While Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza was used as a punchline during the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor press conferences, he’s not going to let a bruised ego get in the way of a good business deal.
Even if it involves UFC President Dana White.
In fact, Espinoza wants to have a conversation with the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion once its current broadcasting deal with FOX expires in 2018, which is expected to bring a bevy of suitors.
“Whenever they’re free of their obligations there will be a conversation,” Espinoza told MMA Fighting. “Dana and I have disagreed on some things, but my relationships over there are strong. He and I have had disagreements, which is fine. The NFL and I have disagreements sometimes. It happens.”
Showtime previously aired Strikeforce events before the now-defunct promotion was gobbled up by UFC in early 2011.
How long that conversation lasts could depend on the asking price. UFC is reportedly seeking a yearly commitment of $450 million, a four-fold annual increase of the estimated $115 million deal brokered nearly seven years back.
There is surely no shortage of content as UFC tends to have something on FOX and FOX Sports 1 several times each month; however, the fact that it airs on most basic cable packages and does not require a seperate subscription like Showtime undoubtedly helps with the ratings, which are not that hot to begin with.
I guess we’ll find out in just a few months.