TV Insider: UFC Played Chicken With Fox And Lost
According to Dave Meltzer, it seems that the new five year pact between ESPN and the UFC was the UFC’s back up plan.
In the latest edition of Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Meltzer broke down how UFC officials were hoping to continue its partnership with FOX Sports, but the network balked at the price tag.
It appears that FOX, when making the deal, was not willing to continue its previously on the table $200 million offer for UFC, since the next day reports were that UFC’s television rights were going to ESPN for $150 million in a separate deal from the ESPN+ streaming deal announced last week.
The splitting of the rights between FOX and ESPN+ was possible, but according to Meltzer’s sources FOX was not willing to pay the $10 million per show cost, and pulled their offer.
Meltzer was also told by his source that, “UFC played chicken with FOX and lost” which opened up for the WWE’s alleged $205 million dollar deal to bring their Tuesday night Smackdown Live programming to Fox on Friday night’s starting next fall.
According to his sources, Meltzer claimed that Fox saw more value in a potential deal with the WWE for their Smackdown Live brand, which would be 52 weeks of first run content, instead of 20 UFC shows and other “ancillary” content.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter