Reports are emerging that UFC and FOX have made a deal.
In what would represent a major push into the mainstream for the UFC, Fox has agreed to a deal that will see the broadcast channel air as many as four MMA events per year, according to several sources. The multiyear deal would mark the first time the UFC will have consistent airtime on a broadcast network. Fox execs refused to comment on the deal, but sources with knowledge of the negotiations said bidding had gone as high as $90M per year. The Fox deal is believed to be for seven or eight years. As part of the deal, most of the weekly programming that UFC has on Versus and Spike TV will move to FX starting in January. That includes several fight cards, plus shows like the reality series “The Ultimate Fighter.” Fox-owned Fuel also will wind up with some UFC content. But rumors that Fox will rebrand Fuel as a UFC channel are not true, sources said.
… The UFC’s talks with Viacom-owned Spike ended before that. Sources said Spike ultimately passed over concern that its UFC shoulder programming stopped growing. Shows like “Unleashed,” “Knockouts” and “Countdown” averaged 1 million viewers in ’05. This year, they are averaging 492,000.