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#335694 - 04/18/07 04:10 PM UFC on HBO!
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Looks like it's a deal:

http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=3796&zoneid=2

"The UFC has reached a deal to air live events on HBO, according to statements made by UFC president Dana White on a pre-UFC 70 teleconference.

White said that the UFC will be putting on live events for HBO and that the first UFC event on HBO will air this summer. When asked by a reporter if the HBO deal is "signed, sealed, and delivered," White said, "Yes." When asked if the deal should be reported as official, White said, "Yeah. We will be on HBO this summer." White also spoke of struggling to sign the HBO deal in the past tense, as he said, "We would have never signed a deal if we weren't comfortable with it."

White said that the UFC broadcasts on HBO will have an HBO production team and HBO announcers, so UFC announcers Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan will not be doing commentary on the UFC's HBO events. White said that he doesn't know who will be on the HBO announcing team for UFC events, but when asked if Jim Lampley would be on the team, White said, "Hell no."

White inferred that the HBO events will be higher in stature than the Spike TV events but still lower in stature than the pay-per-view events. As an example, White said that you could expect to see the winners from future seasons of The Ultimate Fighter have their first post-TUF fights on HBO after they win the TUF competition, whereas the UFC Fight Night events would be the home for all of the fighters who are on TUF and get UFC contracts even though they didn't win the TUF competition.

As another example, White said that you can expect to see Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira fight on HBO, and he added that Nogueira "will fight one of the top guys right off the bat." White said that fans can expect to see top-quality fights whether any given UFC event is on HBO, Spike TV, or pay-per-view.

White said that the UFC's June 16th event in Belfast, Northern Ireland will not be the HBO debut show, as he said that the June 16th show will be "on Spike TV or pay-per-view." The UFC web site previously said that the June 16th would be on Spike TV in the United States.

The statements made by White on Tuesday would seem to end a period of more than one year wherein the UFC and HBO were close to a deal but had not reached a deal. White has said consistently over the past year that the UFC would be on HBO "very soon," dating back to an April 2006 radio interview on 1140 KHTK in Sacramento, California.

Acclaimed boxing writer Thomas Hauser wrote in an article on the Seconds Out web site in January 2007 that HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg had "opposed the UFC deal as vigorously as possible" and was doing "everything in his power not to televise mixed martial arts." In the same article, former HBO Sports president Seth Abraham actually compared MMA to "naked boxing" and said that MMA would tarnish HBO's boxing heritage

In an unprecedented move, HBO Chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht veto'd HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg and insisted that HBO would air MMA programming at some point, leaving Greenburg only to negotiate the details of such a deal. According to Hauser, this move "represented a marked shift in HBO's corporate culture... in the past, an HBO chief executive officer would not have ordered sports programming over the objection of the sports department."

Left only to come to terms on the details, some of the key disagreements between Zuffa and HBO Sports were whose production crew will film the event, whose announcers will commentate on the event, and how those announcers will go about commentating on the event.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer recently summarized the dispute as follows: "HBO wants full control of the product, and to use its crew and its announcers and cover it like a network broadcast team would cover a major sporting event. UFC doesn't want to give up its control of the product, wants its own crew to film it, and wants to use its own announcers, who are closer to pro wrestling announcers whose role is to build up the product as opposed to providing detached, objective commentary."

With those issues resolved, there were no remaining obstacles standing in the way of a deal between the UFC and HBO."
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#335695 - 04/18/07 04:34 PM Re: UFC on HBO! [Re: MattJ]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Interesting times ahead then.

I am not a huge UFC fan it must be said. I would rather watch PRIDE (such as it was) or K1 if I had to watch an MMA event.

Will MMA have a future as a spectator sport? I don't know. I still think the general public will not warm to any grappling event, as it is not the most exciting thing to watch for the uninitiated. It is the reason why they had to jazz up Pro Wrestling in USA, turn it into a soap opera. By itself as a sport, it just isn't exciting for the casual sports fan to watch.

