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UFC and Fox Reportedly Agree to Network TV Deal

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Reports indicate that the UFC has agreed to a deal with TV network Fox.
Reports indicate that the UFC has agreed to a deal with TV network Fox.

It looks like the UFC on network TV is finally a reality. According to a report from Sports Business Daily, the UFC and Fox have agreed on a deal that would bring as many as four events to the network each year. A recent deal with Fox Sports Latin America appears to have been proper foreshadowing.

Fox refused to comment to Sports Business Daily, but several of their sources revealed the following details:

  • As many as four events per year on Fox
  • A seven- or eight-year deal with bidding having reached somewhere around $90M/year
  • Weekly programming on Spike and Versus moving to FX
  • Some UFC content will end up on Fuel, though the cable network will not be rebranded

The SBD article also reveals details about negotiations with Comcast/NBC and Spike TV. Spike ultimately passed on a new deal, citing stoppage in growth. SBD notes that programs like "Unleashed," "Knockouts," and "Countdown" average 1 million viewers in 2005, with that number falling under 500k this year.

If this is the real deal, it's big news for MMA and the UFC.

[Update 1:38 p.m. ET] A UFC official declined to comment on the situation to Bloody Elbow.

[Update 2:20 p.m. ET] An anonymous Fox source confirms the deal to Heavy.com.

[Update 3:43 p.m. ETJohn Ourand, author of the SBD article, tweets, "Fox will have a 1pm press conference Thurs with Hill, Freer, Shanks, Landgraf for 'one of the biggest announcements in Fox Sports history.'" (HT: Bloody Elbow reader IRodC)