ongoing original shows like the M-1 Challenge and the loyalty from our MMA viewers has been amazing.

Its obvious that some TV distributors don’t quite understand the size and loyalty of MMA fans, but I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all HDNet subscribers and MMA fans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in supporting our growth.  While we can’t win every battle, we continue our ascent having at least doubled our number of subscribers in every year of our existance with no signs of let up. In particular, I wanted to share an email that exemplifies many that I have received. I could not have said it any better



I Want My MMA! 

I had to jump through a few hoops this week to get it.

 I’ve been a very disgruntled Time Warner Cable customer. I’ll spare you the laundry list of customer service issues I’ve suffered through. It turns out that none of the issues were a true deal breaker. Time Warner Cable’s legal notice earlier this week that HDNet would be dropped from their channel line-up at the end of this month was that deal breaker. I finally pulled the trigger. On Monday evening, I called Dish Network and scheduled an installation appointment. It took some convincing to get my landlord to sign off on the installation-agreement form. (You have to know my landlord to understand why that is easier said than done.) I got the form signed, and I successfully made the switch to satellite yesterday. Today, I’m visiting my local TWC office to drop off both of their lousy Motorola dvr set-top boxes. 

Dropping HDNet was Time Warner Cable’s last straw. I’m a huge MMA fan. If I’m going to pay a lot of money every month for television, the service provider must have HDNet. The first thing I do every Friday evening when I get home from a long week of work is tune in to Bas Rutten on Inside MMA. I pull all-nighters watching the live broadcasts of Dream and Sengoku from Japan. There is no way I’m going to miss the ‘roid raging freak Jose Canseco get his ass handed to him by a 7″ tall Korean freak show in the early morning hours of next Tuesday.

When asked why Time Warner Cable was dropping HDNet, Multichannel.com reported TWC director of corporate public relations executive Robyn Watson as stating “There’s limited appeal for the programming.”

I feel this statement is a bit shortsighted. HDNet broadcasts an extensive amount of the best non-UFC branded mixed martial arts programming. The sport is growing rapidly, and so is the audience. Do they understand that are dropping a revenue stream with excellent growth potential. Do the TWC executives not realize that even though HDNet doesn’t carry UFC programming, they will be losing subscribers like myself that spend upwards of $50 monthly on UFC pay-per-view events?

Mr. Cuban, I’m not writing just to kiss your ass. I do have a question for you.  Are you going to be able to close the deal when HDNet’s contract with Dish Network is up for renegotiation? I have no clue as to when your deal with Dish Network ends, and I signed a 2-year agreement as a new subscriber. Needlees to say, the early termination penalty is fairly stiff.

Thank you for your time,


My response: Dear Chris, we just signed an extension with Dish Network. So you are safe for  years to come. Enjoy our programming and make sure to tell your friends !



27 thoughts on “HDNet and MMA = Happy Customers

  1. Thankfully Comcast has seen fit to keep HDNet in my local line-up. The sad part is that even after spending 20+ years in the cable industry, HDNet is one of the few channels that keeps me paying for cable service and not relying solely on my Roku and AppleTV to receive television content.

    Comment by topmounter -

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  4. Affliction, tapout and all the others have been showing up at Marshalls and Ross for months. That trend is soon to die. MMA might still be popular but those brands are at the point where you look foolish wearing any of them.

    You may not shop at Ross (obviously) but for a long time (actually well over a year, this doesn’t apply to Affliction) the shirt racks have been dominated by MMA gear, Tapout and One More mostly but there are many others… Affliction held on to their brand equity a bit longer but very few people think that its cool anyore (aside from the clueless that still wear it). It is soon to go the way of Von Dutch (when was the last time you saw anyone wearing that who wasn’t wearing it while doing blue collar work in the Texas heat?).

    I think the growth of MMA will continue but the clothing is dead.

