There is a rumor circulating that the UFC is close to finalizing a new TV deal. Their first deal was signed in 2011 with FOX, which included the creation of the channel Fox Sports 1. The Fox deal ends at the end of 2018.
This new deal is supposed to be inked with ESPN and NBC. No idea on the length of the deal, but the price is said to be set at $320 million per year. That would more than triple the original FOX deal. The idea is that ESPN and NBC would spilt the cost as well as have exclusivity on certain fighters.
The deal also includes huge fundamental changes to the UFC. They would replace The Ultimate Fighter Series with Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. The promotion would also cut down the PPV’s per year from 12-13 down to 6. Perhaps the biggest changes would be to introduce a men’s 165lb weight class and a women’s 105lb weight class.
At first glance I’m a little skeptical about it. Although I love how many PPV’s there are now, lowering it would make the cards more stacked. The usual fight night events wouldn’t drop, which is fantastic. Being on two huge networks like ESPN and NBC can only be good for not only the UFC but for the sport of MMA as well. I’m all in on this deal, if it happens if course.
Image credit: UFC.com