White: Competition Coming for Showtime

By Greg Savage Aug 27, 2009
UFC President Dana White took aim at Showtime Thursday following a pre-fight press conference for UFC 102 in Portland, Ore., criticizing the premium pay channel for its “attitude” and warning it that formidable competition was on the way.

Showtime broadcasts rival promotion Strikeforce with live monthly events and had previously aired Elite XC shows on its channels as well.

White labeled his competitor “Strikefarce” last month at UFC 101 in Philadelphia, just days after the promotion signed coveted heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, but re-directed his arsenal to its broadcasting partner Thursday.

“I’m not anti-Strikeforce, I don’t dislike those guys,” said White following the press conference. “I dislike Showtime, that’s who I dislike. I think they’re di-ks, I don’t like them. I don’t like their attitude; they think they are better than they really are. They’ve been second-rate at boxing, they’ve been second-rate at programming and now they think they are great at mixed martial arts and my fight is with them, not with Strikeforce.”

White also had choice words for a Showtime representative, but didn’t identify him by name.

“The guy over at Showtime who I’m talking about knows who he is and I dislike him very much and my beef is with him, not really Strikeforce,” said White.

The belief that mixed martial arts is a platform Showtime has embraced in an effort to get a leg up on their competition, namely HBO, and not because of a desire to advance the sport has permeated the thinking of UFC upper management going back to the network’s involvement with the now-defunct Elite XC.

“They sucked at boxing, they got their a-- kicked by HBO always at boxing yet they tried to stay in it,” said White. “They got their a-- kicked by HBO in programming, but they’re still around and they’re going to get their a-- kicked in mixed martial arts too, just not by HBO.”

White, who once negotiated with HBO for UFC-related programming before the deal soured, has hinted at an additional broadcast deal for the promotion for the last year. The UFC currently airs live and taped programming on Spike TV, but the deal is non-exclusive for live events, including on other cable networks.
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