White involved in negotiations with Showtime

October 28, 2011

MMA Junkie reports that Dana White is taking over the company’s negotiations for a new deal with Showitme. Lorenzo Fertitta was the lead in the negotiations prior to Ken Hershman leaving Showtime for HBO.

White called Hershman a “deal blower” in an MMA Fighting interview with Ariel Helwani. With Hershman out of the picture and Showtime wanting to continue in the MMA business, White stated the negotiations “went really well.”

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting development as most believed that Zuffa/Strikeforce-Showtime would mutually end its contractual relationship when the existing agreement ended. Perhaps Zuffa sees Showtime as a network it could keep Strikeforce Challengers or a “Challengers” type series if Strikeforce dissolves. Or, he wanted to meet the new team in charge of Showtime to gage a potential competitor in the MMA business. With UFC content heading to Fox, a contract with Showtime would mean Strikeforce will continue in 2012. But, with most of its top fighters rumored (or already in the organization) to be in the UFC, only Strikeforce Challengers may survive.

6 Responses to “White involved in negotiations with Showtime”

  1. mmaguru on October 29th, 2011 10:37 AM

    I agree Jason, but this makes no sense. UFC has no need to keep challengers around. Maybe they are thinking of having some actual UFC content on Showtime.

  2. Jason Cruz on October 29th, 2011 1:43 PM

    MMA Guru:

    I don’t believe the UFC can have anything on Showtime since all UFC content is moving to Fox channels in 2012. That’s why a part of me thinks its a courtesy meeting by White. The only reason it would renew its Showtime contract is to house Strikeforce.

  3. terrence from southeast on October 30th, 2011 9:01 AM

    Keeping Strikeforce around for another year could keep some fighters with jobs,and also allow for younger fighters to continue to get seasoning.

  4. mmaguru on October 30th, 2011 12:18 PM

    Thanks Jason,
    I did not realize that the FOX deal was exclusive.

  5. BrainSmasher on October 30th, 2011 4:58 PM

    Everyone assumes the UFC is limited in their options. I dont think that is the case. Sure the UFC is tied to FOX. Sure most fo the stars are leaving or left Strikeforce. But if Showtime makes a commitment to SF and it is a profitable deal for the UFC those fighters are not tied to FOX. It is possible some fighters can be sent back to make good shows on Showtime. I haven’t seen any reason this couldn’t happen. Also if the deal is profitable for the UFC they could use it as a feeder for the UFC rather than pulling people out of Wild Bills Fight Night right into the UFC. OF course this would put SF into the challengers role even if it didnt use the Challenger name.

    I dont think this is a courtesy from Dana White. In the end if the deal is good from Showtime Zuffa will not pass it up. But Zuffa doesnt need a deal. So they wont take a crap deal just for the ake of getting on tv. So Showtime will really have to step up and IMO make a commitment. They will not get super stars for peanuts like they have in the past. It doesnt help the sport or Zuffa to take a deal like the current SF deal where they can only break even with each event.

  6. Hardiek on November 2nd, 2011 12:47 PM

    I agree Brainsmasher. Zuffa will not take any deal if it doesn’t help push their brands. But, Showtime could make a handsome offer to keep the Challengers Series around. I believe Showtime would rather promote a Strikeforce Challengers series over M-1 Global. I know Dana White has a reputation as being tough to do business with. But, Dana is a push over compared to Vadim Finklestein and M-1 Global. If Dana and Zuffa can use a Showtime deal to help act as a feeder league, they will. Showtime can help pay for the production and Zuffa can put together the fight cards. Thus, it helps the sport of MMA, Zuffa, Showtime and the fighters. This is a good idea.

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