Showtime exec downplays 'rumors' of potential Invicta network deal

Esther Lin for Invicta FC

Especially while UFC has a stranglehold on televised MMA.

Showtime Sports Executive Stephen Espinoza recently said his cable television network was interested in getting back into the mixed martial arts (MMA) business (read it), and forecasted a late 2013 or early 2014 return to televised cagefighting.

Or not.

Despite these comments, Espinoza was quick to downplay talk of a specific deal with Invicta FC, the all-female MMA promotion that has quickly become an Internet darling in the shadow of big-money titans like Bellator, owned by Viacom, and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), operating under the ZUFFA umbrella.

Turns out it was just that -- talk -- according to Bleacher Report.

"We'd like it to have a place on Showtime. We're trying to come up with or identify an opportunity for MMA on Showtime. We could have jumped back in really quickly, but we've taken our time. We want it to be something that lasts a long time and we're being pretty cautious about it. I haven't had a single conversation about a specific deal with Invicta. I have spoken to them, but it was very general. Certainly nothing close to discussing a deal with them. We discussed the opportunity, but I've had that kind of meeting with a dozen other promotions as well. I don't know where those rumors are coming from."

Buzz Killington strikes again.

The Showtime network -- which recently acquired the rights to boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. -- is no stranger to MMA, having hosted its share of Strikeforce events, prior to the promotion's untimely demise in the wake of its hostile takeover from UFC.

Oh, and there were a few forgettable M1 events, for whatever that's worth.

The big question now, is whether or not there is room on television for more MMA. Viewers are already inundated with UFC programming on pay-per-view (PPV), as well as the FOX network, while Spike TV saturates the airwaves with Bellator.

Would you, the fight fan, be interested in watching Invicta -- currently airing on PPV -- if it eventually landed on Showtime?

Weigh in.

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