Whatever spin you want to put in this, it's undeniably a clear indictment of how the UFC has progressed since the original Fox deal. Carve the deal up; lower PPVs; more reality TV; throw in Fight Pass as sweetener. None of this was in the script:
I have no doubt they'll get their 400mil somehow, but it won't come as easy as they thought it would, and it'll come at an unforeseen cost.
WME can't honestly say what all these changes will mean for the sport. The PPVs have always been the backbone to their business (not just from a financial POV), so to suddenly have them reduced (if any of this is in fact true) could be a key moment for the sport.
Less PPVs is a logical step, but that's only because they physically don't have enough talent to fill them. If the sport has blossomed since the original Fox deal, they should have enough stars/interest to keep those 12 main events per year AND do all the other stuff (including getting an easy TV deal) but they don't (and can't).
Either way, regardless of where they THINK they are as a sport, the comparisons to other mainstream sports has always been laughable. They are a business, who for the last five years, have been desperately trying to run before they can walk.
Money needs to be made at any cost and it's desperate times.