    Comment by edwarddfw78 -

  5. 2010 US MMA Championships (Only for Americans Fighters) suite…

    100 000$ for the championships winners
    50 000$ for the championships losers
    (75 000$ for draws)
    10 000$ for the semifinalists winners
    5000$ for the semifinalists losers
    (7500$ for draws)

    Total by event (14 fights): 1 150 000$
    Total by year (3 Events): 3 450 000$
    Grand Slam Jackpots (3 championships win of 3 in the same year): 200 000$

    Comment by jimmyadams1 -

  6. 2010 US MMA Championships (Only for Americans Fighters)

    3 Championships by year and by class, In April, in August, and in December

    14 Fights by Event, 7 Titles Championships bouts & 7 Challengers bouts (Championships Semifinals)

    Seven Weight class: Lightweight (160 pounds), Welterweight (170 pounds), Middleweight (180 pounds), Super Middleweight (190 pounds), Light Heavyweight (200 pounds), Cruiserweight (210 pounds), Heavyweight (+210 pounds)

    Comment by jimmyadams1 -

  7. I just called and dropped my HD tier. When I ordered it, I asked for the tier that included HD Net. Now that it is gone, it isn’t worth the extra $$$ for me.

    I wish I could use a Dish where I live.


    Comment by sirsha -

  8. My condolences on the Time Warner decision. I was hoping that there would be a game saving three at the final hour on May 28. The whole thing seems a bit fishy to me and does not sit well in my stomach. Like another player involved. But who the hell knows?

    I was on espn and checking out Bill Simmons blog the only one that has a pulse and was glad to see you as the guest. I learned a lot. So genetics ehh?

    Sorry about last post misclick.

    Mark Farwell
    WW espn

    Comment by wildwhitewoody -

  9. My condolences on the Time Warner decision. I was hoping that there would be a game saving three at the final hour on May 28. The whole thing seems a bit fishy to me and does not sit well in my stomach. Like another player involved. But who the hell knows?

    I was on espn and checking out Bill Simmons blog the only one that has a pulse and was gla

    Comment by wildwhitewoody -

  10. Hey Mark!
    I came across your stimulus package late! Are you going to re-open that soon! I’ve got a great basketball ideal, that for the life of me, can’t understand why the NBA has not done yet! I’m doing a real-life NBA Fantasy League, that will allow players to live out their hoop dreams! We play a round-robin regular season and each round of the play-offs will be a best of 5 games series! We play with NBA rules, we got shot-clocks, play for replica championship rings, we will keep players stats and post them to our website at http://www.premierehoops.com! We even use NBA city names, not the NBA team names, for our squads, to keep David Stern off of us, once we blow-up! We could eventually buy NBA replica uniforms, or at least NBA Logo Tee-shirts! We also will be selling DVD copies of all games to the players! We’ll also look to set up some e-commerce and sell tee shirts and sweaters, with our logos, on our website! We’ll also use our website to post pictures and videos clips from the games! Post game predictions! And use stuff like You Tube to do Sports Center style stuff for our customers! The players love the concept, likes it’s their second chance at the NBA! We start play June 6, 2009! This is all a stepping stone, to the opening of our state-of-the-art, basketball complex, which we hope to break ground on very soon! Everything is on the website, mentioned above!

    Thanks for your time!

    Comment by maine1970 -

  11. The fact that the UFC is not present in Dallas because of business competition is ridiculous…HDNET Fights is great, but UFC is the king and Dallas people deserve some UFC at the AAC…come on!

    Comment by biggsy -

  12. MC,
    Are you officially out on entertaining MLB ownership now…or is it that they are “out” on considering you?

    Does controlling interest in the Rangers seem attractive?
    When I read the news on the Hicks offering, I hoped that your name would be bantered about, but after a few connected thoughts…I determined that its a long-shot after the Cubs deal being squashed.

    I just can’t figure out if they have squared you out of baseball entirely. Are the MLB owners fearful that an ownership tempo like yours would clash too much with the industry or cause havoc with gerrymandering profits? The sport is so into their rituals and traditions, its a very compelling scenario to have someone attempt changes for the better.

    I like the Nolan Ryan philosophy and its brief results, but could it work with your ownership style?

