The next few months could get real interesting for fans of the UFC. While the promotion has a number of high profile fights set up for the Octagon, they’ve also got a big one looming outside the cage.
Come 2018, fans could be left searching for their WME-IMG owned content on a whole new channel. Damon Martin reports (via Twitter) that the promotion has ended its exclusive negotiating period with FOX, having yet to reach a new deal with the cable network.
The exclusive negotiating period between the UFC and FOX has ended. The UFC can now field offers from any and all bidders on TV rights.— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) October 3, 2017
Back in 2011, the promotion made the jump from their longtime home on Spike TV over to the network of FOX channels including FUEL TV, FX, FOX, and eventually Fox Sports 1 & 2. As that 7-year deal comes to an end, it could mean a new home for the UFC.
This was pretty much expected all along. It's likely FOX will see what others are bidding on the UFC before they counter with another offer https://t.co/KuRjSavOPi— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) October 3, 2017
As Martin points out, however, this is hardly a surprising move. Especially not when considering the recent sale of the UFC that saw new owners incur a large amount of debt to meet their $4.3 billion offer.
Reports at the time of the UFC’s 2011 move had the promotion receiving an estimated $90 million a year for the exclusive US broadcast rights to their events. That’s the number the UFC is likely looking to improve heavily upon as they approach a variety of new potential partners.
No word yet as to who the top contenders might be, but stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news as the story evolves.