Report: HBO to Televise Three UFC Cards in 2007
Report: HBO to Televise Three UFC Cards in 2007Monday,
January 08, 2007
by Sherdog.com Staff
HBO will televise three Ultimate Fighting Championship cards in 2007 and holds an option for three more broadcasts, respected boxing scribe Thomas Hauser reported Monday. According to the report on SecondsOut.com, HBO's UFC cards will air at midnight on to-be-determined dates.
Hauser's report confirms the long-rumored deal between HBO and UFC, though the agreement did not come without objections from HBO Sports President Ross Greenberg. "He did everything in his power not to televise mixed martial arts," Hauser wrote of Greenberg. "But in the end, he had no choice."
Speaking last week with Hauser, Greenberg said he's not a "big" fan of the UFC -- and one would presume MMA -- but also conceded he wasn't much of a boxing fan when he joined HBO. "I recognize the fact that UFC appeals to a fan base and demographic that boxing doesn't have right now," Greenberg told Hauser.
Greenberg's predecessor, Seth Abraham, voiced his displeasure to Hauser over UFC's association with HBO.
"I think it's ridiculous for HBO to televise UFC," Abraham said. "When I was at HBO, we had discussions once or twice a year about professional wrestling. We all agreed that it would get good ratings and we also agreed that it would tarnish our boxing franchise. I feel the same way about UFC. Boxing has a storied history. When HBO attaches itself to boxing, it attaches itself to Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Muhammad Ali. It attaches itself to history, achievement, and glory. UFC has none of those things, and it will tarnish HBO's boxing franchise. Will UFC get good ratings? Probably. But so would naked boxing."
Despite the wishes of HBO's current and former sports chiefs, HBO chairman Chris Albrecht, hoping to court younger viewers to the premium cable network, "insisted on the telecasts," Hauser reported, after being pitched by UFC-hired Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel.