Ex-NFL star Shawne Merriman brings vision to life as he launches free sports TV channel

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Shawne Merriman was used to blitzing quarterbacks for eight years in the NFL which saw him earn three Pro Bowl appearances and a Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Now, Merriman is taking on the challenge of building his own streaming service. 

He recently launched Lights Out Sports — a free sports TV streaming service that will showcase a multitude of sports genres, including his own mixed martial arts promotion, Lights Out Xtreme Fighting.

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Shawne Merriman at the Fanatics party

Shawne Merriman attends Michael Rubin’s Fanatics Super Bowl party at the Marquee Nightclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on February 10, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Merriman told Fox News Digital in a recent interview he got the idea from watching other free TV channels and noticed the lack of sports content on them. He said his channel will include chess tournaments, World Poker Tour and even TNA Wrestling.

“I’ve had this idea for so long to create a locker room in one place and we got it,” he said. “It’s completely free, 100% free. It’ll be on every major TV platform. And soon, you’ll be able to get it all over the world and that was my main thing.”

Merriman said he partnered with OTTera to help create the channel. He said he had to learn the ad tech side of the streaming business while coming up with the ideas of what he wanted the channel to look like.

The former San Diego Chargers star said even before getting into Lights Out Xtreme Fighting and Lights Out Sports he had a curiosity for how the production side worked.

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Shawne Merriman looks on

Sep. 20, 2009; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman looks at the scoreboard in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

“I look back on it now and I had a different level of curiosity,” he told Fox News Digital. “I remember going to Sunday night games and seeing the cameras and the lights and all the people working back there and I just remember asking questions all the time.

“That’s what led to me understanding and loving the production side of things, which is why I got into the production side with Lights Out Xtreme Fighting. We have all in-house production and I was always curious about it. I had no idea that this would lead me here.”

Lights Out Xtreme Fighting’s Lights Out 16 will stream on Lights Out Sports. There will be 19 fights on what’s expected to be a five-hour show.

Shawne Merriman at the Fanatics party

Shawne Merriman attends Michael Rubin’s Fanatics Super Bowl party at the Marquee Nightclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on February 10, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

While Merriman tried to hide his excitement for all of the major moves he’s made, he couldn’t help but be ecstatic over the launch of the channel and the success of his MMA promotion.

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“I don’t really get excited… I do excited but I just don’t pat myself on the back anymore. I have this feeling that I’m supposed to do it. Certain things, I don’t really celebrate a whole lot. But when I saw it on every major TV platform, I was like, man this is it. OTTera has been a huge help.”

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