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Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 31 marked the end of an era. While Fox Sports 1 will carry a four-bout slate of UFC 232 preliminary bouts, UFC on FOX 31 was the promotion’s final event to take place on “Big FOX” before it moves over to ESPN’s properties in January 2019.
The UFC spent seven years with FOX as its main media partner in the United States, and without those seven years, the new deal with ESPN likely wouldn’t have happened.
As UFC president Dana White said following UFC on FOX 31, the folks at FOX helped take the UFC and mixed martial arts to new heights, which includes forcing ESPN — the biggest media player in sports — to stand up and pay attention to the UFC.
UFC’s move to ESPN is reportedly valued at $1.5 billion over the course of a five-year term. The deal includes events on the ESPN television network, as well as on its new ESPN+ digital network, and will also include various shoulder programming across ESPN’s properties.