The moment the ink from the UFC's mega-deal with Fox dried, executives from Showtime had to feel the end was coming. As the contract between Zuffa and its longtime Strikeforce broadcast partner nears a conclusion, UFC President Dana White is making his message clear: Showtime needs to make a definitive decision on their commitment to the relationship.
Though that's not to say the UFC boss isn't trying to slightly force their hand. After continuously pilfering Strikeforce of its big names and former champions -- including Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Jason Miller, Alistair Overeem, and Dan Henderson -- the UFC has relegated the promotion to increasingly waning relevance, which will only be further exacerbated once lightweight king Gilbert Melendez abandons his title Octagon glory, as is expected. Regardless, White has maintained his hard stance towards Showtime, as demonstrated in a recent interview with MMA Weekly.
"There's no doubt what this programming does and how good it is. The ball is in their court, you either want to be in this business or you don't. The problem is, we're running a business -- we've got to run our business. I can't sit around and wait for decisions to be made.
The thing that would always piss me off, and when all you guys (the media) would ask me, ‘how come these guys have a television deal in network and you don't?' Because I'm not going to cut a stupid deal... It's not just about getting on TV. Yeah, that's great that you get on TV, but if you're paying the whole bill, you're dead."