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Fox And DirecTV Reach An Agreement, UFC Not In Jeopardy

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  UFC President Dana White speaks during the UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference at W Hollywood on September 20, 2011 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: UFC President Dana White speaks during the UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference at W Hollywood on September 20, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
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Last week I reported that DirecTV had sent a letter to the FCC in response to Fox's continual airing of misleading commercials. The complaint essentially was to let the FCC know that Fox is no longer fit to be a network and should not receive the same considerations as CBS/NBC/ABC. The Fox suite of channels including FX, Fuel, and Fox Soccer Channel were set to be pulled from the carrier today until a deal could be reached. Last night the two sides reached to an agreement and customers will not be losing their channels.

"Fox Networks and DIRECTV have reached an agreement for DIRECTV to continue carrying all Fox Networks (including FX, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, SPEED, FUEL TV, FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes), Fox's regional sports networks, Fox Broadcasting (FOX), the FOX local stations, Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network," DirecTV expressed in a statement. "We both know the past ten days have been challenging, but we're pleased that both sides could eventually come together to ensure our viewers continue to enjoy Fox programming."

There are rumors as to why the deal came together so quickly. One is that Fox wanted their entire suite, including Fox Broadcasting, to be under one deal instead of multiple contracts. As with everything in business, this also means that when the next time the contract is up, Fox will have more negotiating power. The only Fox channel that isn't included in this deal is the Golf Channel, which has a month to month type contract.

This is great news for MMA fans. The UFC has always had a great relationship with DirecTV, who for a while were the only television carrier that actually supported the sport of MMA. The fact that DirecTV was in a dispute with Fox could have meant disaster for the UFC's network hopes in 2012, especially with their plans for live events. As of right now, the UFC is planning 34 events for next year, a dozen of which will air on PPV. This means that Fox, FX, and Fuel will pick up the remaining events. Fox will air four events, while FX will air six. This means that the remaining 12 will aired on Fuel. 

On top of live events, there are also the live seasons of The Ultimate Fighter which will air on FX starting next year. Dana White has been on record saying that UFC fans will need Fuel TV going forward. In addition to the 12 live events, the plans for Fuel TV include airing the international Ultimate Fighters, the first of which will be TUF: Brazil, as well as highlight shows and shows similar to UFC All Access. The irony here is that the UFC failed to purchase their own network when they were in talks with NBC to buy a majority stake in G4; instead, they are getting paid to make Fuel TV a "must have" channel for Fox by turning it into essentially the UFC Network.