Dana White confirms that the UFC is in the middle of some serious renegotiatons on the future of MMA on television:
“We’re in negotiations right now, so we’re still talking,” UFC president Dana White revealed on Saturday. “Should be wrapped up in the next six months.”
The UFC has been with Spike TV for several years, including the launch of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which debuted in 2005, and has been a flagship show for the network. White says that they are still working with Spike TV, and could absolutely end up back with them for another run, but they have to explore all options to get the best possible deal.
“We want to be with somebody we can grow with like we have with Spike. We’ve had a great relationship with Spike and done great things there, so hopefully we can figure things out,” stated White.
“Negotiations are negotiations, doesn’t matter who you’re talking to. I have a lot of respect and a lot of good relationships over at Spike TV, and we’ve been with them for a long time. They built us; we built them. We’ll see how the whole thing goes.”
While a new TV deal with a major network could be a just what the sport needs to explode to that next level, it’s a bit scary to imagine the UFC leaving the safe and bountiful bosum of SpikeTV. The two have gone together like Manswers and Stupidity since since 2005. Their loving relationship (and Spike’s former lack of ability to create original programming) meant there was never a giant slot of TV time the network wasn’t willing to fill with creamy MMA programming. The two were inseparable, with the UFC replacing Spike’s former TV boyfriends, James Bond and Jean Luc Picard.
Can the UFC get the same kind of treatment from other networks? The main suitor in all this seems to be NBC – they own Versus (which is not-so-subtly being transformed into NBC Sports) and the USA Network and have been flirting with the UFC for a while now. FOX is another potential suitor, and you have to imagine a football lockout driving even more attention the UFC’s way. I guess CBS would be in the running too considering they’ve already played a game of football themselves, Charlie Brown style, with MMA. But the stupidity of the execs involved from that network is scary.
Honestly, all the options other than Spike are kinda scary. TV relationships are typically measured in seasons and while you’d imagine sports are handled differently, I still have my doubts network brass see this any differently from ‘the new pro wrestling’ or another American Gladiators. What happens if those morons manage to mismanage things and fuck everything up? What happens if a new suit shows up and decides the network isn’t so hot on MMA any more? All of a sudden that new network deal that’s supposed to explode MMA becomes the one that strangles it like a streetcorner prostitute in a cheap Motel 6.
On that note, how have you been enjoying your Memorial Day weekend?