Not since HBO Boxing shut its doors in 2018 has there been such a massive shakeup in the combat sports world. Per Sports Business Journal, Paramount will be shutting down Showtime Sports by the end of 2023. This news was revealed in a story by Yahoo’s Kevin Iole on Tuesday.
Showtime Sports, which has been around for over 35 years years, has been home to Premier Boxing Champions and Bellator MMA in recent times. There will be a few layoffs, including Showtime Sports’ President Stephen Espinoza, and it is not expected that boxing or MMA will carry over to CBS Sports or Paramount+.
Per Mike Coppinger of ESPN, Al Haymon’s PBC is looking into broadcast deals with Amazon Prime Video and DAZN. At present, DAZN has a partnership with Matchroom Boxing and the Professional Fighters League.
“As we evolve our strategy to more efficiently allocate resources and align our content offering across the business, we’ve made the difficult decision not to move forward with boxing and other content produced by the Showtime sports team,” Paramount Global sent to SBJ.
“Showtime will continue to air and support the remaining 2023 boxing slate and honor obligations through the end of the year.”
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Since 1986, Showtime Boxing has been a staple of the sport. Fights shown through the brand include Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. John Mugabi (the first fight for Showtime), Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield 1 and 2, Christy Martin vs. Deirdre Gogarty, Pernell Whitaker vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor.
Mayweather, Tyson, and Holyfield were staples and helped the brand grow into a combat sports powerhouse.
“The company’s decision is not a reflection of the work we have done in recent years, nor of our long and proud history. … Unfortunately, in a rapidly evolving media marketplace, the company has had to make difficult choices allocating resources, resetting priorities and reshaping its content offering,” Espinoza stated via SBJ. “While today’s news is certainly difficult and disappointing, it is entirely out of our control.”
Showtime recently delivered two big fights in 2023 when Gervonta Davis fought Ryan Garcia and Errol Spence Jr. fought Terence Crawford. Canelo recently signed a three-fight deal with PBC, fighting Jermell Charlo in September.
Showtime has a few remaining fight nights on the schedule to end 2023, including:
- November 17: Bellator 301: Yaroslav Amosov (c) vs. Jason Jackson for the Bellator welterweight title and Sergio Pettis (c) vs. Patchy Mix (ic) for the Bellator bantamweight title
- November 25: David Benavidez (c) and Demetrius Andrade for the interim WBC super middleweight title
- December 9: A rumored boxing card, featuring Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, and a Floyd Mayweather exhibition bout
There is also a rumor that Bellator MMA, on Showtime since 2021, will be dissolved or bought by the PFL. Paramount owns Bellator outright but has been seeking potential buyers for months.
The Sporting News will provide further information on this development, including the future of PBC and Bellator, when more information is available.
Top fighters signed to Premier Boxing Champions
- Canelo Alvarez
- Demetrius Andrade
- David Benavidez
- Chris Colbert
- Jermell Charlo
- Jermall Charlo
- Gervonta Davis
- Stephen Fulton
- Danny Garcia
- Caleb Plant
- Andy Ruiz Jr.
- Errol Spence Jr.
- Keith Thurman
- Tim Tszyu
- Yordenis Ugas
- Deontay Wilder