Dana White: UFC to Retain Production Control of Live Events with New ESPN Deal

By Tristen Critchfield May 23, 2018

While the UFC will be moving to a new broadcast home in 2019, don’t expect a drastically presentation when it transitions to ESPN.

According to UFC President Dana White, the Las Vegas-based promotion will still have production control over its live events on The Worldwide Leader.

"The fans are happy with the way our show is presented, and the networks are too, which is why we get these deals done,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “Our production is incredible, we do an amazing job and we'll continue to."

On Wednesday, the UFC and ESPN made their deal official. Beginning in 2019, the promotion will show 20 events on ESPN+ and 10 on ESPN’s various cable networks. Additionally, preliminary bouts from the UFC’s 12 pay-per-view cards will also be shown on ESPN platforms. The entire package is reportedly worth $1.5 billion over the course of the five-year deal.

“ESPN’s unparalleled multimedia platform is the perfect home for the UFC and will deliver tremendous value to both parties,” Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks said in a release. “UFC fans are passionate and loyal and we plan to bring the full power of ESPN’s live coverage, powerful storytelling and unmatched distribution to serve them in an unprecedented fashion. We can’t wait to get started.”

The UFC’s existing broadcast deal with Fox, believed to be valued at approximately $100 million annually, expires at the end of the year. White expects the ESPN agreement to benefit not only the promotion, but the fighters in the UFC.

"ESPN has shown its commitment to not only UFC, but MMA. The amount of promotion our athletes are going to get now, and what ESPN is doing with this new platform, it's going to be very big for the fighters," he said.


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