Nothing in life worth having comes easy.
Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and the rest of the Zuffa brass know this tried-and-true saying all to well. As the UFC continues to pursue their goal of worldwide acceptance, misconceptions and a general lack of understanding of the sport on the part of politicians and people in power all over the globe make for a difficult challenge.
And yet another roadblock in their quest has surfaced.
Munich-based network German Sports Television (DSF) has barred Ultimate Fighting Championship programming at the order of the Bavarian Regulatory Authority for Commercial Broadcasting (BLM).
BLM head Dr. Wolfgang Flieger issued the following statement. "The Committee deems these television formats unacceptable by the sheer massiveness of the portrayed violence. In these shows you can witness acts of breaking taboos, such as hitting a downed opponent. These acts contradict the general principle of a public-service broadcasting."
But don't think for one minute that the UFC is just going to sit back and accept this injunction.
Marshall Zelaznik, UFC UK President and Managing Director of International Development had this to say about the prohibition. "We have been monitoring this development together with our partner DSF for a couple of weeks. Although we are not surprised by the decision, we consider it unusual to take action without listening to the concerning parties first."
This action on the part of BLM in banning certain "unfit" programming has actually occurred before.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) was previously banned from DSF on the order of BLM. WWE subsequently took the issue to court, was victorious in their lawsuit, and rightfully returned to the air shortly thereafter.
And there's no reason to think that the same course of action won't be played out in the UFC's case.
"The Bavarian state office for new media has approved UFC programming on DSF twice on separate occasions in the past," said Zelaznik. "That is why we deem the sudden ban unusual as the content of our programming has not changed."
It's a situation worth monitoring, and while a successful appeal of this ban is expected, it is likely to not be the last time the folks at Zuffa are faced with this type of opposition as they move forward with global expansion.