Dana White's "big announcement" have become something of a running joke. Details are leaked or a deal falls through or the announcement simply fails to live up to the hyperbole. Today's announcement from Fox, which they promoted as one of the biggest in their 17-year history, more than lived up to expectation, even with the story leaking in an article from Sports Business Daily on Tuesday.
Most of the major details were confirmed -- four events on the Fox network (plus six more live events on FX), a seven-year deal, Versus/Spike content moving to FX and Fuel TV. Fox Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill refused to talk about how much the network paid, though he "wish[ed]" they only paid the reported $90 million.
But it was the details that emerged that are enticing.
For starters, the Ultimate Fighter will now be a live show. Sort of. Episodes will air on Friday nights, and will include footage of what happened that week. (I believe the term Dana used for this was "jive live.") Fights will now air live on FX.
Broadcast production will still be under the UFC's control, though Fox insists they'll have suggestions. Dana White thinks of this deal as a fresh start for the company. Plans are in place to completely revamp the product -- new graphics, new intros, etc. Joe Rogan asked about the much-maligned gladiator intro, and Dana quickly confirmed it's death.
Lorenzo Fertitta wouldn't guarantee every Fox event would feature a title fight, though both he and Dana insisted the network shows would feature big fights. Hill was not worried, either, claiming it's in the UFC's best interests to put on quality events to help their PPV model grow.
The first show on Fox will come sooner than expected on November 12th. That is also the date Manny Pacquiao fights Juan Manuel Marquez, though Dana White insists the date was chosen more by necessity than a direct attempt at competing with boxing.