HDNet Fights was founded in 2007 by billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, owner and founder of HDNet, as a programming cornerstone to build the new network on. Cuban's goal was to present MMA in a manner more in line with other professional sports, while eliminating ancillary details such as ring card girls. Taking a hands-on approach in the business and promotion of MMA, Cuban became one of the sport’s most vocal defenders in his blogs and interviews. HDNet Fights hosted its first self-promoted event on October 13, 2007, featuring a light-heavyweight main event contest between Erik Paulson and Jeff Ford. The program’s second and final event, Reckless Abandon, was held two months later. Realizing that the company’s strength did not lie in hosting fight cards, Cuban re-vamped the HDNet Fights concept, as HDNet began broadcasting live weekly events from other organizations, including many top regional fight promotions.
After acquiring the rights to air Japanese Fighting and Entertainment Group's MMA promotion Dream in the United States for the first time ever, HDNet premiered a repeat of the Dream 1 event on May 2, 2008. A repeat of Dream 2 aired the following day, and Dream 3 aired live on May 11. On February 6, 2009, HDNet announced they had reached an agreement with another Japanese MMA promotion, and competitor to Dream, World Victory Road. The promotion made its United States debut with a broadcast of its "Sengoku" events, opening with World Victory Road's first event of 2009 on March 20.
Under the HDNet Fights banner, the network’s broadcast lineup included DREAM, Sengoku, K-1 and K-1 Max, Strikeforce, Adrenaline MMA, SportFight, Ring of Fire, Ring of Combat, M-1 Global, Ring of Honor, Maximum Fighting Championship, Affliction Entertainment, Urban Conflict Championship and the now-defunct IFL, among others.
Since its regeneration as AXS TV Fights, the program has become a major fixture in AXS TV's Friday night programming line-up, with the network airing over 40 live events per year. The AXS TV Fights broadcast lineup has featured events from promotions including BAMMA (USA), Legacy Fighting Championship, Lion Fight Muay Thai, Maximum Fighting Championship, Resurrection Fighting Alliance, Titan Fighting Championships, and Xtreme Fighting Championships. In August 2014, the network announced a multi-year deal with CES MMA. The following January, the network joined forces with Legacy Fighting Championship, airing the promotion’s first-ever kickboxing event on January 16, 2015.
On March 14, 2014 AXS TV Fights aired the North American premiere of the Russian Hip Show: Arena Combat. A two-on-two, points-based fighting event on a padded obstacle course instead of a traditional ring or cage. The pilot episode was a two-hour "best of" special, featuring lightweight and middleweight tournaments from 2012. English commentary was provided by Cyrus Fees and Casey Oxendine.
AXS TV Fights' presentation of LION FIGHT 16 on July 4, 2014 was the network's historic 250th fight broadcast.
On March 21, 2015, AXS TV Fights announced it would hold its first ever co-promoted mixed martial arts event featuring fighters from Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) and Legacy Fighting Championship (Legacy) May 8, 2015. The event, titled "AXS TV Fights: RFA vs. Legacy Superfight" included a headlining fight between RFA Flyweight Champion Alexandre Pantoja and Legacy Flyweight Champion Damacio Page, two co-main events featuring intra-organizational title fights for each promotion, and three fights between RFA and Legacy contenders on the main card.
AXS TV Fights broadcast its 300th combat sports event on October 23, 2016 with Lion Fight 25.
On Sept. 19, 2016, RFA president Ed Soares appeared on "The MMA Hour" to announce the merger of RFA and Legacy Fighting Championship to become Legacy Fighting Alliance beginning in 2017. The newly announced promotion also signed a multi-year deal with AXS TV Fights, which includes a scheduled 30 fights in 2017.
On November 24, 2014, AXS TV announced it had acquired the rights to broadcast a series of 13 episodes of New Japan Pro Wrestling, originally produced by TV Asahi with English language commentary from Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett. After premiering in January 2015, the series was given a 12-episode extension which included eight episodes from the 2014 G1 Climax tournament.
AXS TV announced a multi-year agreement with TV Asahi on July 23, 2015, to continue to air the series. The agreement added 17 additional episodes to the first season, bringing the total number aired in 2015 to 42.
On January 19, 2016, AXS TV announced WWE Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Ross would join the show beginning March 4, 2016, replacing Ranallo, who had left the show to join WWE.
UFC Hall of Famer, and founder of Miletich Fighting Systems, Pat Miletich and award-winning sports journalist, writer, commentator and television personality "The Voice" Michael Schiavello provide live play-by-play commentary for AXS TV Fights' broadcast coverage. Since 2010, Schiavello also conducts one-on-one interviews with combat sports stars on The Voice Versus, which airs intermittently in primetime.
AXS TV Fights currently broadcasts events from the following promotions:CES MMA
Legacy Fighting Alliance
Lion Fight Muay Thai
AXS TV Fights
AXS TV Fights has previously broadcast events from the following promotions:BAMMA
Championship Fighting Alliance
Legacy Fighting Championship
Maximum Fighting Championship
Resurrection Fighting Alliance
Titan Fighting Championships
Xtreme Fighting Championships
Under the HDNet Fights banner, the network broadcast fights from the following promotions:Adrenaline MMA
International Fight League
Maximum Fighting Championship
Ring of Combat
Ring of Fire MMA
Ring of Honor
Urban Conflict Championship