The world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion issued a press release on Tuesday claiming UFC president Dana White would make a “major announcement” Thursday during a media conference call.
Unfortunately, ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption appears to have let the cat out of the proverbial bag this afternoon by reporting the Octagon will soon be launching its own network – a la the NFL and WWE.
“The UFC is planning to start its own TV Network. Is that a good idea?” co-host Michael Wilbon asked.
“I’ve got 75,000 networks on my cable system. Certainly, there’s room for even that,” PTI partner Tony Kornheiser replied.
Neither of the iconic sports journalists have shown much love for MMA on their show, unlike Jim Rome on ESPN’s highly popular Jim Rome is Burning. Although, Wilbon has started to slide over on mixed martial arts’ side of the pendulum. He admitted to watching this weekend’s UFC 121 extravaganza featuring Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez.
Obviously, Octagon brass tried to keep their secret under lock and key to build up the hype for tomorrow’s 10AM PT/1PM ET conference call. Unfortunately, “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” had other ideas and stole White’s thunder.
As soon as Monday’s announcement was made, Internet geeks immediately started blasting message boards across the globe with possible theories. The early front-runners were that the UFC had either scored the ever-elusive network deal (like rival Strikeforce did with CBS many moons ago), or they were launching their own network.
The latter option was something White recently discussed with Broadcasting & Cable.
“Sports Business Journal just came out with a survey asking big names in the industry which sport could start its own network, and 4 out of 5 said us. They are right. I agree. That will happen within the next couple years,” the Octagon president stated.
The UFC’s mission for achieving global dominance has been well documented. This will certainly go a long way in their plight, as it’s expected they will have total control over everything.