    It doesn’t hurt to dream.


    Comment by clate -

  13. Hey Mark – off-topic but are you still accepting submissions for the open stimulus plan? Comment forms for the old posts are closed.

    Comment by jonathanlove -

  14. Great post Mark. MMA fans are the most loyal fans of any sport. What fan in another sport would buy an $80 tee-shirt? Better yet, buy 7 of them for every day of the week.

    Since starting mmacity.com last fall, we’ve also witnessed the casual fan starting to creep into the fanbase as popular shows such as HDNet Fights, Inside MMA, TUF, etc.. hit the airwaves. We have also witnessed a purist backlash who have no tolerance for newbies.

    I only ask that the hard core purists be patient as newbies ultimately are attracted to the sport for the same reasons as you were and play a huge role in the continuing investment of great programming (tv and internet) and they too will soon be joining you at the bar on PPV night screaming at the big screen and debating who the best pound for pound fighter is (that’s Fedor btw).

    Comment by jayatmmacity -

  15. Unrelated as your contact button doesn’t work, but you should really checkout how poorly huffpo is spinning the Dirk situation and contact them.


    Comment by combs84 -

  16. “In fact, it doesnt matter how many times you strike out. In business, to be a success, you only have to be right once.

    One single solitary time and you are set for life. That’s the beauty of the business world.”

    I ve been reading your blog since you started it and have only now signed up “dont really know what took me so long” but here it goes “MARK YOUR RIGHT” there i said it! I can honestly say ive worked in the coporate world for years! royal bank of canada, investors group, sunlife financial various brokrages and its always the same thing! LIES and more LIES at each stop i worked my way up pass the six figure level to learn its just more lies!

    The reason why i posted your comment from your article about success is this! Do you think you could of been as successful in a market that is only controlled by the few?

    As you can tell I live in Canada and have been debating for years asking myself what the hell am i still doing in this dam country I would have been at the FULEVEL by now! (28 now).

    Although I make a pretty good living I honestly have huge doubts, would it be possible for a succesful american entrepreneur to have the same kinda impact in a country like this, great place to live dont get me wrong but when it comes down to it we have a handful of moveers and shakers who live here.

    Stay with me here but i am getting to the HDNET/MMA topic!

    Do you think your company could compete agaisnt Bell Canada (BCE)or Rogers who happen to own everything under the sun in this country from Cell phones,internet,cable basically every form of telecommunications/media now if you can some how break in to the Artic Tundra (Canada) you will really leave me speechless!

    I really enjoy reading your blogs keep sticking the truth to them MARK, Oh yeah kenyon martin sooooo over rated lol. Looking forward to buying a stake in the toronto raptors in 2020!


    Comment by thenextmarkcuban -

  17. Coming from the roughest, toughest competition the stock market, we dive into the MMA.

    The MMA has a special place in my heart. I received my Black Belt when I was 15 in Taekwondo. It’s ironic the first half of my life was consumed with Martial Arts and the 2nd half was consumed with the Stock Market. Which is tougher? The Stock Market. Fighting opponents in front of me in the ring was easy.

    I remember when the UFC first came out. I was so excited watching Royce Gracie fight a Sumo wrestler that was double his weight and Gracie winning easily. It was just like “Bloodsport” but real.

    I was shocked when I heard the UFC was almost bankrupt and got bought for 2 million.
    Dana White has made it into a powerhouse. It is now worth 1 billion dollars I believe. I am glad he resurrected the UFC and it has some real talented fighters like Canadian George St. Pierre. He is so agile and focused. East to West.

    I am not saying I necessarily want this to occur, I just find it hard to believe that the UFC has no real competitor that can take a large percent of the UFC’s market share. Even the UFC has weaknesses and flaws. I wrote down a page tonight when I was under that big tree sipping green tea and doing my Yoga exercises. Now the MMA is good and if the Time Warner exec’s only want UFC well ……

    That Affliction pay per view was such a great line up of fighters. You know it must of had Mr. White worried. Worried enough to make a free event that night with his most prized fighter doing basically a charity event. This was a pretty good tactic on his part I have to admit.

