The Ultimate Fighting Championship has moved closer to a deal that will feature mixed martial arts on the subscription-based cable network Home Box Office by this Summer, UFC president Dana White said during a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday.
"We haven't signed or announced anything yet," White said. "I'm just being cocky and telling you I think we'll definitely be putting on a [HBO] show this summer."
With Showtime already broadcasting MMA events, including two cards in June, HBO's alignment with the sport is further proof of its exploding popularity in the U.S. HBO broadcasts could feature stars of SpikeTV's reality series The Ultimate Fighter, as well as international talent which has not yet been seen inside the Octagon, White suggested.
For Zuffa (promoter of UFC and WEC) this news means that its product will be showcased on three different television netoworks: HBO, SpikeTV and Versus, which will broadcast live WEC cards starting in June.
Discussions are also underway to put the PRIDE Fighting Championships, recently acquired by UFC co-owner Lorenzo Feritta, back on television with "major" deals both in the U.S. and in Japan, said White, though no timetable was given.