No Network Deal in Sight for UFC

Written by Tom Ngo
November 17th, 2008

The UFC and its president Dana White continue to take a firm stance on signing a deal with a major network. The world’s largest MMA organization is in no hurry to rush into something that is not in their best interests, and is willing to wait. Perhaps, forever.

“(We are) not very close now with (the) market like this,” White stated at the UFC 91 post-fight press conference in regards to partnering with a major network. “The economy is bad. I don’t know if anybody else in this room feels it as bad as some of the other people in this country feel it, but the economy is really bad right now. There’s no money out there. Sponsors aren’t spending as much money as they used to. Some sponsors are going out of business. It’s really scary times right now.”

Not only does the state of the economy have the UFC on high alert, but they are also learning from the mistakes of their former rivals. The UFC has seen two of their competitors go out of business after coming to terms with major networks, and they are not prepared to fall into that same trap.

“Network deals are what’s helping put these other [MMA] companies out of business,” White said of the IFL and EliteXC. “Just because you get a network deal doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. When we get a good network deal, we’ll be on network television.

“The networks are so strong, they pretty much tell you the deal that they’re going to give you whether you like it or not,” White added. “We don’t need it. We built this company without the help of anybody. It was us and the fighters. That’s it. There was no sponsors. Nobody was running around trying to give us money. We did it on our own.”

And at this point, the UFC is more than willing to walk away from the table. They already have a great relationship with Spike TV, and are more than happy with just being there.

“We don’t need help from anybody at the end of the day,” said White. “If somebody wants to do the right deal with us, we’ll do it with them. Spike did. So we’re on Spike TV. Believe me, I’m happy as hell to be on Spike TV. We can stay there forever. I (couldn’t) care less.”

Fact of the matter is, White does care, but he just can’t show how much. However he is right, they need to get a deal that is right for them, and they can continue to use Spike TV until that time comes. But in today’s day and age, there is no better way to gain massive mainstream acceptance than to have a major network as your partner, and White knows it.

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