Dana White Believes Showtime Wants to Take over Boxing, Never Wanted Strikeforce

Damon Martin@@DamonMartinContributor IApril 28, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 16: UFC President Dana White speaks with the media after a press conference promoting UFC 145: Jones v Evans at Philips Arena on February 16, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

UFC President Dana White has had a hard time holding his tongue over the last year about a volatile relationship that developed with former television partner Showtime while they were broadcasting Strikeforce events on the network.

Zuffa (parent company of the UFC) purchased Strikeforce in 2011 with an existing Showtime television deal already in place. It appeared the two sides would split months later, but then a new contract was struck that would hopefully propel Strikeforce to new heights in the industry.

That time never came, unfortunately.

White and the rest of the team at Zuffa constantly butted heads with Showtime executives and eventually Strikeforce folded and the fighters under contract were moved over to the UFC as the deal with the premium cable network finally came to a close.

During the entire ordeal, White did his best to remain silent about any dealings he had with Showtime, and stuffed his personal feelings down to keep from venting about their rocky relationship.

On Saturday night following the close of UFC 159, White spoke about Showtime regarding their newest push into the combat sports market. 

Showtime recently inked a deal with boxing pay-per-view king Floyd Mayweather, and they have made a major play to take over the market on the sport from longtime cable king, HBO.

White caught some of Showtime's boxing card on Saturday night prior to UFC 159 kicking off, and also watched their competitor HBO put up a similar offering. The UFC head honcho said the two products weren't even close.

"I'm not the biggest Showtime fan on Earth, but I'll tell you what Showtime blew HBO out of the water tonight," White stated when speaking with Bleacher Report. "With the presentation and all the things that they did, I never thought I'd see the day where I would say Showtime is actually looking better than HBO. It's crazy."

Now that Zuffa no longer works with Showtime and given their major push to take over the boxing television market, White is fairly sure he knows why things never worked out with Strikeforce on the network.

"I think they didn't want to be in business with us," White said about Showtime's willingness to work on Strikeforce. "Now that I look at it and see what they're doing their plan was to take over boxing. Their plan was to get everybody that they could get away from HBO into Showtime and they're kicking HBO's ass right now."

Since Strikeforce was dissolved the fighters that used to compete under their banner have done very well in the UFC Octagon. Last Saturday at UFC on Fox 7, former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson knocked out Nate Diaz, while Daniel Cormier picked up a unanimous decision win over former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir.

On Saturday at UFC 159, former Strikeforce title contender Pat Healy submitted Jim Miller and also picked up a double bonus for Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night. 

White seems more than content with the talent the UFC picked up from Strikeforce, and has put his time dealing with Showtime behind him.


Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.