Reports: UFC, NBCUniversal discuss G4
Representatives for UFC and NBCUniversal met Wednesday in New York to discuss interest the mixed martial arts promotion has in acquiring a controlling stake in the G4 channel, according to The New York Times.
The talks between UFC and NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast, which owns G4, were first reported in The Wall Street Journal.
Individuals with knowledge of the situation have said that UFC is seeking at least 60 percent ownership in G4, according to published reports.
UFC president Dana White has said in the past that UFC is interested in owning a television network. He also has expressed interest in bringing some UFC bouts to network TV.
If an agreement with NBCUniversal can be reached, White could be closer to achieving both of those goals. G4 is a cable channel available in approximately 60 million homes. NBCUniversal has aired Strikeforce-promoted MMA bouts in the past on the NBC network.
Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of UFC, recently purchased Strikeforce.
UFC has a $170 million a year deal with SpikeTV, according the The New York Times. White refutes that figure. That deal is scheduled to end in six months. The cable network regularly airs UFC preliminary-card bouts and has been the home of "The Ultimate Fighter" series since 2005.
According to several reports, negotiations with SpikeTV, a division of Viacom, stalled when UFC requested $325 million a year in rights fees. White refutes that figure as well.
"Yeah, and we wanted three-something?" White said. "Where would they get that? Where would that come from? Come on." Despite ongoing negotiations with SpikeTV, White said last month that UFC has begun speaking with several other outlets about airing some of the promotion's fights.
"There is no doubt that we are looking around," White said. "When I say we're talking to everybody, we're talking to everybody. That's what you do when your deal is up."
Franklin McNeil covers mixed martial arts and boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Franklin_McNeil.