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Bye-bye network deals

Oh, it was only a few months back that the Writer’s strike had everyone in the MMA world abuzz that this could be the catalyst for getting mixed martial arts onto network television. Much was written, many meetings were apparently had. Rumors went back and forth, and numerous promotions lined up for a chance to scab out Hollywood writers.

But now it looks like the writer’s strike is pretty much over, and with that the best opportunity the UFC has ever gotten to truly make this sport mainstream. This doesn’t just apply to the UFC … all promotions lost out on this chance. Anyone landing a network deal would have instantly changed the face of MMA forever. But I’m going to focus on the UFC being unable to seal the deal because they were the ones that were in the best position to pull it off, and they fucking failed.

It really shouldn’t be surprising that they didn’t manage to pull things off. Word is a deal with CBS stalled out on who gets creative control of the program (again) … in other words Dana White said “The gladiator stays, or you can fuck off.” They then moved on to NBC, who were inches from a deal with EliteXC. I guess Gary Shaw told them nasty things about Dana because they barely gave the UFC the time of day before saying no.

And now the strike is over. While network deals are still possible in theory, MMA companies are now back to having very little clout or bargaining power at all. The UFC had a golden opportunity to land their product on a network that pulls higher ratings on random reruns of Touched by an Angel than the UFC has ever gotten with Spike. And now that opportunity is all but gone.

  • dom

    GOOD! mma on network tv is about the WORST fucking idea i’ve ever heard of.

  • Big D D

    BOOOOOOOO. I wanted real “Free” UFC shows.

  • MacDaddy

    I don’t know about you guys but I NEVER believed the big 3 networks would follow through on this. HBO I could see but ABC/NBC/CBS no way. They are far too vulnerable to the “social conservative”/”human cockfighting crew” to broadcast MMA.

  • http://bloodyelbow Mike Rome

    The UFC was in talks with CBS well before the strike. Whether or not they’re gonna pull it off is really independent of the strike, we’re talking a deal for 2 or 3 shows a year at most on Saturdays, not really affected by the strike.

  • S

    One of the deals also stalled when a network wanted to purchase UFC.

  • mmaninja

    “They are far too vulnerable to the “social conservative”/”human cockfighting crew” to broadcast MMA.”

    Those channels couldn’t be more liberal, so that’s definitely not a problem.

    It’s all Dana and his empty promises and guarantees, like UFC at MSG or in Boston this year. Is MMA even sanctioned in those states?

  • Michaelthebox

    This is actually a good thing for the UFC. They’re doing fine right now, they can keep growing nicely even without network TV. The other “big” organizations, on the other hand, are all losing money, and a network deal would have been manna from heaven. A network deal will come sooner or later for the UFC, the most important thing for them right now is making sure that EliteXC and M-1 don’t gain any ground on them.