UFC Announces 7-Year Deal with Fox

Today, Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC), the world’s leading mixed martial arts organization and No. 1 Pay-Per-View event provider in the world, finds its perfect media match in FOX, the No. 1 television network in the country. FOX Sports Media Group, the umbrella entity representing FOX Networks Group’s wide array of sports platforms, has reached a multi-year, multi-media rights agreement with Zuffa, LLC, owner of the UFC brand. 

The landmark agreement, which puts UFC on par with many of the country’s professional sports organizations, delivers four live events in prime time or late night each year to the FOX broadcast network, home to the country’s biggest sports events, including the Super Bowl, World Series and Daytona 500. The first live event airs Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT. Additional programming on multiple FOX networks launches January 2012 and includes live fights, pre and post shows, countdown shows, UFC Unleashed, UFC Primetime, the UFC Knockout series, Best of Pride, weigh-in specials, and much more original content from extensive Zuffa archives.  The agreement also provides for developing robust mobile and authenticated online offerings to exploit a vast array of digital platform rights.

In spring 2012, THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER, UFC’s signature weekly reality show moves to FX, FOX’s general entertainment cable network now in more than 99 million homes.  With the move to FX, the show will feature a newly-designed format. FX is also set to televise another four-to six-live UFC events annually, with a mixture of additional events and programs heading to FSMG cable networks including FUEL TV.

“We’re excited to be part of the FOX family,” says Dana White, UFC President.   “The UFC is finally where it belongs on the number one 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.”

“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,” said Lorenzo Fertitta, Chairman and CEO of the UFC.  “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.”

“Mixed martial arts is not only the fastest growing sport in the world, but also the world’s most exciting form of man-to-man competition, and the UFC is the world’s premier MMA organization,” said FSMG President & Co-COO Eric Shanks.  “Since FOX Sports is America’s No. 1 sports network and FOX is America’s No. 1 network for young adults, the UFC on FOX is a perfect match.”

“UFC’s growth over the past decade is nothing short of phenomenal and it has become one of the marquee sports in this country,” said John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks.  “There is a reason for its rising popularity.  It features some of the greatest athletes in the world, and we believe it will be a terrific addition to our schedule and look forward to our relationship.”

Founded in 1993, UFC has been on a meteoric rise since 2001 when it was acquired by Zuffa, LLC, owned by Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta III and Dana White.  UFC’S first brush with FOX Sports goes back to June 2002, when Fox Sports Net carried UFC’s first non-pay-per-view event on basic cable television, and delivered what was then its largest audience to date.  Through cooperation with state athletic commissions, consistent rules were established and refined for competition through officiating, judging, the addition of weight divisions, length of rounds and better equipment.  Combined with an unyielding devotion to fighter safety, the UFC has vaulted to mainstream status in the minds of US sports fans attracting major sponsors such as Bud Light, Dodge and Harley Davidson.

UFC has displayed tremendous growth in digital and social media consumption. Unique visitors to UFC.com tripled between 2006 and 2010 (2.1 million to 6.3 million), and UFC established local web sites in 10 countries and Latin America.  Using a unique blend of incentives, promotions and original content, including live bouts, UFC has seen its number of Facebook friends increase from 800,000 in 2009 to 6.1 million at present, outpacing the NFL, MLB and the NHL.  UFC currently ranks second to the NBA in social media followers among the major sports organizations.  Additionally, UFC President Dana White regularly interacts with over 1.5 million fans that follow him on Twitter.

Mixed martial arts skews much younger than more established US sports, which ranged from age 43 for Super Bowl XLIV to 61 for horse racing’s Triple Crown in 2010.  Thus far, the median age for UFC on Spike in 2011 is 36 and 56% of UFC fans fall into the adult 18-34 demographic. Live UFC programming performs extremely well in the advertiser attractive, hard-to-reach male 18-34 demographic, with live event programing averaging a 1.53 rating, making it a top-20 cable show this year.

10 Responses to “ UFC Announces 7-Year Deal with Fox ”

  1. Cody Bargholz says:

    It’s too bad we don’t get any of these channels in Canada. It’s annoying setting my PVR to record Ultimate Fighter on Rogers Sportsnet and getting baseball highlights instead.

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  2. Jason says:

    Yeah I’ve had that a couple times as well Cody. Really does suck. Not sure if Sportsnet is to blame or the cable provider for inaccurate listings!

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  3. UFC will get some awesome exposure with this deal.

    I imagine that you could be watching the Giants vs Cowboys NFL game and UFC ads could be rolling across the top or bottom for upcoming events.

    Curious if Fox will want bigger PPV type cards or they get some of the European lower level type cards with no titles.

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  4. Darren Owen says:

    From Oct.29 to Nov.19 UFC is doing 4 Saturday nights in a row. Over saturating???

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  5. Cody Bargholz says:

    Jason, I blame Sportsnet haha. You might be right though. Who knows.

    Keith, I agree! This is a really big deal for the sport. The press release says prime time or late night live shows. I don’t think European shows will work for this. Australian Sunday afternoon events would fit the bill though.

    I think it’s safe to assume that UFC’s PPV events are still the promotions number one priority and that the Fox deal is designed ultimately to drive more PPV sales.

    Small shows with lighter weight class title fights like UFC 132 would be perfect promotional candidates to air on Fox Sports to help lure huge PPV buys for Brock Lesnar and GSP events.

    UFC ads or news coverage during an NFL game will be huge for the sport! I’m glad Spike TV helped really launch the sport by airing the Ultimate Fighter but the only new viewers Spike can introduce to the sport are people obsessed with watching hundred of old Manshow or CSI reruns. I really have no idea how Spike will continue to exist without the UFC.

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  6. Cody Bargholz says:


    For me, ideally, the UFC would put on three events per week. An Ultimate Fighter, Fight Night and a Saturday Night PPV.

    Any more than three per week and it will be tough to keep up with all the kick ass Canadian MMA promotions.

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  7. Darren Owen says:

    Already a commercial on the Eagles vs Steelers preseason game.

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  8. Jason says:

    LOL Cody… tbh, it’s gotta be the provider as I’ve had numerous shows on numerous channels record “wrong”. Pisses me off.

    Anyways, I think the Fox deal is good – definitely getting the UFC great mainstream exposure.

    Already commercials? They don’t waste anytime!

    As for the 4 events in a row – yeesh… does seem a bit much.

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  9. CR says:

    Won’t these shows be broadcast on the regular Fox channels? Why do we have to watch on Sportsnet? The reason I’m asking, is I’m too cheap to subscribe to anything more than basic cable. I don’t get them fancy channels.

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  10. Cody Bargholz says:

    CR, I hope you get Sportsnet. Fox Sports, FX and Fuel TV aren’t available in Canada. Legally.

    I’m sure the UFC will work to ensure all their content is available in Canada. Apparently FX will be coming soon.


    I watched press conference highlights and one of the Fox execs mentioned that they will be airing 32 live fights and 2 runs of the ultimate fighter per year on FX! He said that they will literally own Friday nights with live UFC fighting

    I really don’t think Sportsnet can support that volume of content.

    I think it’s a safe bet that Sportsnet will only air the big 4 events per year and leave the smaller shows and reality TV to FX Canada.

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