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Volume 24 No. 116
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Showtime Interested In Landing UFC Deal When Current Contract With Fox Expires

There are "expected to be a number of suitors" for UFC rights when the MMA promotion's deal with Fox expires at the end of next year, and Showtime will be one of them, according to Marc Raimondi of MMA FIGHTING. Showtime Exec VP & GM Stephen Espinoza said that the net would "certainly reach out to the UFC about being one of its broadcast partners." Espinoza: "It would be silly not to. We are not gonna support the organization on our own shoulders. Not (like) the FOX deal." Raimondi noted one concern Espinoza and Showtime have with the UFC is the "number of masters they must serve with regards to distribution." The UFC currently "puts its best events on pay per view, the next tier on Fox and a tier below on Fox Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass." Those are "four different outlets to release their product and Espinoza would want to be sure there is a 'clarity' of which fights go where if Showtime was to enter into a broadcast deal with the UFC." Espinoza said that "fans 'have to understand why' certain fights are on pay per view, certain fights are on Showtime, some are on network television, and so on." He said, "As long as you sort that out from a marketing perspective and messaging perspective, I think it could work." He added he and UFC President Dana White "have disagreed on some things, but my relationships over there are strong." Espinoza: "I like the guys" (MMAFIGHTING.com, 9/8).