The Octagon is headed to Fox and its affiliates. | Photo: Sherdog.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has reportedly signed a multi-year contract with the Fox Broadcasting Company, taking effect in January 2012.
According to a report from the Sports Business Journal, the promotion has inked a deal with the network for seven or eight years, giving Fox the rights to broadcast as many as four live MMA events per year.
Most of the UFC's weekly programming, which currently airs on Spike and Versus, will reportedly now be broadcast on the Fox-owned FX channel. This includes events such as “Ultimate Fight Night,” as well the UFC's long running reality show, “The Ultimate Fighter.” According to the SBJ's sources, Fox could pay the UFC up to $90 million, and a deal announcement could come as early as this week.
Fox subsidiary Fuel TV will also benefit from some UFC programming. However, the SBJ writes that Fox will not re-brand Fuel TV to give the UFC its own channel.
The UFC was rumored to be in talks to purchase struggling cable network G4 with plans to transform it into an independent UFC network. However, those plans seem to have been scrapped in favor of the aforementioned arrangement with Fox. The promotion's long-standing contract with Spike TV will reportedly expire at the end of 2011.