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Is the UFC Ready to Join National Broadcast Landscape With Other Major League Sports? Dana White Speaks About Potential TV Deal at UFC 136 Presser





Dana White | Photo: UFC/Zuffa LLC

HOUSTON, TX, August 16, 2011 – The UFC concluded a UFC 136 Press Conference at the Toyota Center this afternoon that included the likes of UFC 145 and 155 Champions José Aldo and Frankie Edgar along with their respective challengers Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard.

All four men had very interesting things to say regarding their upcoming October 8th bouts in Houston. We’ll probably cover their statements in upcoming articles but while we were there, we wanted to ask UFC President Dana White about the rumor and speculation surrounding what many are calling an imminent broadcast television deal.

Earlier this morning, long-time sports journalist John Ourand of Sports Business Daily (SBJ) reported that the UFC had scored big on its bid to reach the mainstream domestic audience by striking a multiyear deal with FOX that would mark the first time the UFC would have consistent airtime on a broadcast network with sports properties that also include the NFL, MLB, College Football, and Racing.

With the UFC making a big push internationally (e.g. their recently-announced television deal with FOX Sports Latin America) and an initiative to expand internationally in “an environment where everybody around the world plays by the same rules,” it sure seems like the prospect of the UFC teaming with FOX could be an enticing if not accretive transaction for both the UFC and the FOX Network at this point.

Short of confirming the rumors and speculation, we wanted to get Dana’s thoughts on a potential broadcast TV deal and ask him whether he thinks the UFC is ready to join the “major league” sports landscape in front of national audiences.

Mike Calimbas (TXMMA.com) – “There’s been a lot of speculation recently about what’s next for the UFC with TV deals, etc. How do you feel the UFC fits into a broadcast sports landscape that includes football, major league baseball, racing, and everything else?”

Dana White (UFC President) – “I think it would be great. I’m sure you’re talking about the SBJ article that came out today. A lot of people have asked me to comment on that. I didn’t comment when the Wall Street Journal asked us if we bought G4 either, you know. When you’re in these negotiations, all the rumors start flying and everything else but to answer your question, I think it’s time.

I think we do fit in to the sports world with the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, etc. I’ve always said that what would take it to the take it to the next level would be a broadcast deal – being on one of the major networks… But to do that, you have to have the right deal. There have been other organizations out there that have jumped up and taken the first network deal that they can get but if the deal doesn’t make sense, you’re going to go out of business real quick.

We’ve been very smart and we’ve taken our time to build this thing slowly no matter what carrots were dangling out in front of us. We know that we’re in this thing for the long haul. We’re not into this to make some quick money. We got into this sport because we’re passionate about it, we love it, and all we want to do is built the sport. To me, that means building an environment where everybody around the world plays by the same rules. That’s what we’re working on and when the right deal comes, we’ll take it.”

So what do our readers think about the potential of the UFC on broadcast television? Is America ready for it? Also, who’s ready to come to UFC 136 in Houston? Based on the two title matchups we have in front of us along with other bouts featuring Chael Sonnen, Melvin Gullard, and more, it’s going to be an epic card!

Share your thoughts and stay tuned to TXMMA.com for more coverage of  UFC 136 and more!

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