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Showtime open to buying UFC broadcast rights after FOX deal expires

Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza is interested in the UFC broadcast rights once the contract with FOX Sports lapses.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor World Press Tour - Toronto Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

One of the major breakthroughs that the UFC had gone through was its broadcast partnership with network giant FOX Sports. It is a deal that was inked in 2011, and will lapse by the end of the next year.

Now that the UFC has built a strong enough brand in mainstream sports, it is expected for them to be approached by a number of interested companies. One of them, apparently, is Showtime Sports.

During his appearance on Monday’s episode of the MMA Hour, Showtime sports executive vice president Stephen Espinoza spoke in behalf of the entire network about possibly working with the UFC in the future.

But if it were to happen, Espinoza says there should be a clarity between the network and fans about which fights would be broadcasted on the Showtime network, and on pay-per-view.

“It would be silly not to,” Espinoza said (via MMA Fighting). “We are not gonna support the organization on our own shoulders, not with the size of the FOX deal.”

“As long as you sort that out from a marketing perspective and messaging perspective, I think it could work.”

While Dana White repeatedly talked about how he had a smooth working relationship with Showtime, Espinoza admitted to have clashed with the UFC president, both during the Mayweather-McGregor build-up, and when Strikeforce was bought out in 2011.

But even so, Espinoza acknowledges that it is all part of doing business.

“Dana and I have disagreed on some things, but my relationships over there are strong. I like the guys,” Espinoza said. “Virtually, almost all the team that was there in Strikeforce is still over there and I like dealing with them. I like them as people, I like them as individuals and I like them as business people.”

“It’s not to say I don’t like Dana. He and I have had disagreements, which is fine. The NFL and I have disagreements sometimes. It happens.”

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