A report from the Sports Business Journal, citing several sources, maintains that the UFC and Fox have agreed to a multi-year deal that will see the Fox broadcast channel air up to four live events per year. MMAWeekly.com sources with knowledge of the dealings were unable to confirm that a deal had been closed, but did characterize the negotiation as “close” to completion.
The Fox deal is reportedly believed to be for a seven-to-eight-year term. As part of the deal, not only would live fights air on Fox, most of the weekly programming currently seen on Versus and Spike TV, including “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, would move over to Fox’s FX basic cable channel beginning in January.
There was strong speculation from the Wall Street Journal earlier this year that the UFC was closing in on a deal with Comcast/NBC that would have included the NBC broadcast network, Versus (which will be rebranded in January as NBC Sports), and the morphing of G4 into a UFC branded network.
UFC president Dana White maintained all along that the company was in talks with “everybody,” denying that a deal had been done with Comcast/NBC.
A deal with Fox would culminate years of the UFC attempting to gain a regular presence on network television. White has often said that they would only do a network deal if the terms were right, which presumably included the same UFC control over production as they currently enjoy for their pay-per-view events, as well as the events that air on Spike TV and Versus. The Sports Business Journal’s report citing the deal being worth as much as $90 million per year to the UFC would also likely be in line with the terms that White has long been shooting for.
UFC officials declined to comment.