One of the worst-kept secrets in MMA was validated today when the UFC and FOX announced a landmark seven-year, multimillion dollar deal that will see the MMA powerhouse become a fixture on the networks various platforms.
"We're excited to be part of the FOX family," UFC President Dana White stated in a circulated press release. "The UFC is finally where it belongs on the No. 1 network in the country and aligned with the most prestigious sports properties in the world. I've always said that the UFC will be the biggest sport in the world, and with this relationship it will become a reality."
While financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, many have speculated it to be in the hundreds of millions range. More importantly, this agreement gives the UFC a presence on free network television. In addition to airing shows on the FOX network, the deal will also feature live events on the FX Network as well as Fuel TV.
A breakdown of what this deal means for each channel in the FOX network:
FOX - Arguably, the biggest benefit to the UFC with this deal is fights being aired live on network television. FOX will broadcast four live events on their network channel beginning with the first event on November 12. While Pro Elite and Strikeforce have both held shows on broadcast TV (CBS), the UFCs deal with FOX is the first to guarantee a fixed number of fights thus ensuring a historic amount of eyes tuning in.
FX - In addition to the four fights on broadcast television, this deal will also see the UFC hold six “UFC Fight Nights on FX. Home to some of the most watched programing, FX can now compete against rivals TNT, TBS, and USA with its own brand of professional sports. FX will also be the new home for The Ultimate Fighter reality series which is getting a complete overhaul according to Dana White. Starting with TUF 15, all future shows will be “live” with each episode being filmed the week prior and the elimination fights airing live on FX.
FUEL TV – FUEL TV will carry a wide variety of UFC programming as well. The fledgling network could become the home for live prelim fights, pre- and post-fight analysis shows, as well as popular series’ such as UFC Unleashed and Best of PRIDE.