With an evening full of UFC action lined-up on Spike TV tonight, questions remain regarding the organization’s inability to secure the “right” network television deal. There is no better way to gain mainstream acceptance than to have your product showcased on primetime TV, and UFC president Dana White knows that better than anyone.
“I guarantee you by September 15 of next year, we will be on network television,” White told the The DAM Morning Show this morning. “I’ll put on probably one (event) a quarter – one that should have been on pay-per-view except we’ll put it on network TV.”
We’ve all heard this before, in fact most can’t stop thinking about the possibility of the UFC hooking up with ABC, who just happens to own ESPN – the world’s largest and most popular sports news outlet.
The two sides have been very chummy of late, with ESPN brass attending the monumental UFC 100 event as special guests of the Fertitta Brothers, co-owners of the UFC. In addition, results of UFC fights have also shown up on ESPN’s scoreboard ticker, another sign that the UFC is elbowing their way towards the forefront.
In case the folks at CBS, NBC, ABC or FOX didn’t understand the UFC’s pitch the first time around, White specifically broke down exactly what the UFC’s intentions are once they do lock down a major network deal.
“I’m putting on so many pay-per-views,” White emphatically said. “I’m putting on like 13 pay-per-views per year. That’s more than one a month. I think you have to give back to the fans, and you have to give back free fights.
“So we do a ton of free fights on Spike TV between [UFC] Fight Nights and some of the big, just out-of-the-blue fights we put on Spike. And now we get a network deal, and we’re doing four big fights a year that should have been on pay-per-view, but you get for free? That’s how I grew up. That’s how I became a big boxing fan. My uncles used to watch all the fights on ABC’s ‘Wide World of Sports,’ and I used to watch it with them, and I became a huge boxing fan. That’s my model. That’s what I’m going to build now here today.”
Needless to say, having PPV-worthy events for the everyday low price of $FREE.99 would be a dream come true for MMA fans. Let’s do this already…