With a blockbuster television broadcasting deal with FOX firmly in tow, it appears UFC president Dana White has decided to pick a fight with “The worldwide leader in sports.” Late Friday night, the brash promoter was alerted on his Twitter that ESPN’s SportsCenter had included a knockout in boxing on its Top 10 list.
The fan seemed to be surprised that mixed martial arts rarely receives love on the network, but it’s just par for the course as far as White was concerned.
“ESPN always hated us and now they hate us more now that we are on FOX. They canceled my int next week for UFC Rio [expletive] ESPN,” White tweeted. “@JimRome is the only good thing about ESPN.”
Next Saturday’s UFC 134 event isn’t just a typical pay-per-view broadcast, as the show marks the company’s first trip to Brazil in over 13 years. In addition, because Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC and Strikeforce, didn’t start their reign until 2001, White considers this the Octagon’s “debut” in jiu jitsu country.
Furthermore, White claimed during Tuesday’s press conference in Texas that the world’s premier MMA promotion wasn’t just planning on stopping with their Rio event. UFC brass intend on bombarding most of Brazil’s major cities, as their economy is currently booming and their citizens love them some MMA.
Exposure on ESPN would have certainly helped their plight.
Of interesting note, ESPN2 does broadcast MMA Live. The weekly mixed martial arts show is predominately dedicated to UFC action and has also appeared live on location for past UFC PPV events.