EliteXC Reportedly Reaches Deal with CBS; Where Does That Leave the UFC?

February 27, 2008

EliteXC may be on the verge of establishing itself as the industry’s leading challenger to the UFC’s dominance. First came news that Showtime’s subscriptions were up 11% last quarter. Then came an explosive report from MMAJunkie.com that Pro Elite is on the verge of announcing a prime time television deal with CBS.

To say that such a deal would change the landscape of the industry is an understatement. That television platform, combined with EXC’s already existing talent base, and the mass of UFC talent that is set to enter the free agent market, could quickly change the hierarchy of the industry.

If true, this would be the second door opened by the UFC that EXC has walked through. MMAPayout.com was the first to report that negotiations between the UFC and CBS had stalled in December over creative control issues. EXC landed its spot on Showtime after the UFC attempted to use the network for leverage in its failed negotiations with HBO.

Where this leaves the UFC in its search for a network TV partner is unclear. CBS was the only network who’s interest in MMA was reportedly not dependent on the writer’s strike which was recently resolved. MMAPayout.com reported that the UFC received a less than warm reception from NBC earlier this year, however, that may change now that CBS is out of the picture.

Multiple sources have told MMAPayout.com that FOX is believed to have interest in MMA with rumors suggesting that the network even went so far as to make a bid on the UFC during recent negotiations. UFC President Dana White alluded to an unidentified network bidder in an interview with Steve Cofield earlier this month.

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