    Reading your blog really pumped me up to the possibilities of MMA and it is good to hear it has such rabid fans. I also like their shirts and athletic wear it is very edgy and artistic.

    I never knew that HDnet offers the most MMA events and is doubling it’s subscription’s yearly that is quite an accomplishment. Congrats.

    Mark Farwell


    Comment by wildwhitewoody -

  18. I think the MMA fanbase will fade quite a bit over time. Its relatively a new thing on TV. I’ve watched a lot myself but the new has worn off and I’m only inclined to watch the major matches now. Like boxing, eventually you only get big viewership with the top names and top-level competition.

    Comment by jeffindallas -

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  20. The problem is, that if you live in San Francisco and happen to be a comcast customer, you can’t watch HDNet.

    I also wonder why HDNet isn’t experimenting with online broadcasting like Hulu. I’d even pay $ to get all of my HD entertainment online.

    And one additional comment from a low-net-worth entrepreneur wannabe to a proven billionaire: the HDNet website sucks. It can be so much better with very low investment.

    Comment by vestopia -

  21. I agree there are going to be a lot of angry Time Warner subscribers. I pay my hard earned money for cable every month and now they are taking away a couple of my favorite channels. For them to say there is “limited interest” in these channels seems foolish. I would gladly get rid of Lifetime HD, CNBC HD or Hallmark Movie Network HD rather than HDNet. Time Warner should give their subscribers a choice, and if they choose not to I can always switch to Uverse, Direct TV or Dish Network.

    Comment by qotsa1 -

  22. Mark,

    This a great post. We run an MMA Gear blog at gymtops.com and it’s based around the MMA clothing lifestyle. We have a huge amount of followers and we normally do gear giveaways before each UFC event.

    Obviously you named the more generic brands, but there are also brands like Silver Star and Triumph*United who are starting to become really popular with die hard MMA fans as TapouT and Affliction are now considered poser gear.

    On another note, I would have given MMA Warehouse more credit than “other” they truly make up a very solid portion of the MMA marketplace in terms of selling MMA gear online. Name one fighter who hasn’t been spoonsored by these guys. Great job Mika! You guys are truly a remarkable brand.

    Good look Mark with HDNet. I hope it all works out for us real MMA fans.

    Comment by gymtops -

  23. Mark,

    First of all, you are a hero of mine. Thank you for the link, it means a lot to me that you’ve visited our site!

    Secondly, thank you on behalf of everyone here for supporting MMA fighters, promotions, and the industry both big and small via HDNet programming.

    Your post resonates with me because I actually just sent an e-mail to Comcast Chicago earlier this week since they STILL do not offer it in my area (NW suburbs) even though the city upgraded months ago. I’ve heard as far as cities go that our affiliate is one of the worst. It’s killing me that I won’t get to see the DREAM 9 event next week. If there wasn’t a big tree in the way of satellite LOS, I’d have switched to dish already.

    Your post has me so fired up about it again that I’m going to call a satellite installer and see if there’s some way to align either DISH or DirecTV – and maybe I’ll just have to break out a chainsaw! I appreciate that Comcast finally picked up HDNet, but if I can’t get it – it doesn’t mean much to me!

    All the best and keep up the good work!

    Mika Casey
    Chief Executive Officer, MMAWarehouse.com

    Comment by mmawarehouse -

  24. Mark you are totally right. Thank you and your HDNET staff for giving us so much quality MMA and supporting the backbone of the sport.

    The only thing I would change is replacing Kenny Rice with Ron Kruck.

    Comment by pluc61 -

  25. Mark,

    I agree 100% on the loyalty of MMA fans. Do you have a relationship with Dana White? I know that UFC is on Spike, has there been any discussion of putting some of the programing on HDNET?

    Also, when are we going to see UFC at the AAC? If the success of your HDNET fights at the AAC were any indication, I would think that UFC would be a no-brainier to booking a PPV there.

    Comment by kingbrad2534 -

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