I didn’t hear any noise from Mark Cuban following this weekend’s HDNet Fights event and was very curious as to what he thought about the second show and the future of the promotion. So, I decided to email the man himself. His thoughts are below.
Ariel Helwani: After the first HDNet Fights show you were somewhat critical of the overall production of the event – what were your thoughts on this weekend?
Mark Cuban: I thought it was far far better. The pacing was better, the integration with all the technology in the arena was better. I think we have some areas to improve on but now we are into optimizing rather than inventing – which is a good thing
AH: What, if anything, are you looking to improve for the next show in February?
MC: I think we need to do a better job of mic’ing the ring so the people away from the cage can hear what is going on better. It adds a lot of energy to the experience. I think we can improve the entrances of the fighters starting at the locker rooms rather than where they appear on stage and a couple other little things.
AH: What did you think of Mayhem Miller’s entrance?
MC: I love everything Mayhem does for entertainment. He is a pro at it. I put him up there with Paris Hilton.
AH: How long have you been interested in MMA?
MC: About 5 years.
AH: The Internet has been buzzing over all the MMA celebrities that attended the event – some of which are soon-to-be free agents. Will your company look to break the bank in order to sign a guy like Randy Couture or Andrei Arlovski or is it important to be cautious with your spending at this point?
MC: We aren’t break the bank types. That doesn’t work in MMA. You have to build a business and introduce the right fighters and treat them well and make sure the fans get a great show. Where the opportunity is right, we will certainly match the best fighters available and try to make sure they want to always come back and fight on our cards or the cards of our partners. I’m the say way I am in the NBA – opportunistic. If there is an opportunity that makes sense, I will make whatever investment is necessary to be successful
AH: At some point, will you look to sign your fighters to exclusive contracts?
MC: We may sign exclusives but there will always be mutual outs. The problem with exclusives is that if a fighter loses it can kill his career. There have been many great fighters who have been upset or lost two in a row. In an exclusive contract arrangement, its hard to fight them because of the pressure to put together the best possible card. Thats a problem UFC fighters have. If you win, life is good. If you lose, you never quite know how you are going to work your way back to the top (unless you are a huge PPV draw name). With non-exclusives, we can partner with other promoters and let someone who lost on HDNet Fights work their way back up, build some momentum and if they have truly gotten better, compete again at the top. It goes the other way as well. Someone who lost in the IFL, Pro Elite etc. can fight on our cards. Particularly if they are local and work their way back up to being part of a marquee match-up.
AH: What’s up with the UFC not allowing you to show footage of their events on “Inside MMA?” Are you surprised at how guarded they are?
MC: Ask them. The only thing I have seen from the UFC is that they have a lot of lawyers that they pay more than many of their fighters
AH: Finally, did you enjoy walking out to the ring with Pretty Boy Floyd last weekend?
MC: It was a blast. I was thrilled to see Floyd win. He is truly a great guy and we are talking about how to get him involved in MMA. But, honestly, watching Mayhem vs. Kennedy was better. I just like MMA a lot more than boxing.