UFC certainly dodged a bullet on this one.
Broadcast satellite service provider DirecTV has reached a deal with FOX to continuing carrying its family of networks. From the DirecTV statement:
"Fox Networks and DIRECTV have reached an agreement for DIRECTV to continue carrying all Fox Networks (including FX, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, SPEED, FUEL TV, FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes), Fox's regional sports networks, Fox Broadcasting (FOX), the FOX local stations, Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. We both know the past ten days have been challenging, but we're pleased that both sides could eventually come together to ensure our viewers continue to enjoy Fox programming."
The two sides may have waited until the eleventh hour to strike the multi-year agreement but the importance of this for the UFC cannot be understated.
The world's premiere mixed martial arts organization is gearing up for what promises to be its biggest year in history in 2012, when it plans to hold 34 events. Only a dozen or so of those are planned for pay-per-view, while four shows are planned for the main FOX network channel.
That still leaves 18 events without a home. Enter FX and FUEL.
While the UFC deal with FOX paved the way for the promotion to land on network TV, which was the most high profile facet of the deal, perhaps more important are the ancillary channels.
FX, for example, will become the new home of a completely revamped version of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), which, of course, is the show that saved MMA as we know it.
FUEL, on the other hand, has become "essential" for UFC fans, according to President Dana White. That's because the channel will air live events, as well as international versions of TUF. It's more or less going to become the unofficial home for UFC.
Losing out on the 20 million DirecTV subscribers would have been a big hit to the big things UFC has planned next year.
Again, though, bullet dodged.
Any DirecTV subscribers out there jumping for joy at this news?