At the beginning of the month it was announced that the UFC was back on Japanese TV via premium cable channel WOWOW. This was the same channel the UFC was on originally up until early 2007, so it’s kinda interesting that they ended up back there. A WoWOW executive explains the situation:
– WOWOW starts broadcasting the UFC.
We finally signed a contract with the UFC on July 11. I knew this news had been rumored before we officially announced it. We used to air the UFC. We wanted to maintain our contract, but unfortunately the negotiations were broken off and we stopped broadcasting after the UFC 70 in April, 2007.
– Dana White kept saying he had been negotiating with WOWOW for long time.
They approached us again in 2008. We were planning to show the UFC in HD starting April of 2007; although, the UFC terminated the contact. I remember we were very surprised and disappointed.
– PRIDE fighters started to fight in the UFC at that time.
We received much feedback from MMA fans asking us to broadcast the UFC again, yet our negotiation didn’t go through. The UFC overrated the Japanese MMA market.
– Was their asking price an issue? I found out the price between the UFC and Korean PPV was very reasonable.
We had several issues including the price. Our economy has been very slow comparing to other Asian countries, such as India and Hong Kong. Regardless of the fact of our economy and the MMA market the UFC considered that they could get a better deal with us.
– Are you going to show only PPV events in the US or all the UFC events?
We are basically going to show all numbering events. Their PPV packages are 3 hours. We will condense into 2 hours by picking up 5 to 6 fights.
Either the UFC doesn’t know the value of their events in Japan or they killed the WOWOW deal on purpose so they could try and shop their product around to other Japanese TV stations. Both possibilities don’t bode well for the UFC’s ability to do business in Japan, which probably hasn’t improved with that whole ‘killing PRIDE’ thing.