UFC president Dana White (Pictured) claims that scoring the ever-elusive television broadcast deal with FOX was the greatest accomplishment of his 10-year career. Although Saturday’s debut will cost the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion millions of dollars, White believes the ability to promote his product to a brand new audience is priceless.
“I became a huge boxing fan when I was growing up from watching ABC’s ‘Wide World of Sports,’” White stated during a recent conference call. “They always had the big fights on Saturday … that’s what turned me into a huge fight fan.
“Our goal has always been to bring big, free fights back to television. Now that we have a network deal, we’re looking at it as … obviously we’re going to take a hit on the pay-per-view side for a big fight like this, but we’re thinking long-term for the future of the sport and making the sport bigger. That’s why we’re gonna do it and continue to do it.”
This weekend’s show inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California literally features the biggest scrap the UFC can host. Heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez defends his crown against top contender Junior dos Santos in what is assured to be a spectacular shootout.
The UFC has estimated that a pay-per-view broadcast featuring the 265-pounders would have generated approximately 800,000 buys. Despite the massive amount of cash that will be left on the table, White is more than willing to take the financial hit for the betterment of the growing sport.
“It’s an investment in the company,” White stated. “In no way, shape or form do we come anywhere close to making our money back. You don’t go on free television and make your money. That’s not how it works.
“Yeah, we’re going to get smashed on this fight, but it’s an investment in the future of the business.”
In addition to the unprecedented exposure FOX will offer the UFC, as well as the potential to attract new mainstream sponsors for future events, the reported $90 million per annual they will pocket for their seven-year partnership with FOX should also help ease some of the pain.
“UFC on FOX” airs live this Saturday at 9PM ET/6PM PT.