Versus acquires Contender, will film it in Singapore and air Contender Muay Thai

The Contender, which was cancelled by ESPN after two seasons, has found a third home: Versus, the network formerly known as OLN.

For the fourth season, the network will move the show to Singapore and feature teams of American and international 200-pound cruiserweight boxers. In addition, starting at the end of this month, Versus will air an Asian spin-off, The Contender Muay Thai. It airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET starting July 31.

Versus VP Marc Fein told Variety, “When you have the opportunity to bring a top brand with an established following to the network, and the ability to work with someone with a proven track record such as Mark Burnett and DreamWorks, you jump at it.”

Executive producer Jeff Wald told ESPN.com, “We’re the show that refuses to die. We’re like the fighter that keeps getting off the mat to fight on. We’re excited to be on Versus.”

ESPN reports that “[t]rainer Buddy McGirt will return to the series to coach the American fighters” and “Sugar Ray Leonard, host of the series for the first three seasons, also is expected to return.”

Versus gives ‘Contender’ 4th round [Variety]
New season of ‘The Contender’ on Versus to feature cruiserweights [ESPN]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.