Update on UFC and HBO/ESPN

ufc on hbo and espn
For the past few months, talk have heated up about a looming deal between the UFC and HBO to broadcast mixed martial arts events on the cable television network.

In fact, UFC 70: Nations Collide was rumored to air on the premium channel. However, that April 21 event will now be aired for free on SpikeTV because negotiations have bogged down.

Variety.com — an entertainment-oriented news Web site — recently confirmed speculation that the reason behind the stalled talks is because HBO wants to keep the production distinct.

Here's a snip from HBO exec Chris Albrecht:

"We are talking to the UFC and looking at ways we can distinguish ourselves in that area ... if we decide to be in the mixed martial arts business, we'll make sure it's as distinctive as everything else HBO does."

Essentially, this means HBO prefers to bring in its own crew, which doesn't include ringside announcers Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan, among others.

The deadlock seems like a rather small detail to hold up a monster deal that would benefit both parties big time.

I can see both sides of this argument: both want to ensure that their brands are preserved and upheld.

It is obvious that a compromise on the matter will need to be met — and soon — with other promotions and cable networks already taking the lead on mixed martial arts programming.

And according to the article, another sports and cable network titan, ESPN, is looking to "fishhook some rights" to UFC programming.

With SpikeTV already in the picture and performing well, I'm not really sure if that's a near-term possibility.

But, Friday Night UFC Fights has a nice ring to it.

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