Interview with HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon (August 21, 2009)

As recently reported on FightTicker.com, HDNet will celebrate their centennial episode tonight, August 21st. I was able to shoot a few questions to some of the people involved with the show. The first interview was with Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. An interview with Kenny Rice will follow, and I was not able to interview Bas Rutten as he was busy with another project.

Check after the jump to hear what Simon had to say about the first 100 episodes of HDNet, and what we can look forward to in the future.

Brian Furby: Thinking back to when the idea for Inside MMA was first conceived, is the show where you thought it would be as we head into the centennial episode?

Andrew Simon: The show has evolved quite a bit through 100 episodes, but the premise of being the best news show for MMA on television remains the same. I think the production improved this year and the level of guests continues to rise. When we first started, I never would have guessed that we would have featured 135 different fight promotions in 39 states and 12 different countries! The sport has become a global phenomenon.

Brian Furby: How did you select Bas Rutten, Kenny Rice and Ron Kruck?

Andrew Simon: I will give credit to Mark (Cuban). He is a huge follower of MMA and assembled the cast right around the time I started with HDNet

Brian Furby: What’s it like working with Guy Mezger?

Andrew Simon: Guy is incredible to work with. For a legend of the sport, Guy is incredibly humble and eager to work on new projects. His latest role in the commentary booth shows the fans how much Guy really knows about the sport.

Brian Furby: Are you a fan of MMA, and if so, what has been your favorite moment on the show so far?

Andrew Simon: I am fortunate to be involved in a sport and career I love. I watched MMA for over 15 years and have been involved on the cable and PPV side of the business for a long period of time. I am not sure I have one favorite moment, but I am proud of the Bassie award show last year. Watching Gina Carano tape her acceptance speech while holding a Bas bobblehead makes me smile.

Brian Furby: You have had a distinguished career in the media industry – how does working for HDNet compare with some of your prior experiences?

Andrew Simon: Working for HDNet has been like being on the bullet train in Japan going 200 mph. It has been an incredible ride building HDNet as The Home of MMA! In the past 2 years we have built up HDNet where we broadcast more MMA than any network in the world. I have had the opportunity to work with great companies (Mirage, COX, etc) and great executives in my career, but I can say no one works harder than HDNet owner Mark Cuban. There is a reason he is one of the great entrepreneurs of our time….he is passionate and never stops learning and pushing the envelope. His understanding of MMA and all the businesses he is involved with is unparalleled in business. I would recommend people read blogmaverick.com for learnings that you won’t read in a book!

Brian Furby: What can we expect to see over the next 100 episodes?

Andrew Simon: More Inside MMA on the road like this past weekend at Strikeforce. It’s great doing the show LIVE….the excitement and the crowds help make the show even better.

Brian Furby: Based on the success of Inside MMA, are there plans for HDNet to further expand its original MMA-based content?

Andrew Simon: Yes, we just added MMA Worldwide and plan to add more fights and original series!

Thanks to Mr. Simon for taking some time to answer the questions. I have always enjoyed Inside MMA and the idea of more MMA programming makes me happy.

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