After weeks of speculation and uncertainty, FITE TV announced that this weekends RIZIN 21 will air live in English on the FITE app. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal came together early Monday morning, a mere 5 days before the next show.
Just days before the announcement, rumors were rampant that the two sides were at odds and that they would no longer be working together. In fact at one point, insiders were saying that RIZIN wanted nothing to do with FITE.
Speculation started to grow as to where Rizin would end up. Everywhere from DAZN, AXS, UFC Fight Pass among others were being tossed among hardcores around as potential distributors. It appears that one of the sticking points was who would be calling the action. FITE will be taking over more of the broadcasting aspect and as of right now Matt Striker, the veteran pro wrestler who has announced for WWE, Lucha Underground, AAA Lucha Libre, New Japan and others will be calling the action. No word yet as to who will be calling the show with him. Striker works a lot with FITE so it makes sense. UFC Hall of Famer Frank Trigg and Showdown Joe Ferraro are out.
As with any difficult negotiation in TV there’s tons of smokescreens and misinformation. Ultimately what it always comes down to is cash. Fortunately the two sides came together in the clutch to present this weekends event.
RIZIN 21 Live Feb 20 at 9pm PST on FITE TV
The loaded 13 bout card features a melting pot of Martial Arts action. There are 5 kickboxing matches, an elimination Jui-Jitsu match, and 7 MMA matches with a mixture of rules. For a comprehensive rundown of the event, check out my friends from the We Are Rizin podcast. They are very plugged in to the Rizin scene and have a very good preview show available below.
In the evenings co-main, Bantamweights will be in action as American Victor Henry, a Josh Barnett protege takes on Japan’s Masenori Kanehara. Henry is a solid fighter with tons of charisma and is a guy they would like to push. Kanehara is a tough veteran who isn’t looking to roll over in his home country, and he is also making his RIZIN debut.
The nights final bout features Japans Mikuru Asakura vs Mexico’s Daniel Salas. I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Salas, but this seems like a fight earmarked for the 12-1 Asakura to win. Crazy things happen in Japan though.
Order the PPV here Rizin 21 on FITE and use my FITE code for a $10 credit. 6ml9d45