Skip to Content
reality TV reviews, news, and analysis since 2000

ESPN renews The Contender for a third season; unedited fights will air on ESPN2

The new season debuts Sept. 4 at 10 p.m. ET and will be “the first to feature the full, uncut fights that will air on ESPN2,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The 16 boxers will compete for $1 million, a $500,000 increase (although ESPN says the prize is $750,000). Also increasing will be the contestants’ weight class, the paper reports. The 16 new boxers will be super-middleweight, up three notches from last season’s welterweight class. (Earlier this year, a report suggested the series would leave ESPN for HBO and switch its focus to heavyweights.)

Executive producer told ESPN that they are “a combination of experienced guys who have fought for world championships and very good prospects who will wind up fighting for world championships.”

They include two Australians, Sakio Bika and Sam Soliman, who may “have a rematch [on the show] following their controversial 2002 battle in Melbourne,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Production started two weeks ago, the SMH says, and Bika told the paper, “The last two weeks has been constant testing, interviews, psychology tests. It’s been a bit hard for me to get used to, there are about 10 cameras filming us every time we train.”

While Sugar Ray Leonard returns, Sylvester Stallone will remain missing in action, even though he’s done filming Rocky Balboa.

There’s no quit in ‘Contender’ [Hollywood Reporter]
“Contender” returns for third season [ESPN]
Bika, Sam get shot at being contenders – and a rematch [Sydney Morning Herald]

All reality blurred content is independently selected, including links to products or services. However, if you buy something after clicking an affiliate link, we may earn a commission, which helps support reality blurred. Learn more.

About the writer

Discussion: your turn

The writing here is the start of a conversation, and reality blurred values your contributions to that conversation. We’ve created a community that connects people through open and thoughtful conversations about the TV we’re watching, the pop culture we’re consuming, and the stories about it.

To share our perspectives and exchange ideas in a welcoming, supportive space, there are rules for commenting here. By commenting below, you confirm that you’ve read and agree to those rules.

Happy discussing!