UFC boss Dana White on potential TV deal, Strikeforce, Nick Diaz, "TUF 14"
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – As has become the norm for UFC pay-per-view events, UFC president Dana White held court with a small group of reporters following Thursday's UFC 131 press conference.
In the meeting, which took place at Robson Square in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, White revealed a number of noteworthy items already covered by MMAjunkie.com, including the implementation of five-round non-title fights, the addition of the flyweight division and the schedule date for Jon Jones vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
But White also dished on a number of other important topics, including a much-discussed potential TV deal, the future of Nick Diaz and Strikeforce, as well as the first days of "The Ultimate Fighter 14."
MMAjunkie.com shares the highlights of the half-hour conversation.
White "happy" with Nelson meeting, but heavyweight's next move still unclear
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – It's unclear what lies next for Roy Nelson.
An unhappy UFC president Dana White said he would meet with the heavyweight to discuss his future following back-to-back losses, the latter of which he called "embarrassing." It certainly didn't look good for the winner of "The Ultimate Fighter 10."
White today told MMAjunkie.com that the meeting took place, and while it was positive, he doesn't know what's in store for Nelson.
UFC May Pay $600 Million to Purchase G4 From NBC Universal
Reports surfaced yesterday that the UFC was in talks to purchase, or purchase a controlling interest in, the G4 cable network from NBC Universal. The network currently caters to the gaming and tech community, and reaches some 60 million homes.
Today, Bloomberg reports on some details from the negotiations:
NBC Universal's G4 channel may fetch as much as $600 million in a sale to Ultimate Fighting Championship, according to analysts including David Joyce of Miller Tabak & Co.
Negotiations are early and a deal may not be reached, said the people, who aren't authorized to speak publicly. Ultimate Fighting Championship's contract with Viacom Inc. (VIA/B)'s Spike TV ends this year, one of the people said. More broadly distributed cable channels with bigger advertising revenue can fetch as much as $20 per subscriber, Joyce said.
Nick Diaz Vacates Strikeforce Welterweight Title
Dana White was full of big news today. In addition to the five round UFC main events from now on, he also had a little tidbit to offer regarding Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz. Because he will be taking on Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 137, Diaz gave up his Strikeforce title.
UFC boss confirms UFC 135 for Denver, Jones vs. Jackson expected to headline
UFC 135 is set for Sept. 24 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, and a light-heavyweight title fight between champ Jon Jones and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is expected to headline.
UFC president Dana White today confirmed the news to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) following a pre-event press conference for UFC 131, which takes place June 11 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Dana White Announces All UFC Main Events Will Be Five Rounds
There's a celebration going on in the Land of Fagan today. Both Kevin Iole and Brett Okamoto report via Twitter that UFC President Dana White announced that, going forward, all UFC main events will be scheduled for five rounds, regardless of whether a title is at stake. The policy will start following the Rashad Evans/Phil Davis main event at UFC 133, as bout agreements for that fight have already been signed.
There's been no word on whether this applies only PPV/numbered events, or if free TV shows will be headlined by five-rounders as well.
UFC 131's Dos Santos-Carwin winner to meet Velasquez "in four-five months"
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – As expected, the winner of Saturday's UFC 131 headliner between Junior Dos Santos and Shane Carwin gets the next heavyweight title shot.
And according to UFC president Dana White, it could happen by year's end, specifically in "four to five months."
White discussed the plans during Wednesday's pre-UFC 131 press conference at Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Shane Carwin Offers No Comment on Steroid Allegations
Remember when a federal investigation implicated Shane Carwin as a recipient of steroid orders from Applied Pharmacy Services? It was August 14, 2010, just over a month after Carwin's second-round meltdown against Brock Lesnar at UFC 116. The news created a minor whirlwind (imagine the reaction had Carwin defeated Lesnar!) before settling down, and then all but disappearing.
Carwin's manager, Jason Genet, promised a statement about the accusations, which has, according to my memory and thorough Googling, yet to be fulfilled.
Is It All Over for the UFC-Spike TV Partnership?
Yesterday the Wall St Journal and New York Times both ran items about the UFC's involvement in talks to purchase a controlling interest in Comcast/NBC's G4 cable channel. Along with the news came reports that negotiations between Spike TV and the UFC to renew their current deal -- which expires at year end -- are not going well.
The New York Times has the most explosive details from the UFC-Spike negotiations:
Spike's $170 million-a-year deal with UFC for the show, "The Ultimate Fighter," and for live fights expires in six months. Negotiations between Spike and UFC for a new deal started almost one year ago, one of the people said, but broke down after UFC proposed a $325 million-a-year fee, a price that was far steeper than Spike was willing to pay.
Spike executives, meanwhile, are said to be eyeing an alternative for fights: MTV2, another unit of Viacom, recently started showing fights produced by Bellator, a smaller mixed martial arts league, and those fights could be moved over to Spike.
Matt Hughes vs. Diego Sanchez expected for UFC 135 in Denver
The bout with no home has finally been pinned to an event.
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) reported in April, Matt Hughes (45-8 MMA, 18-6 UFC) and Diego Sanchez (23-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) have agreed to meet on Sept. 24 at the as-yet-unannounced UFC 135 event, which is expected to take place at Pepsi Center in Denver.
