The UFC has long had difficulty capturing the Latino market which has long been a corner stone for MMA's combat sports rival Boxing. Mike Fagan actually opined about this very failure last month when he commented on the Sports Business Journal's report that had MMAPayout declaring that MMA has reached this long sought after demographic. Mike pointed out two major flaws in this report. First, that MMA was grouped with wrestling which has cultural ties to the Mexican community for generations. The second was that the report didn't include boxing at all.
Today, the UFC has made a gigantic step towards finally reaching the Latino community. Today, on the heels of the UFC 133 presser in Philadelphia, Zuffa has announced a two year broadcasting deal with Fox Sports Latin America. From the press release:
The deal gives FOX Sports the rights to air UFC content in 18 countries in Latin America, excluding Brazil. UFC fans in the region will now have access to the best mixed martial arts fights in the world. UFC events will be available on FOX Sports, FOX Sports+, and FOX Sports HD, and all live events will air on FOX Sports and FOX Sports HD on Saturdays at 10 pm (Buenos Aires) and 8 pm (Mexico City).
Launching with UFC 133 Evans v Ortiz, FOX Sports will air 24 UFC live events per year, along with an active schedule of popular UFC programs including UFC® Guerreros*, archive content and historical UFC showdowns.
"We felt the time was right to expand in Latin America. We launched with Globosat in Brazil in 2008 and saw the popularity for the sport to explode. We knew we had millions of fans in Latin America and wanted to give them access to content and programming developed exclusively for them," said Dana White, President of UFC.
"We are excited to be able to bring our viewers a front row seat to the fastest growing sport in world," said Patrick Ilabaca, VP of global marketing and business development, FOX Pan American Sports. "Through our agreement with UFC, mixed martial arts fans throughout Latin America will for the first time be able to watch live UFC events exclusively on FOX Sports, which were traditionally only available on Pay-Per-View."
This is a huge step for the UFC to partner with such a major network. In addition to the UFC events, FSLA also airs English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and Copa Libertadores (Mexican and Argentinian soccer). To say this is monumental would be understatement. The network gives Zuffa a legitimate partner to finally reach one of the demographics that they have never been able to capture. Expect the UFC to push Cain Velasquez and Miguel Torres with this network deal.