As UFC Plays Hardball With Fighters, It Looks To Double Its Money in China
Just days after the UFC allegedly gave former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby Covington a “take it or leave it” offer to face welterweight titleholder Kamaru Usman, a report reveals that the promotion is looking to renegotiate the terms of its broadcast deal in China.
Covington won the interim title in June 2018 with a decision win over Rafael dos Anjos. He was later stripped of that belt when he was unable to meet Tyron Woodley in a title unification bout due to nose surgery. Still, Covington said he planned to sit and wait for his title fight.
Those plans changed in June when the UFC made a demand of Covington that he could not refuse.
“Sometimes they make an offer you can’t refuse, or maybe a demand you can’t refuse,” Dan Lambert told The Score while speaking about Covington’s August matchup against Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC on ESPN 5.
Covington won that bout by decision. Instead of thanking him for taking the fight, as Covington and his team probably expected, the UFC came to him with an offer he could refuse.
“There was no negotiation,” Covington told ESPN. “They came to me and said ‘Take this or leave it and we will pass it on to the next person.’ That’s not fair negotiating and that’s not right. So I’m just not going to take the first offer that offer me. We need to meet in the middle, there is more that needs to be done.”
Now the NY Post reports that the UFC is looking to rework its broadcast deal in China. This news comes not long after Weili Zhang, who was born in China’s Hebei province, defeated Jessica Andrade to become the promotion’s first Chinese champion.
According to the Post, the original UFC broadcast deal with China was in the $50 million range for five years. The promotion is now looking to double those fees to $100 million for the life of the deal.
The Post reported that the UFC had no comment on the deal.
The hypocrisy of the UFC dealings over the past few days should not go unnoticed by fans or fighters.