by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
M-1 Global on Wednesday announced that it has signed a deal with Mark Cuban’s HDNet high-definition television network to air the 2008, debut season of its M-1 Challenge. The M-1 Challenge is a series of events that feature teams of fighters, each comprised of one fighter in each of five weight classes, competing in a team vs. team format.

The current deal with HDNet will air the 2008 events on a tape-delayed basis, according to Michael Mazur of www.m1mixfight.com. There are 10 M-1 Challenge events in 2008 with each event featuring two team vs. team competitions. Each of the events will be split up into two episodes for HDNet with all five bouts from two teams facing off on one episode, then the other two teams’ five bouts airing in a separate episode, giving HDNet 20 episodes from the 2008 season.

The current contract concerns only the 2008 M-1 Challenge series, relayed Mazur. “Obviously if everything goes as planned and the collaboration is amicable, they’ll expand the contract with M-1 Challenge 2009.”

M-1 Global has also secured television deals to air the M-1 Challenge in various African countries, Korea, Brazil, the Philippines, India, and several other countries.

M-1 Global’s Vadim Finkelstein has also been working on a reality series built around the No. 1 heavyweight fighter in the world, Fedor Emelianenko. Entitled, “Fighting Fedor,” the series will feature various fighters training and competing with the eventual winner gaining a future bout against Fedor.

Although Mazur indicated that he thought Finkelstein would like to see the reality series on HDNet as well, there has been no indication that a deal is forthcoming regarding Fighting Fedor.

HDNet officials declined to comment on the M-1 Challenge series and the Fighting Fedor reality series.