According to the SportsBusinessJournal, the UFC has come to terms with FOX to broadcast as many as four Octagons shows each year. The watershed deal, which has yet to be confirmed by either of the two powerhouses, is believed to be for seven or eight years.
Sources close to the negotiations claimed bidding had gone as high as $90 million per annual.
As part of the arrangement, most of the weekly programming that the UFC has offered on Versus and Spike TV will be moved to FX starting in January 2012. This will include several live fight cards, as well as “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show.
Furthermore, Fox-owned Fuel TV will also score some UFC action. However, Fox will not rebrand Fuel as a UFC channel.
According to SBJ, the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion was in serious talks with Comcast/NBC for the last several months. That deal would have included NBC, Versus and would have seen G4 getting rebranded as a UFC channel. However, those talks recently broke down.
Negotiations with Spike, the UFC’s longtime freebie TV provider whose contract expires at the end of this year, collapsed before that.
Tuesday’s report comes on the heels of the UFC’s announcement earlier this month that they had struck a two-year television distribution deal with FOX Sports Latin America.
Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC and Strikeforce, has achieved many great feats during their 10-year stint in MMA. However, if this report holds true, FOX is by far the most significant step the sport has taken towards gaining mainstream acceptance.