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'Fight Now TV' Launches Tuesday With High Hopes, Rapid Expansion Goals

To hear Mike Garrow tell it, starting a new channel is something like giving birth. It takes time, there are brief moments of pain and others of terror, but behind it all is a genuine labor of love. After a two-year process of planning and execution, Garrow's project, a 24-hour combat sports channel called Fight Now TV, will launch on Tuesday morning on Cablevision systems in the New York, tri-state area.

While Fight Now TV is dedicated to more than just mixed martial arts -- boxing, grappling and kickboxing will also be featured, among others sports -- MMA is expected to be a major component of programming. Among the channel's minority owners is UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.

According to Garrow, the company has signed deals with several promotions in the U.S. and around the world to air events. Fight Now TV will launch two franchises. One, "American Made MMA," will showcase regional promotions like Ring of Fire and Extreme Challenge. Another, "Global Impact MMA," will turn the spotlight on international offerings, like BAMMA and Cage Warriors. It also has obtained rights to historical events, and can offer retrospectives on current stars. For example, they might show current UFC welterweight champ George St-Pierre's last fight before joining the UFC, or Quinton "Rampage" Jackson years before he became a superstar.

The channel also plans to cover the world's top promotions like the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator and DREAM, in news programs, with original interviews, and taking fans behind the scenes. All in all, it's an extremely ambitious plan for a channel that took just over two years from thought to launch.

"I want people to understand we're trying to put our best foot forward," Garrow told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. "There are going to be growing pains, but we will grow. Look at ESPN. When they first launched, it was with darts and softball and strongman competitions. I'm a fan, too. I want this to be as strong as we can possibly make it. If people are supportive and value it, I look forward to serving those fans for a long time."

For Garrow, it's his second shot at a virtually identical goal. He was the creative vision behind The Fight Network, a Canadian combat sports channel that once hoped to penetrate the U.S. market. But the two sides later split over differences, and the Fight Network's growth eventually stalled. Garrow politely declines to talk about the situation due to ongoing litigation between the sides, but Couture -- who previously worked with him at the Canadian channel -- said The Fight Network's loss is Fight Now TV's gain.

"I think The Fight Network existed because it was Mike Garrow's vision and his dream," Couture said. "And when they did what they did to him, that dream and vision went somewhere else. You're seeing it come back with Fight Now TV. He's the guy who had all the pieces. He still has the original napkin he wrote the idea down on when he first came up with it. He has the passion to connect the dots and make this happen."

While Fight Now TV will initially launch only on Cablevision -- ironic given that New York and Connecticut are two of the few remaining states that have yet to sanction MMA -- Garrow hopes to aggressively expand around the country in rapid fashion, saying they are likely to be announcing other deals quite soon.

"Like anything, we want to get it in as many homes as possible," he said. "We're realistic in our approach. We've got our internal projections. I can't get into specific numbers but I'm pretty confident large pockets of the U.S. will be experiencing Fight Now TV by at least the middle of the summer."

While the channel has no existing business deal with UFC and Strikeforce parent company Zuffa, there is hope that Couture's involvement might help forge a relationship. Couture acknowledges the potential importance of such a development and says simply, "I expect we'll be able to do it."

Garrow, meanwhile, notes that with a 24-hour, 7-day a week existence, the channel will be able to offer major coverage of major events with analysis, features and interviews.'s daily radio show will also be simulcast Monday through Friday, giving fans access to many major fighters and insiders. A weekend show, Fight Central hosted by JT McCarthy, will break down major fights and events. Couture will also provide expert analysis.

With 52 weeks a year in a sport that has no off-season, Garrow believes there will always be great fights to be found. Somewhere around the world, someone will be fighting, and Fight Now TV will be on the lookout for it. What SPEED is to auto sports, Fight Now TV wants to be to combat sports.

Right now though, things are still in a controlled state of chaotic anticipation. There is much to be done before the switch is flipped and Fight Now TV goes live at 11 am eastern on Tuesday. Garrow half-jokingly says that he randomly wakes up at 2:30 in the morning on most nights as the channel makes final preparations.

"Overall, our mission is to create an outlet for combative sports, not just MMA," Couture said. "For example, there's a huge grappling movement, not just nationally but internationally with things like Abu Dhabi, NAGA, and U.S. Pankration. And there's always a void for amateur wrestling, no place to find or watch these dual meets. There is a ton of stuff in the combative sports genre, and we can provide that kind of programming to fans. There is a ton of opportunity and need for this kind of channel."

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