In a press conference Thursday The Ultimate Fighting Championship and FOX Sports confirmed earlier reports this week that the world’s premiere mixed martial arts promotion will be moving its non-Pay-Per-View programming from Spike TV to FOX Sports and FX.
UFC President Dana White joined UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, FOX Sports Chairman David Hill and other FOX executives in FOX studios Tuesday in a press conference streamed LIVE on UFC.com.
Beginning Saturday, Nov. 12, four major UFC events per year will be shown LIVE on FOX Sports.
Six UFC Fight Nights will air LIVE on FX, who is owned by FOX. FX will also be the new home for The Ultimate Fighter, which will now air LIVE on FX. That’s right, The Ultimate Fighter will now be showing their fights LIVE.
There will be no more having to wait months and months for The Ultimate Fighter to finish production before fans get to see the fights and how the show plays out. Instead, what you see on each episode of TUF will have been taped that very week and then the actual fights will be LIVE.
All in all, FX will be showing LIVE UFC fights 32 weeks out of the year. Also, Fuel TV will be airing pre and post-fight coverage, and FOX Deportes is also part of the deal. The deal between FOX Sports and the UFC is for seven years.
UFC fans are going to see some changes in the look and feel of UFC events as well. Although the UFC will still control production, White sees this as the perfect time to bring a fresh look to their events. And just in case you were wondering, the longtime gladiator opening on UFC events is going away.
When asked why this was such a monumental deal for FOX, Chairman David Hill said, “The importance of this deal is what it brings in the young 18-34 demo.” And for the UFC President the deal is a dream come true. “This is what I always wanted. This is what I always felt was the pinnacle for us in the U.S.,” said White.
There was a significant gathering of media for the press conference which was held at the FOX Sports studios in Los Angeles. Ironically, on what was certainly one of the biggest days in UFC history, the very first question directed at Dana White came from Josh Gross, a reporter from ESPN that White detests and banned from their live events. White answered his question professionally but inside he had to be less than happy doing so.
And another one of White’s favorite reporters also got in a question, Ms. Loretta Hunt. White dislikes her so much he once cursed her out in a video blog calling her that certain word all women detest that rhymes with her last name.
Did you Know:
FOX was founded by Rupert Murdoch, the Chairman and CEO of News Corporation who owned the U.K. newspaper “News of the World” which recently closed down after the 9-11 phone hacking scandal.
NOTE: View the official press release announcing the deal between UFC and FOX Sports Media Group: FOX Sports Media Group reaches multi-year, multi-media rights agreement with Ultimate Fighting Championship.