It's always nice to see mainstream media -- even if it's in the blog section -- cover mixed martial arts, the sport we greatly enjoy.
The New York Times recently published an interview with Jon Wertheim, a SI.com sports writer who also wrote "Blood in the Cage: Mixed Martial Arts, Pat Miletich, and the Furious RIse of the UFC."
In the interview, he covers topics ranging from the UFC and MMA's growth, his comparison of MMA fighters to tennis players, where MMA goes in the future, and a number of other topics in the interview.
The U.F.C. has broken the barrier with mainstream advertisers. The same Bud Light spots that were seen in the Super Bowl are on Spike’s coverage of the U.F.C. Do you think the U.F.C. can get onto broadcast network TV or HBO, especially after what happened with Elite XC and CBS?
Most “upstart” leagues are so desperate for TV exposure that often they will essentially give the time to the networks. In this case, I think the future depends more on the U.F.C.’s desires and moods than on the networks’. Does the U.F.C. want to abandon/alter a successful pay-per-view model? And is the U.F.C. willing to let other folks control the production, run the broadcast, install their own objective commentators, et cetera? I think a deal with HBO is unlikely, for a variety of reasons — not least, HBO’s investment in boxing. But if U.F.C. continues growing and gradually losing its stigma, I think the programming angle becomes an interesting part of the story.
In case you're interested, there also is an excerpt from his book posted at the end of the interview.