UFC Looking to Buy G4 Cable Channel, Spike Execs Prepare to Move On
In a blockbuster development, the UFC is in talks to buy an ownership stake in the G4 cable channel, according to published reports.
On Wednesday, New York Times TV reporter Brian Stelter tweeted that a source had confirmed that "Comcast is meeting with UFC today about possible sale of a stake in G4." Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal furthered the developing story, saying the UFC is in discussions to "buy control" of the network.
In recent days, sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity told MMA Fighting that Spike, which has been the home of the UFC since 2005, is essentially preparing for life without UFC, and that it will move the Bellator promotion on to the channel in 2012...
UFC 131 Tickets Not Moving Well in Vancouver
With just three days to go before UFC 131, things are not looking good in terms of ticket sales. A lot of it is out of the hands of the UFC though. They couldn't count on the Vancouver Canucks playing a Stanley Cup Final home game the night before in the same arena as UFC 131 is running (Rogers Arena); they obviously couldn't count on Brock Lesnar pulling out; and with no local fighters to root for, it's tougher for a Vancouver crowd to get into the spirit of things now that the novelty has worn off. The Vancouver Sun addressed this in an article this morning:
"It’s certainly not typical, this is one of the lowest-priced UFC events," said Glenn Lehrman, the head of communications for the popular ticket re-sale site StubHub. "It’s a great deal to go to a UFC fight."
Josh Barnett Unlicensed in Texas, Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum Only 10 Days Out
Bloody Elbow has confirmed Strikeforce heavyweight Josh Barnett, who is scheduled to fight on the Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum card in Dallas on June 18, has not yet been licensed to fight in Texas. Barnett is booked to face Brett Rogers in the second installment of the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Yesterday, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker assured the media that Barnett would be licensed in time for the fight. According to Susan Stanford, Public Information Officer for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Barnett has until 72 hours before fight time to complete his application, but has not yet done so.
Earlier today Stanford told Bloody Elbow that "Mr Barnett's application is incomplete."
She declined to state what additional materials Barnett needs to submit to complete the application, but she did confirm that he has submitted some materials to begin the application process.
No UFC Events in the UK in 2011
For the first time since 2006, the UFC will not hold any events in the England, Great Britain or Ireland in 2011. As late as November of last year, UFC UK President Marshall Zelaznik was talking about hosting "4 to 6" UFC events in the British Isles this year. Now he's admitting that thanks to a schedule change by Spike TV that the UFC won't be returning to the UK at all in 2011.
Zelaznik asserts that he "had three good venue options" for an October 15th date but recent scheduling changes by the UFC's US TV partners made that date impossible.
From ESPN UK:
However, problems emerged in May when the UFC's US TV date was forced to change to a different, specific date, where misfortune would dictate no suitable venues in the UK were available. In one swift changing of the goalposts, the UFC went from having three venues to none.
As a result, Zelaznik admits the chances of a 2011 event now stand at "less than 20 per cent", but he is still looking into every possibility, in order to find a solution that is growing increasingly unlikely.
"We are left with trying to convince our [TV] partner to move the date or look to other locations. That is where we are now.
"There is, if I were to put a percentage on it, less than a 20 per cent chance that we will be able to bring an event to the UK this year. We are all gutted over it and the fans who are being so vocal should know we hear them and we will continue to work hard to satisfy them."
Aldo: UFC Would Have to Pay Good Money for Title Fight with Nunes
Jose Aldo is sidelined at the moment, but the UFC’s 145-pound ace will have no shortage of challengers lined up to meet him upon his return to the Octagon this fall.
Unbeaten wrestler Chad Mendes, previously announced as the company’s No. 1 featherweight contender, has opted not to wait out Aldo’s return and will instead face Rani Yahya in August. Then there’s Kenny Florian, the former lightweight title challenger who could jump to the front of the line with a win in his June 11 featherweight debut against Diego Nunes. A training partner of Aldo’s at Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro, Nunes could also find himself in title contention with a win.
Speaking exclusively with Sherdog.com after Shooto Brazil 23 on June 4, Aldo didn’t deny the possibility of fighting his teammate for the belt, but did say that the UFC would have to make it worth his while.
“I believe Diego will defeat Kenny Florian,” Aldo said. “Diego is well-prepared. He has ‘blood in his eyes’ for that fight and he’s ready to reach the top of the division. He has enough talent to fight for the title.
New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Effectively Kills 2011 MMA Bill
With a few words from arguably the most powerful man in New York state politics, it appears that mixed martial arts in the Empire State will once again die in its 2011 bid for sanctioning.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat and 34-year veteran of the Assembly who has held the most pivotal role in New York's legislature since 1994, effectively sealed the sport's fate with a single sentence.
"There does not appear to be widespread support in the Assembly for this legislation," Silver said on Tuesday, according to The New York Daily News.
To say the least, his words come as a curious statement just days after the bill to regulate the sport had easily sailed through the Assembly's Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development committee by a 16-3 vote. The bill had already been passed through the state senate as well, in a 42-18 vote.