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Dana White Says Network Deal Coming in 2011, UFC Channel to Follow

UFC president Dana White is always fond of looking to the future. With a knowing smile, he often tells reporters that big things are afoot in the UFC offices, even if he doesn't always give specifics about what he's working on.

In a recent interview with Broadcasting & Cable, White outlined two major goals for 2011 and beyond.

First, he said that the UFC will be on broadcast TV in 2011. And then he dropped a bigger bombshell, saying that the UFC would start its own network within the next few years.

"Yes, we will," White said when asked if he expects the UFC to be on broadcast TV in 2011. "I just can't talk about it at all because we are right in the middle of it."

As is his custom, White gave no further details, even when the B&C reporter mentioned that both Fox and NBC seemed like probable fits for UFC programming.

"Everything you're saying makes sense," he said. "Fox on Saturday nights, Comcast merging with NBC, I am sorry I can't get into it."

A network deal would provide UFC with its greatest exposure yet, but we have heard similar claims by White in the past. In June 2008, White said he expected a network deal to be finalized imminently, at one point saying he believed a deal would be done "within three months." That possibility later fell through, and White has repeated many times since that he wouldn't sign a broadcast network deal until the time was right.

Still, the UFC has continued to grow its fan base with events on Spike, Versus and pay-per-view. With the UFC's recent foray into China and other parts of Asia, it expects to have television clearance in over 1 billion homes.

White went on to say that the organization would start its own network "in the next couple years."

"Sports Business Journal just came out with a survey asking big names in the industry which sport could start its own network and 4 out of 5 said us. They are right. I agree," he said.

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