Initially, it was somewhat surprising to read on Tuesday that Bellator had signed a "monumental, multi-year" partnership with FOX Sports Latin America, beginning next month. After all, these days, the UFC is synonymous with all things FOX Sports.
Carlos Martinez, president of FOX International Channels Latin America, said this in a statement:
"FOX Sports Latin America has been looking for the premier mixed martial arts organization to partner with, and Bellator is the perfect fit. We are thrilled to make Bellator the widest distributed MMA promotion in Latin America and Brazil, reaching more than 50 million homes from day one."
UFC president Dana White, however, had a different take on the news.
"That guy's quote in the press release should have been this: 'We negotiated forever to get No. 1, we couldn't get No. 1, so we went with [Bellator],'" White told MMAFighting.com Tuesday night.
White said the UFC had talks with FOX Sports Latin America in the past, but they chose to sign deals with TV giants Televisa in Mexico and Globo in Brazil, not to mention other deals in the region. The 50 million homes that cable channel FOX Sports Latin America is in spans over 19 countries. Televisa is in 24 million households free to air in Mexico alone, while Globo is in 55 million housholds free to air in Brazil.
The UFC has different TV deals all over the world, so just because they are signed to FOX Sports in the United States, doesn't automatically tie them to the other FOX Sports entities elsewhere.
White said he wasn't bothered by the fact that a FOX Sports entity had signed a deal with Bellator. In fact, it appears as though he first heard about the news at Tuesday's UFC 168 media scrum in Las Vegas.
Update: The UFC provided MMAFighting.com with a breakdown of their television reach in Latin America. All told, their current Latin American distribution is 113.6 million households, which includes the aforementioned Mexico and Brazil. Below is a look at the entrie breakdown:
Brazil (GLOBO) -- 55 million HH
Mexico (TELEVISA) -- 24 million HH
Colombia (CARACOL TV) – 11.8 million HH
Peru (AMERICA TV) -- 6.8 million HH
Ecuador (TELEAMAZONAS) -- 3.8 million HH
Panama (TVMAX) -- 460,000 HH
Argentina (AMERICA TV) -- 10.9 million HH
Nicaragua (Channel 4 RATENSA) -- 570,000 HH