WWE putting PPV shows on digital network 'doesn't make sense' to Dana White
JAN 16, 2014 1:47p ET
WWE’s launch of its new digital network has drawn mostly acclaim from fans and media alike. But while $9.99 a month for every single pay-per-view and the company’s entire library of content sounds like an amazing deal for the consumer, UFC president Dana White isn’t so sure if it’s good for business.
“It doesn’t make sense to me,” White said after UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou on Wednesday.
Outside of Wrestlemania annually, WWE’s pay-per-view buyrates don’t match up well with the UFC’s, so White is right in saying that this model wouldn’t be wise for his organization. He conceded that it could be the correct move for WWE, though, and praised WWE CEO Vince McMahon.
“Look at the stuff Vince has done throughout his career with WWE and how he took wrestling and where he brought it. Who knows? Maybe that works for him.”
“Vince [McMahon] is a guy who is a trailblazer,” White said. “Look at the stuff Vince has done throughout his career with WWE and how he took wrestling and where he brought it. Who knows? Maybe that works for him.”
The UFC just started its own digital initiative, which is the same price, but only gives fans a chance to watch certain live events, most of them international. There have been criticisms of UFC Fight Pass, but White promises it’s going to get “better and better and better.” He said the plan is to have the kinks worked out and all the old fight libraries uploaded by the time the free trial is over next month. The UFC is also working on more things that have not been announced yet.
“Wait until you see the plans we have for other stuff on Fight Pass,” White said.
Right from when the Fertitta brothers first bought the UFC in 2011, White said there was interest in putting content online when the technology was put into place. That time is finally now.
“I hope it works out for him and I hope it’s successful.”
“We’ve been waiting for this for 13 years,” White said.
The WWE Network has also been years in the making. But there has been some backlash from pay-per-view providers – and understandably. Why would they continue to air and promote WWE pay-per-views for $50 a pop when WWE Network subscribers get them free online if they pay $9.99 a month?
Yet White isn’t ready to blast McMahon and the WWE. And he hates when people criticize McMahon for the failed XFL experiment – “that was one thing,” White said.
“It’s hard to doubt Vince when you talk about what he’s done,” White said. … “I hope it works out for him and I hope it’s successful.”