Dana White is trying to build an empire. To this point, he has done a pretty fantastic job. White insists the UFC will eventually go mainstream, and the new deal he signed with Fox is a great starting point for making good on that guarantee. Not surprisingly, the UFC negotiated with a number of major networks before coming to an agreement with Fox. One of those networks was, of course, ESPN.
If you asked White you would swear ESPN had no intention of ever hooking up with the leader in mixed martial arts. In fact, White can’t stand ESPN and insists they never liked the UFC to begin with.
“@nickmontiel4ufc ESPN always hated us and they hate us more now that we are on FOX,” White wrote on Twitter. “They cancelled my int next week for UFC Rio (expletive) ESPN.”
On the contrary, MMA Payout Writer Jose Mendoza says that the UFC and ESPN came extremely close to a deal before Dana White settled on Fox.
“Re: ESPN & UFC: They were so close to a TV deal that UFC credentialed Sherdog and came up w/ weekly show name before talks fell through,” Mendoza tweeted via MMA Supremacy.
Clearly we have stories that are crossing here. If ESPN and UFC were reportedly within striking distance of a deal, it would stand to reason that the WWL does not hate the UFC. Sour grapes from Dana White? This is a guy that, to his credit, normally gets what he wants. Something obviously happened with the ESPN negotiations that pissed him off, but burning bridges probably isn’t a great idea. Then again, the UFC and ESPN are both in the business of making money. People follow UFC, so ESPN will have no choice but to cover it. Whether he hates them or not, ESPN coverage is a good thing for Dana White’s business.Google+