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‘The Contender’ could make a return to television next year

Sergio Mora (right) won the debut season of the reality series.

The Contender Press Conference
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

The boxing reality series The Contender, which aired on US networks between 2005 through 2008, could find be finding its way back on television in the near future according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael. The series first debuted on NBC in 2005, then moved to ESPN, and finally finished on the Versus network in 2008 before getting canceled.

Reports indicate that the Epix network is interested in revitalizing the series and getting back into the business of boxing in general. The network recently flirted with the idea of bringing the World Boxing Super Series to US television, but that deal ultimately didn’t pan out. Even still, that isn’t keeping the network for exploring other potential options for boxing programming -- The Contender being high on their list.

Should Epix ultimately pull the trigger on show, pre-production could begin as soon as next month with a new season to air in 2018. Yet there are still reportedly some at the network who believe that the money it would cost to produce the show (estimated at roughly $25M) could be better spent by simply purchasing high-level fights for the network. That kind of annual budget for boxing programming would rival that of both HBO and Showtime.

In the four seasons that The Contender ran on television, Sergio Mora, Grady Brewer, Saiko Bika, and Troy Ross were the ultimate winners of their respective seasons. Peter Manfredo Jr. also made a name for himself in the show’s debut season, despite losing to Mora in the finale.

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