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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The UFC hasn't finished out their first full year on their seven-year deal with Fox, but they've gone through growing pains throughout 2012 that have brought about a lot of criticisms of the organization. Numbers have been down on televised events, and the move to Friday nights for The Ultimate Fighter has brought about the lowest ratings in the show's history. Add in an injury issue that has destroyed the UFC's plans throughout the year, and there has definitely been a lot of negativity.
However, White maintains that anyone writing about the UFC's future, what they should be doing, and where they should be going, is inherently wrong. After Saturday's UFC on Fuel 5 event, White once again reiterated his stance that no one but the UFC knows what's coming, and disagreed with any notion that the Fox deal has been a mistake for the UFC.
"I can't tell you everything we're doing – so when I try to explain it, it's half-assed," White said in an interview with MMAjunkie.com. "When I see reporters back home trying to write out our business model, and 'Here's what they need to do' – shut the f--- up. It drives me crazy. (Reporters) have no idea what's going on, and (they) try to jump in the middle and talk about what's wrong and how to fix it. These guys that start writing these stories about what's broken, it drives me nuts."
"You have to sit back and just watch," White continued. "We're changing everything up. Things are going to be done completely different than they were. The answer isn't do less shows. When we were doing five shows a year, when we were doing eight shows a year – you can't grow the sport with five or eight shows a year. You can't bring in enough talent, enough guys can't make money. You can't cultivate all these different markets. You have to have fights. To get it done and do it the right way, you've got to have the TV deals."
"Everybody's like, 'This FOX thing was such a … this and that,' The FOX thing is the greatest thing to ever f---ing happen to this sport, and the greatest thing to ever happen to us. It will be all flushed out in the next three or four years. It's going to be great – just a lot of work."
Penick's Analysis: This is absolutely a marathon for the UFC, this isn't a deal that was going to immediately vault them into the stratosphere of popularity - as much as all of us would have liked to see the sport make that leap. There's a learning curve, there are growing pains, there are any number of issues that come up in figuring out the best way to go about this relationship with Fox. So it's understandable that things wouldn't be entirely smooth in this first year. They've got six more years after 2012 before the deal expires, and you only need to look at how much things have shifted for the UFC in the last six years to see how much things can change in a short period of time. They've got things they haven't implemented yet, and we'll see how what they'll be doing and how they'll be doing it as the next several years play out. That doesn't mean they should be immune from criticism, but White does have a reason to preach patience.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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