Don’t hold your breath on DirecTV adding Versus back into it’s lineup. Hell, don’t even hope that they’ll sort their shit out before March 21st – when the amazingly awesome ‘UFC on Versus’ card with Jones / Vera, Dos Santos / Gonzaga, Kongo / Buentello, and Rumble / Victim is set to air. According to NHL blog Puck Daddy, things are not looking good in cable dispute land:
We checked in with Versus on Tuesday about the progress of the talks, and a spokesman released the following statement to Puck Daddy: “At this time, we are not optimistic that an agreement will be in place with DirecTV in time for the start of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.”
Well, that’s no good. The sides are still talking, but a source with knowledge of the negotiations told me that there’s a multitude of issues still being debated in the stalemate. The source characterized the talks as “two sides speaking different languages.”
All this is in stark contrast to what Zuffa brass has been saying since things went sour back in December: that things would be ironed out by the next WEC, and after that that things would be ironed out ‘soon’, and most recently that things would surely be ironed out by this UFC event in March. I think it’s safe to say at this point that they’re working off nothing more than some really baseless optimism.
Cagewriter suggests that the NHL and UFC need to get together and try to put the pressure on everyone to sort this shit out, but that ignores some sad realities: the NHL is almost halfway done it’s season. If it was capable of doing anything, it probably would have done it by now. And if the NHL can’t affect the situation, what exactly is the UFC supposed to pull? Lastly, Versus is owned by Comcast, a competitor of DirecTV. So in effect, the channel is basically a pawn in a game of fuckface chess being played by two massive cable companies. So again: don’t hold your breath.