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Showtime rules out MMA return in 2013

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Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Mixed martial arts won't return to Showtime this year.

Stephen Espinoza, Showtime executive vice president of sports and event programming, ruled out any chance of the network linking up with a new MMA promotion in the coming months.

"We are continuing to evaluate MMA opportunities," Espinoza said, "but given our very busy programming slate for the rest of 2013, any new MMA programming would have to debut in 2014."

The last MMA event to air on the premium sports network was Strikeforce's final show on Jan. 12. Coincidentally, since then, the network has risen to prominence with its boxing coverage, which leaves one to wonder how its improved boxing programming could have helped elevate an MMA brand.

Showtime's first MMA event was on Feb. 10, 2007, which was EliteXC's inaugural card.