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Maggie Hendricks

As Jones/Vera nears, Versus and DirecTV still not close to a deal


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DirecTV and Versus -- the televised home of World Extreme Cagefighting and the station that will air a stacked Fight Night on March 21 -- are still far away from coming together for a TV deal. They released this statement to our brother-blog, Puck Daddy.

"At this time, we are not optimistic that an agreement will be in place with DirecTV in time for the start of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs."

The Stanley Cup playoffs start in mid-April, meaning that it's unlikely that a deal to get Versus back onto DirecTV will happen in time for UFC on Versus 1: Vera vs. Jones. Not only that, it means that the March 6 WEC card, equally stacked, will not air on DirecTV.

This is getting slightly ridiculous. Live MMA on non-pay-per-view or premium television is rare, but it's also key to the growth of the sport and the growth of the fanbase. Zuffa, which owns the WEC and the UFC, has been hands off of the DirecTV/Versus negotiations, but it's time to get involved. For the good of the fans, Dana White, the Fertittas and Reed Harris need to speak up, and work with the NHL to push both sides to get the deal done.

Otherwise, both hockey and MMA are going to have cadres of angry fans. I don't know about you, but angry hockey and MMA fans united in hate are not a group I'd want to come across.

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