The world’s largest mixed martial arts organization, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and BT Sport have announced a new multi-year media rights deal that builds on their existing broadcast partnership for the UK and Ireland and ensures BT Sport remains the exclusivity of the sport’s media following home.
The agreement covers all UFC live events, including numerous events and Fight Nights, as well as additional programming that includes popular original shows like UFC Countdown and UFC Connected, classic martial arts events and reruns of some of the biggest fights in UFC history.
BT Sport has been the UFC’s UK broadcast partner since 2013 and was last renewed in 2019. The deal is the first major rights renewal signed by the network since BT finalized its joint venture agreement with Warner Brothers Discovery earlier this month.
UFC President Dana White said: “We were blown away by the amazing response from fans at our London event earlier this year. The UK and Ireland fans love the sport and have always been great to us. And now our roster of talent from these countries is stronger than ever. We are very excited to continue our partnership with BT Sport to continue developing these athletes, building stars and broadcasting the best martial arts events in the world to these incredible fans.”
Rachel Knight, Sports Rights Director at BT Sport said: “BT Sport is delighted to continue our successful partnership with UFC. We’re entering a golden age for sport in the UK and Ireland, with an incredibly exciting roster of local talent coming through. We look forward to working closely with these brilliant athletes and with the UFC to continue telling the stories and bringing the sport to our viewers for years to come.”
After a three-year absence, UFC returned to the UK earlier this March with an event at the O2. UFC BATTLE NIGHT: VOLKOV vs. ASPINALL recorded a goal by £3.5m, making it the highest-grossing single sporting event in O2 history. Seven British fighters on the card achieved wins including Tom Aspinall, Molly McCann and Paddy Pimblett, underscoring the current MMA talent in the UK.
With this hugely successful return, UFC cemented ITS’ commitment to the market with the return of a second event in London, scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 23 at The O2. UFC has held a total of 28 events across the UK and Ireland since 2002 and every event has sold out.