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UFC Seeking to Pin Down HBO Deal

HBO said it has not yet inked a deal to distribute content from the Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed-martial-arts franchise, despite published reports to the contrary.

UFC president Dana White was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying the organization finalized a deal with HBO to televise UFC events beginning this summer.

HBO spokesman Ray Stallone would only say that the network has “nothing to announce” regarding a UFC deal. He did confirm that the two companies have been in discussions regarding a carriage deal.

An HBO deal would be a major coup for UFC, which exploded onto the television marketplace over the past two years through its pay-per-view offerings and its original Spike TV series, Ultimate Fighter.

HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg said recently that the pay service -- which is known for its pro-boxing franchise -- said UFC has a great fan base and is “here to stay.” He added that the success of mixed martial arts has not come at the expense of boxing.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.