A USA Olympic Judoka said that Judo isnít exciting to watch, that TV companies should show Judo at the Olympics in a highlight reel format, showing the exciting throws and submissions when they occurred. My dad lives for sports, as a player and a fan. But he refused to watch the recent European Judo Champs on Eurosport as he said he had to go watch some paint dry insteadÖ.

Please note this is not an attack on grappling! Grappling is a highly effective and essential part of martial training IMHO. In my experience though, and I believe it is an experience shared by others, it just isnít exciting to watch for the uninitiated.

The bigger issue for me is where does it leave boxing? HBO is, and has been, the premier TV network in the world for broadcasting boxing. As I understand it, boxing budget is to be decreased (in part) to allow UFC to come on board at HBO. Money has to come from somewhere.

If UFC is a commercial success though, it could work to boxing's advantage. If boxing is driven from HBO, it could end up on free network channels in USA, like NBC (assuming they show sports!!). If boxing is given a wider audience, it can only help the sport. Boxingís return to free-to air TV in the UK has definitely helped rejuvenate the sport, both in terms of its coverage in the media, its fan base, and participation the sport.
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#335696 - 04/18/07 06:18 PM Re: UFC on HBO! [Re: MattJ]
Dereck Offline
Prolific

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
This is all fine and dandy but what about us that don't have HBO? This will suck as now we won't be able to see the end fights from the Ultimate Fighter Series. Spike was at least viewable by everybody and reached the people easily enough without having to subscribe to HBO, which with my digital cable is not even an option. This fan is not happy, not one bit.
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"IF I COME ... I'M BRINGING THE PAIN WITH ME"

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#335697 - 04/18/07 06:44 PM Re: UFC on HBO! [Re: Dereck]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I'm reading this as still having the Spike broadcasts, although at a lower level of fight quality:

Quote:

White inferred that the HBO events will be higher in stature than the Spike TV events but still lower in stature than the pay-per-view events. As an example, White said that you could expect to see the winners from future seasons of The Ultimate Fighter have their first post-TUF fights on HBO after they win the TUF competition, whereas the UFC Fight Night events would be the home for all of the fighters who are on TUF and get UFC contracts even though they didn't win the TUF competition.

As another example, White said that you can expect to see Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira fight on HBO, and he added that Nogueira "will fight one of the top guys right off the bat." White said that fans can expect to see top-quality fights whether any given UFC event is on HBO, Spike TV, or pay-per-view.

White said that the UFC's June 16th event in Belfast, Northern Ireland will not be the HBO debut show, as he said that the June 16th show will be "on Spike TV or pay-per-view." The UFC web site previously said that the June 16th would be on Spike TV in the United States.


_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#335698 - 04/18/07 08:08 PM Re: UFC on HBO! [Re: MattJ]
Dereck Offline
Prolific

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
I took it that way as well. I also took it as the Ultimate Fighter show will be on Spike but the fight at the end will be on HBO. So I end up watching the show but don't get to see the end????? That would tick me off big time and I'm sure others would feel that way too. I think the UFC is forgetting about us little guys that are what made them so rich.
_________________________
"IF I COME ... I'M BRINGING THE PAIN WITH ME"

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#335699 - 04/19/07 06:35 AM Re: UFC on HBO! [Re: MattJ]
Supremor Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/22/04
Posts: 2510
Loc: UK
Quote:

White said that the UFC broadcasts on HBO will have an HBO production team and HBO announcers, so UFC announcers Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan will not be doing commentary on the UFC's HBO events. White said that he doesn't know who will be on the HBO announcing team for UFC events, but when asked if Jim Lampley would be on the team, White said, "Hell no."





Fantastic! The one thing that really annoys me about the UFC is the commentary, it's just not very professional. Hopefully HBO will handle it better, and who knows, maybe we'll get an MMA version of Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas from ESPN. Those guys are a reason to watch boxing in themselves.

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