UFC president Dana White recently spoke with Pramit Mohapatra of SI.com and guaranteed that the UFC will not only ink a deal with a network, but will be doing so sooner rather than later:
PM: In the United States, was UFC 80 ever a candidate to be on a television network like CBS or NBC?
DW: Absolutely. I guarantee we’re going to be on a network, and soon.
White, who conducted the interview with Mohapatra while in the UK for Saturday’s UFC 80 event, indicated that the deal will be in prime time as opposed to a possible late night timeslot:
PM: Was there consideration to the rumor that UFC 80 would be the prime event while the writers’ strike continues?
DW: It’ll be the prime time. It will be ready when we cut a deal that works for us. I’m not going to go out there and cut any stupid deals. I use boxing as the blueprint of what not to do with this sport. And, no matter what, we’re out there, we’re working hard, we’re trying to grow the UFC and expose it to more people, and get it into other countries. But, we’re not going to cut any deals that don’t make sense for this business long-term.
When Mohapatra tried to get White to give some sort of hint as to which network the UFC may end up signing a deal with, the UFC president refused to rule anything out:
PM: You’ve been connected to three major networks — two broadcast and one cable — HBO, CBS, and NBC. Which of those would you say the deals are still alive and which are dead?
DW: That’s a good, sneaky question. I’d say they’re all still alive. We’re talking to a lot of different networks, and no door has closed with any network.
For more from White, including his thoughts on Randy Couture, how the California State Athletic Commission handled Sean Sherk’s appeal hearing, what’s the latest on UFC 83, and whether he respects Mark Cuban, just click here.