Saturday, August 20, 2011

The reaction to the UFC’s multi-year deal with FOX has so far being overwhelmingly positive, but it seems not everyone was thrilled to hear the news.


The reaction to the UFC’s multi-year deal with FOX has so far being overwhelmingly positive, but it seems not everyone was thrilled to hear the news.
In fact, according to UFC President Dana White a rival network of the FOX network, ESPN, is being less than cordial with them since the announcement and he’s not happy about it.
“ESPN always hated us and now they hate us more now that we are on FOX. They canceled my [interview] next week for UFC Rio Fuk ESPN,” White told a fan on Twitter.
Later White wrote, “@Jim Rome is the only good thing about ESPN,” a nod to the ESPN host who’s had the UFC boss on his ‘Rome’s Burning’ show on a number of occasions.
So, unfortunately it seems as if a feud is brewing and that’s not good news for the sports continued coverage on the channel. After many years of being essentially ignored by the sports broadcaster ESPN had finally stepped up to the plate in recent time and now offers the weekly MMA Live show on ESPN2 plus brief highlight packages on SportsCenter for major UFC events and live interviews with key fighters on the week of their fights.
The UFC’s move to FOX does put them in an uncomfortable position however.
As FX president John Landgraf stated at the ‘UFC On Fox’ press conference earlier this week their belief is that winning the rights to the UFC now “puts us on a level playing field with all of our competitors.”
Despite the fact the ESPN and FOX actually teamed up earlier this year to win the media rights to the PAC-10 they are still very much rivals in the sporting sphere and it’s going to make things a little tricky when it comes to reporting on something like a ‘UFC On FOX’ event.
In reality it shouldn’t matter – ESPN wouldn’t stop covering PAC-10 had they not won the rights, but the fact is that despite taking great steps towards the mainstream MMA isn’t yet as integrated into the American sporting psyche as the likes of the NFL, MLB and NBA and so it can still easily be swept aside or discarded by a network like ESPN.
It should be noted however that ESPN’s MMA Live show did cover the UFC’s deal with FOX last night.

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