When the UFC signed a new seven-year broadcasting agreement with the Fox family of networks, UFC president Dana White said that there would be numerous changes coming down the pike, including many production changes.
That doesn’t mean that Fox is taking over; far from it. White said that the UFC would retain control over production, but as their television deal moves to the next level, he wants to do the same with production.
“I look at this Fox deal as a fresh start for us, so I want to change everything,” White stated. “I want to change the look of the pay-per-view, graphics, show open, the show opens in our Fight Nights, everything’s going to have a different feel to it.
“We’ll be working with these guys, I love what they do in sports, and to enhance the look and feel of a UFC event.”
While the announcement itself may not seem splashy, the UFC on Wednesday put out a statement revealing the hiring of two new staff members in the production department that surely signals some of the change that White previously mentioned.
The UFC announced the addition of former ESPN Deportes coordinating producer Kieren Portley, who joins UFC as Vice President of Studio and Spanish Production, and former ESPN producer Zach Candito, who takes the role of Event Producer for UFC’s weigh-in, pre- and post-fight shows on Fuel TV.
Portley, an Emmy Award-winning producer, spent 10 years at ESPN and was responsible for the creation of shows such as MMA Live, Fantasy Football Now, and other high profile content. While at ESPN Deportes, the University of Rhode Island graduate was responsible for all cross platform original content and sales integration. In his new role, Portley will oversee a variety of UFC studio productions with a concentration in Spanish-language broadcasts. He will be based out UFC’s offices in Los Angeles.
Also an Emmy Award-winner, Candito spent five years at ESPN, producing MMA Live and Fantasy Football Now, while also creating digital content for ESPN.com. A graduate of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut with a degree in broadcast journalism, Candito will manage and produce UFC’s weigh-in, pre- and post-fight shows. He’ll also work closely in production elements surrounding UFC events on Fox, FX and Fuel TV. He will be based out of UFC’s Las Vegas corporate headquarters.
“The next two years are going to be big for us and we’re going to produce a lot of new programs for our fans,” said White. “We’ve got some of the most talented people in the world on our staff and it’s great to bring on accomplished guys like Kieren and Zach to our production department.”