After an abrupt ending to their 17 month partnership with Setanta Sports in June, the UFC has officially paired up with ESPN UK to air live events in the United Kingdom.

Launching on both Sky and Virgin platforms, ESPN UK will begin airing UFC events on August 8 with “UFC 101: Declaration.” They will also be broadcasting UFC Fight Night events as well as UFC Unleashed on Thursday nights.

With the first month being offered for free, viewers in the UK and Ireland will be able to watch UFC 101 and UFC 102 free of charge.

UFC UK Division President Marshall Zelaznik said, “We are ecstatic to announce that ESPN is the new home of the UFC in the UK and Ireland. ESPN is one of the most trusted and respected brands in all of sports broadcasting, and we are thrilled to be working with them as they launch their new channel in the UK and Ireland.”

Zelaznik continued, “Over the last three years, the UFC has become as big a part of the sporting landscape in the British Isles as football and rugby, and for the worldwide leader in sports broadcasting came to us and we were able to reach an agreement so quickly is another testament that the UFC is an important part of the British sporting calendar.”

The deal was struck not a minute too soon, as the UFC was forced to broadcast UFC 100 on SkyTV on a defunct Racing World channel after their deal with Setanta Sports dissolved due to severe financial trouble on behalf of the sports network.

UFC fans accross the pond will be happy to know that Sky Sports viewers can subscribe to ESPN for £9 per month, and viewers without Sky Sports can subscribe for £11.