Dana White to Hold High-Stakes Talks with ESPN, Future of UFC Partnership Hangs in the Balance?


Dana White to Hold High-Stakes Talks with ESPN, Future of UFC Partnership Hangs in the Balance?

In a stunning development, UFC President Dana White is gearing up for a crucial sit-down with top executives at ESPN to discuss the future of their partnership. The stakes are high as the current broadcasting rights deal between the UFC and ESPN is set to expire in 2025.

White revealed in a recent interview with Sports Business Journal that he has scheduled a meeting with Mark Shapiro, President of Endeavor, and Jimmy Pitaro, President of ESPN, within the next month to explore the potential extension of their collaboration.

Dana White
Dana White

The UFC and ESPN joined forces in 2019, making ESPN+ the exclusive provider of UFC pay-per-view cards. This partnership has significantly contributed to the global popularity and reach of the UFC.

While White is eager to continue the fruitful partnership, ESPN remains non-committal about a new deal. Matt Kenny, ESPN Vice President of Combat Sports Programming, emphasized their appreciation for the UFC but stopped short of making any promises.

Before ESPN, the UFC had broadcasting agreements with Fox Sports and Spike TV. However, their current ESPN deal has undoubtedly elevated the promotion’s status.

Dana White Drops Bombshell Update on Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler Clash

Dana White delivered a rather somber update on the highly anticipated Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler fight during the post-fight press conference for UFC Vegas 74.

McGregor and Chandler were set to clash later this year after serving as opposing coaches on Season 31 of The Ultimate Fighter. However, at present, Conor McGregor has yet to submit his first drug testing sample to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). As a result, the Irishman’s planned return to the Octagon cannot happen for at least another six months.

When questioned about the potential of the McGregor vs. Chandler fights falling through, Dana White responded with the following remarks during the press conference:

“I never get concerned. We have a massive roster of people who want to come in, fight, and aspire to be at Conor McGregor’s level. For the past 20 years, people have constantly asked what we would do when fighters like Chuck Liddell, GSP, or Anderson Silva retire. But this is a professional sport. Fighters come, achieve great things, and then retire. It’s a part of the game. My job, along with my team, is to find new talent and build them up.”

White further explained, “Conor called me a couple of days ago, expressing his love for the first episode of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and how happy he was to be a part of it. Being here, in this environment, reignited his passion for fighting. However, one thing you must understand is that Conor and fighters like Khabib have amassed a significant amount of wealth. It’s challenging to reel these guys in and motivate them to step back into the octagon.”

Conor McGregor, with a record of 22-6, has been absent from the fight scene since suffering a broken leg in his trilogy bout against Dustin Poirier in July 2021. Fans eagerly await his return, but it seems they will have to wait a while longer until the Irish superstar complies with the necessary testing procedures.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the McGregor vs. Chandler fight, the UFC remains steadfast in its commitment to delivering high-quality fights to fans. With a deep pool of talented fighters, the promotion will continue to entertain audiences while grooming the next generation of MMA stars.

As the days pass, fight enthusiasts can only hope that Conor McGregor will soon complete his obligations and make his triumphant return to the sport he helped elevate to new heights.

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