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Posted on August 19, 2011 by John Petit
As we reported here on UFCBetting.com earlier in the week, the UFC is heading to FOX. In a press conference held today, officials from both FOX and the UFC were on hand to discuss the long term 7 year multi-media agreement. Starting in November, the UFC will broadcast 4 live events broadcast in prime time on FOX, as well as 4-6 live events each year on FOX’s cable network FX.
FX and FUEL TV also will host the other UFC content currently on Spike. Shows like “UFC Unleashed,” “UFC Knockouts,” “UFC Primetime,” “Best of PRIDE,” and weigh in specials will be on both networks. The UFC reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” is getting a face left as well. The show will now feature live fights, and will have fan voting match ups during the season. The show will still run twice a year, and will be on FX.
The UFC said it will be open to production changes and input, but they seem to have retained production control for the events. Joe Rogan, Mike Goldberg, and Bruce Buffer will all still be part of the production, but the UFC said the cast might get bigger. Dana White said he was very open to re-branding the way we view all the events as this would be the perfect time to do so. White also said this was a dream come true, and a long time company goal. He said “We’re excited to be part of the FOX family. The UFC is finally where it belongs on the No. 1 network in the country and aligned with the most prestigious sports properties in the world. I’ve always said that the UFC will be the biggest sport in the world, and with this relationship it will become a reality.”
UFC President/Co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta agreed with White, and said this will give them major footing in bringing the sport worldwide. He said “My brother Frank, Dana and I always believed that our passion for the sport of mixed martial arts would help us to build the UFC into a successful global brand and ultimately make it one of the premier sports properties in the world. The partnership with FOX is a major step in making this a reality and also builds on the great relationship that we already have established with FOX in Latin America, Australia and Europe.”
Fertitta also said they plan on delivering for network broadcasts that will draw the big numbers. He said “You may not have championships on every fight. There may be championships on some of them. But I can tell you that we’re going to deliver big fights on broadcast network – fights that mean something and there’s a lot hanging on the line.” White Agreed “We try to put on the best fights. We want to pull ratings. We want to pull the big numbers. We want to give the fans what we feel they deserve. And there’s a lot of times that we’ll use the television shows to highlights a new up-and-coming star or whatever it might be. It depends on the situation.”
FX President John Landgraf said the sky is the limit with the new relationship. Everyone at FOX agreed that the UFC brings certain things to the table, and FOX brings certain things to the table. Landgraf said he wasn’t concerned about who would be fighting who, but said the new relationship will be handle it. He said “You’ve got to look at the matchup – what the lead-in is going to be. I think we probably haven’t set a true expectation. We haven’t gone out selling this yet to a particular rating. We know it’s going to be huge, and we’re going to put everything we have at our disposal into making it as big as possible. This is obviously a property that we believe in and want to see succeed.”