Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White was neither "worried" nor "concerned" that around 40 million households nationwide would be unable to watch UFC Fight Night 26 this weekend (Sat., Aug. 17, 2013) because FOX Sports 1 was excluded from their existing cable and/or satellite packages.
That's because FOX Sports 1 today struck a programming deal with satellite television giants DirecTV and Dish, as well as cable conglomerate Time Warner! "Everyone has FS1 now :)," White gushed on Twitter.com. "Time for some fights!"
According to Dave Meltzer, no terms were announced regarding the eleventh-hour deals, which came about 36 hours from fight night at TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. And there is no telling if the companies will pass the costs onto subscribers and/or customers (that's you!) in the near future.
Regardless, it certainly made more than a few mixed martial arts (MMA) fans breathe sighs of relief, especially considering just how many of them possibly could have been shut out.
"... it will boost the station's availability from about 45 million homes to 85 million homes, out of the approximately 99 million cable and dish households. There are more than 114 million U.S. television households."
UFC Fight Night 26 is an absolutely stacked card from bottom-to-top, perhaps the promotion's most talented collective line up ever assembled for "free" television.
It features a main event between Mauricio Rua vs. Chael Sonnen and a co-feature that will showcase a Heavyweight showdown between Alistair Overeem vs. Travis Brown. The top two matches on the marquee, as well as three main card bouts and five under card "Prelims" contests will air on FOX Sports 1, beginning at 6 p.m. ET.
FOX announced its decision to move sports programming over to FOX Sports 1 earlier this year (details here), freeing up the FX Channel for all sorts of nifty shows like Sons of Anarchy, Justified, American Horror Story and Archer. That means The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 (watch preview), and the future of the "reality television" franchise, will also pack its bags.